Give Your Personal Brand a Makeover in 4 Easy Steps

Aha Moment: Past mistakes don’t have to define you. You can revamp your personal brand.

We all have cringe-worthy moments in our past that we’d like to forget —things we don’t want to be career-defining moments.

Maybe you had a history of always being late. Maybe you ticked the wrong person off.

Sometimes these mistakes end up earning you a label that you don’t deserve or at least don’t deserve any more.

What can you do if you’ve been considered difficult to work with or confrontational because of mishaps you made early in your career?

You can transition your personal brand into something that reflects the true you  –  now.

Here are the steps you can take to give yourself a personal brand makeover.

Step 1: Gather data

First, take an external view, and ask five people in your network to tell you the worst things they’ve heard about you.

They may be hesitant, so reassure them that you’re using the information to better yourself.

Then comes the hard part—you have to own those things! You may be surprised how this difficult-but-necessary process can help you grow, personally and professionally.

It may even put you on the path to leadership.

Step 2: Take action

Now, it’s time to shift to a more internal view. Identify three things that you feel are holding you back.

Once you’ve done that, you have to be willing to do something about it.

What can you do?

  • Be the antithesis of what’s holding you back. For example, if it’s been recorded in your personnel file that you’re difficult to work with, rebrand yourself as someone who’s easy to work with. Go out of your way to be helpful and available.
  • Spin it. Use the less-than-stellar remarks you’ve received in your past to position your skills. For example, if it’s been said that you’re hard to work with, turn it around to attempting to get the best out of the people you work with.

Be proactive about transitioning your personal brand into what you want it to be and what truly represents your authentic self.

Step 3: Treat your brand like a credit report

If you were to find out that there was an error on your credit report, what would you do?

You’d likely write to the credit bureaus in order to rectify the mistake, right?

Treat your HR file in the same way. If there’s information in your file that isn’t accurate, ask that it be corrected.

What about the negative comments that aren’t a mistake? There is something you can do! Meet with the HR Director and talk with her about the ways that you have either made amends or what you’ve learned from the mistakes you made in your early career. Request that they put a note in your chart detailing the conversation.

If you feel that there are specific people who are holding you back in your career, do your best to embrace the situation. Acknowledge who or what is keeping you from reaching your full potential and then move forward.

Step 4: Help people to view you in a different way

If you want people to see you differently, you have to guide them to come to the conclusions you desire. Here are a few tactics to try:

  • Share what you’ve learned.
  • If you’ve made a mistake, go out of your way to overcome it by being a resource to someone else.
  • Create a network of people who know you’re competent.
  • Show what you can do in order to change the minds of the people who don’t see your competency.
  • Sometimes the key is to humanize yourself. Let coworkers see what you value outside of work, like your family or volunteer opportunities you’re involved with.

The mistakes and struggles that you’ve had in the past don’t have to define you now. Do what you can to change the way people see you.

Make the changes that are necessary in order for those you work with to see the authentic you. The you that you are now.

Remaking your personal brand will take some intentionality on your part, but it will be worth the effort!

Are you letting past mistakes hold you back in your career?