PPOT’s “Positive Rate” series focuses on ways to continuously improve our careers as aviators. “Positive Rate” is the callout used by most airline crews to indicate the aircraft is moving in the correct direction and the gear can be raised for flight. As such, the series focuses on ways to ensure our careers are continuously moving in the best direction, or in a ‘positive rate’.
Take a minute to think about your favorite brand of something. Maybe your favorite airline, aircraft manufacturer, or even a restaurant you visit often. Now, take another minute to think about why this brand is your favorite… For this article, let’s go with the restaurant example. As for why it’s your favorite, you probably came up with some reasons such as the food is good, the service is quick and friendly, and the prices are reasonable. All of these traits make up the restaurant’s brand. Their brand is what people know them for, and it’s what they use to promote themselves to potential customers.
Now, instead of a restaurant, let’s apply the same thinking to us as professionals. Instead of a restaurant brand, we have a personal brand. Our personal brand is how others view us, just like the restaurant, and it’s also made up of different parts. Some of the parts might be our personality as a professional, our work experience, volunteerism, and accomplishments. All of these parts contribute to how other people view us, especially potential employers. Further, for our personal brand to be complete and attractive, all of the components have to be present and strong. If one is missing, we might not be as desirable to a potential employer as somebody who has the total package. Just like you probably wouldn’t frequent a restaurant that had good food, but terrible service.
Our goal as professionals is to develop ourselves and our personal brand to a point where we’re viewed very favorably by current and potential employers, as well as our peers. This will heighten our chances of getting the jobs we’re after, improve relationships with our coworkers and superiors, and improve our chances of succeeding in current positions. Improving personal brand can be accomplished through various means, such as professional development in our field, being recognized for exceptional work or achievements, volunteering and being active outside of our normal jobs, among other things. In future articles, we’ll take a look at how to achieve these goals and specific steps we can take to improve our brand. But for now, we’ll summarize by saying that all of these elements have a great effect on our personal brand.
Many career development professionals suggest creating a personal brand statement to capture your personal brand and put it into words. Many experts suggest doing so for use on resumes and other materials. However, I think it’s a great exercise for determining who we are professionally, and who we want to be. A vague example of a personal brand statement might be: “Joe Pilot is a professional, skilled, and qualified airline pilot. They volunteer within and outside of their company through different organizations, and constantly have a positive impact on people they help. They are respected by their peers for exceptional interpersonal skills and always going out of their way to get the job done right.” Now, this example might seem vague, and it is. Your brand statement would be much more personal, and contain specific traits, organizations, and skills that you possess as a professional. That example is just a start, a template of sorts.
To put all of this to practice, try creating a brand statement for yourself. Make one for your current career situation. Then, craft a second brand statement for your ideal version of yourself. This might be several years down the road, and seem a little out of reach, but that’s what we want. We’ll use this to set goals, and in future articles we’ll look at specific ways get there.