Professional Branding Requires More Than 9-5

By: Katharine Mobley

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Image Source: Thinkstock

One of my favorite movies growing up was Dolly Parton's 9 to 5. Why? Because it was about three women that dared to do something drastic to make their own personal impression in the work force. Granted, rat poison was taking a bit too far, but I still love the humor, camaraderie and message behind this classic chick flick.

However, times have drastically changed since Dolly Parton starred in the '80s movie and sang her smashing hit. Now it's due time for an update that reflects the new realities of a modern-day professional life and the time it takes to create a "personal" brand for yourself.

Ok, I dare you to find it in a "9-5" workweek. Actually, just last week after an ambitious young professional told me that they were tired because they had worked a 40-hour workweek. My response was simple, "I remember my first part-time job, too."

I don't mean to sound harsh, but the reality is that in today's hyper-connected, 24/7 world, in order to stand out from the crowd, you'll put in more than 40 hours a week to build and grow your professional brand. And if you're an entrepreneur, the hustle required to get your business off the ground is a constant grind.

If you're looking to get to the top of your game, you've got to behave like you're already there. That means putting in the time and energy to brand yourself.

Creating a professional brand takes a lot of hard work, but it's completely achievable with consistent and persistent dedication. Not to mention the connections along the way may lead to your next career path, future mentor or even a life long friend. So here is some advice:

Networking

Ugh, that dreaded word.Thing is, networking opens up your perspective in ways you could never expect. Ever hear the phrase, "You don't know what you don't know?" Meeting people from different walks of life, with vast experiences, and more grit behind them, allows you to garner perspective in ways you couldn't have imagined before. With this new intel, you may create a new collaboration, land a new job, or spark an idea for your next project.

Side Projects

Sometimes your day job isn't exactly your passion, but you wonder how to get experience in that field you're really passionate about. Starting a side project is the best way to hone your interests and create a portfolio that will help you convince hiring managers to give you a shot. Plus, you'll have the potential to collaborate with people to see your vision come to life and gain new connections along the way.

For a great discussion on side projects, check out this Muse article.

Social Media

Have you heard of Bethany Mota? She's a YouTube sensation with over 9.5M subscribers. She's locked contracts with some of the world's largest brands like YouTube and Aeropostale. The kicker: she's only 19 years old.

Why am I bringing this up? Because social media helps you create a foothold for what you want to be known for. It's a great way to create thought leadership, lead conversations and connect with people who have previously been unattainable. It'll help you stay connected to the people you met while networking and give you an audience to promote your side project to, in the future. And before you know it, you're building up a professional brand for yourself that is sustainable and long-lasting.

Remember, even though your "day job" may only require a 40-hour a week in-office commitment, growing your professional brand is an ever-evolving task that doesn't stop at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Share your journey to growing your professional or personal brand with me at ​@katharinemobley.

Katharine Mobley is a data geek, social media addict, and marketing executive. With over 17 years' experience in her field, she has witnessed drastic changes in marketing and advertising specifically with the evolution of the CMO and the role of social media. She is an Executive Council Member of the Ellevate Network.