One of the strongest elements to differentiate you from everyone else at your firm, or when competing in the job search marketplace, is your label. A label is a concise written statement that you can use to speak to your reputation. It’s a summary statement of your reputation–a short phrase that best describes your personal brand, your value proposition, your value added to the firm. (If you need more information on constructing a value proposition, enter “Value Proposition” in my website search field.)

A label is a way to bring intense focus on your most important attibutes, skills, characteristics…your “reputation” which can differentiate you from the rest of the pack. It’s a crisp, precise statement of your identity, of what makes you what your are, and what you consider, and what others recognize as important for whatever job you are chasing.

Imagine yourself competing with over 1,000 other candidates, each as equally qualified as you are. How do you stand out? Your label might help…your carefully crafted, precise, statement of your personal reputation. Reputations, as you may appreciate, are built on trust, results, and consistency. Make some effort in your resume, job interview, or job promotion screenings to talk to your historical contributions that helped to shape your reputation. In the world of business, what one has delivered consistently in the past presages what one can deliver consistently in the future. A good, solid, and positive reputation which is well-aligned to the new opportunity makes a candidate more desirable.

If you don’t have a label you can create your own label. It is also possible to change a negative label into a positive one.

What’s your label?  How do you discover your label within your firm? Be a bit of a detective by asking and observing,  Ask a few of your co-workers what they have heard in the company about you, “How do people perceive you?”  Watch the behavior of others when you speak. When you talk, regardless of the venue, “What body language and facial expressions do you observe?”

A poor label can hamper your progress. A well-managed label can quite possibly “grease the skids” and help you to obtain desired results quicker.

How do you turn a negative label into a positive one? Here’s your 5-step strategy:

  1. Know your label.
  2. Take positive steps to deliver results that prove and demonstrate the opposite of the negative label
  3. Apply some positive publicity to yourself by finding appropriate ways to proactively communicate your positive results
  4. Mention the label yourself at various venues and in various reports or emails
  5. Be consistent and constantly manage your results to support or enhance your label.

What if people already think highly of you. What if you already have a label you are proud of? How do you manage your label and keep it positive?  Here’s your 4-step strategy:

  1. Reinforce your label with positive works
  2. Mention your label in a modest, non-egotistical manner during select conversations, at meetings or in the occasional email
  3. Be consistent and remain sensitized to your label
  4. React quickly to anything that may damage or tarnish your reputation, but don’t over-react