Branding Yourself, In and Out of the Office
September 28, 2017
FOR WOMEN PROFESSIONALS IN PARKING
As a Sales Executive and a Vice President of People Operations in the parking industry, we understand the importance of branding ourselves inside and outside the office. How we portray ourselves in both aspects later translates into how we are perceived at conferences, tradeshows, and each day by our co-workers in the office, and also helps us accomplish personal goals.
We all know people who have moved from one company to another, which is inevitable given the size of the industry. Previously, moving from company to company would have been considered taboo; however, these individuals have branded themselves as thought leaders and are continuing to make their marks within the industry. Based on our experiences and observing successful parking professionals, we have identified some trends in how to position yourself for success in the close-knit parking community.
Networking to Build Relationships
In an industry where most people know one another by first name, networking can play a crucial role in how professionals are perceived by their peers, inside and outside their organizations.
As a parking professional, conferences, tradeshows and networking events are part of your regular job description. Instead of simply going through the motions during these events, the most successful professionals challenge themselves by networking with not only their existing contacts, but also new and fresh faces each and every time.
Industry conferences are a breeding grounds for innovation, exchange of new ideas and mutual sharing of trends. If your company or agency is willing to invest in your attending one of these events, make sure to take full advantage of all the other industry professionals who also are there.
Push yourself to get to know at least one new person a day. Think about how you can help them or how you can learn from them; And most important, don’t forget to keep in touch afterwards.
LinkedIn and other social media sites have become great ways to connect with contacts professionally. While we are on the topic, make sure your social media profiles are professional. The internet is written in ink ̶ not pencil.
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and interact with people you don’t know. You never know how many connections you will make and the quality of the relationships you can build at shows.
Involvement in a variety of local and national organizations is extremely important, both from a business development and a personal and professional development perspective.
Whether you join regional parking associations, groups such as Women In Parking, or even volunteer to moderate a parking session at a tradeshow, it all helps develop your brand.
The way you handle and execute your particular role on a committee or the way you carry yourself at a parking session based on the questions you ask or comments you make can have an impact on the impression you make with your peers and colleagues, so be deliberate and thoughtful.
Determine what you are passionate about and get out there and get involved. Your presence at events plays a huge part in the brand you portray. Also, think about how you can help others, by sharing either insights or experience.
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and interact with people you don’t know.
Paying it forward to others is very important for our community of women in the parking industry. Providing help or advice to a peer in the industry can also help down the road when you may need a referral to help you implement your next major project or for help with getting your next job when it is time for a change of pace.
The people with whom you are most likely to interact in your daily life in the parking industry are actually your co-workers. Many of us may forget that it is equally important to positively represent ourselves to our peers within our organization as it is to do the same externally.
These days, it’s so easy to be tempted to check our phones during meetings ̶ just remember that those small signals send a message ̶ and we want to be sending the right message!
The way you present yourself in meetings should show that you care about the topic at hand and want to be involved in finding a solution. In the same way, the hiring process ̶ whether you’re a candidate, a hiring manager, an interviewer, or an HR professional ̶ provides regular opportunities to champion your brand.
Every interaction with others, whether a phone screen, in-person interview, an email, a LinkedIn message, a regular team meeting, or casual networking conversation, is an opportunity to represent a brand.
Things such as tone of voice, the type of language you use, and your body language can impact impressions. It is important to make an effort to ensure that every interaction reflects positively on you, your organization and your industry.
The good news is that you can affect your brand and build long-lasting interactions within our industry and your community. Every single interaction is an opportunity to tell a positive story about you, your company, and your brand, so make the most of every interaction.
Kelsey Owens, a Regional Sales Executive at Passport, at Kelsey.firstname.lastname@example.org; and Kate Haffey, the company’s VP of People Operations, at email@example.com.