Increasing professional visibility can contribute positively to business success and career advancement. The more that people know of and about you, the greater likelihood that they will view you as a go-to expert, thought leader or asset with a specific set of skills, knowledge and experience. This recognition strengthens your personal brand and, by extension, your company’s brand too.
Developing a fantastic reputation within your department, company and immediate circle is a great place to start, but that shouldn’t be the end goal. When someone looks for an expert, resource, candidate or strategic partner, the person with stronger visibility more often gets the referral (or business, interview etc.) than the person flying under the radar. Therefore, at some point, you need to communicate to a broader group of stakeholders.
Gaining recognition does not require overt self-promotion, which is off-putting to most anyway. People will take notice and remember you when they get a clear and consistent picture of who you are and what expertise and perspective you bring, so aim to communicate this better online and in person.
At The Office
Start by engaging more during meetings, especially those involving different functional areas or management levels at your current organization, as well as those with external stakeholders (e.g., clients, vendors, strategic partners, investors). When you speak up regularly, sharing insights and innovative ideas, your unique perspective is conveyed to those around you. Initiating informal conversations before or after meetings can help build rapport and make you more memorable as well.
Company events, happy hours, team sports, charity events and lunch-and-learns are also great ways to get to know colleagues beyond your immediate circle. Learn more about what others do, share your expertise and find out how you can help one another (within the company or beyond).
Professional & Industry Associations
If you’re not involved with any professional associations, or are a less-active member within one, this is an easy opportunity to improve visibility. Besides the obvious of joining and/or attending events, volunteer for a committee. Their smaller, more intimate meetings and calls facilitate getting to know others better – not to mention, committee members can see your abilities in action.
If you already do this, diversify efforts and branch out to new places and audiences. Networking in a narrow scope (e.g., your functional area) limits opportunities to grow visibility, so broaden your reach and recognition (e.g., attend an industry conference).
For high-impact profile and reputation enhancement, consider speaking on a panel or presenting at a conference, where you can share your expertise and perspective first-hand. Whether organized by a client, industry association, nonprofit or your company, speaking increases exposure to broader audiences than your workplace alone and adds to your authority and credibility as a thought leader and expert.
If you have experience speaking at the local or regional level, consider taking it up a notch and seek out national and international platforms. (If you need some guidance, talk to your company’s PR department or ask a PR consultant about the best targets and how to approach them.)
Read more on Must Do’s Before Giving a Presentation
If a paid board seat is a future goal, building professional visibility before actual pursuit is crucial. Nonprofit boards are a great place to gain experience, broaden your network and develop valuable connections. Fellow board members and organizational leaders will see your expertise, talent and strategic perspective in action, which will positively impact your reputation and recognition, as well as deepen your involvement and influence within the organization.
Read more on How Volunteering Helps Your Career
LinkedIn is a key component of professional presence, but it requires consistent effort besides creating a strong profile (which, of course, is necessary too). While thoughtful and strategic network growth and communication drives recognition, posting informative content — as well as engaging with content of your connections — will increase it even more.
Effective engagement goes beyond simply “liking” a post. It’s about having a unique perspective that relates to (and even highlights) your expertise. While you can step outside your wheelhouse, start with content that directly aligns with it. Share industry insights, resources, useful metrics and analysis, upcoming events, interesting perspectives, trends, innovation etc.
On LinkedIn, it’s entirely acceptable to talk about what you’re doing (e.g., recently published article, award-winning project, speaking engagement, TV/radio mention), but the key is how you say it. Communicate to share information that may be of value/help to others, not to say, “Look at how fantastic I am!” You can also thank others for sharing their perspectives, providing opportunities etc., as it never hurts to champion your network, help with their visibility and build rapport.
Other Social Media
Depending on your role, industry or interest, you may be on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook professionally. These platforms can provide almost instant visibility enhancement. Follow the same best practices you do on LinkedIn by posting in alignment with your personal brand and engaging with content that reflects your professional knowledge and viewpoint – again, going beyond just “liking.”
Also, remember that private is never really private! Even if you don’t use your account for professional purposes, don’t share anything that you’d regret if your professional network saw it.
Upping networking efforts has a direct impact on professional visibility. Whether it’s meeting old and new connections in person, communicating via email or speaking by phone, good networking is about building and nurturing relationships. Effective networkers help others without expecting anything in return. Make introductions, share information and extend invitations to events. Reach out to influential people in your network and become a go-to person for solutions in their world. Being known as a great resource and connector will lead more people to recommend or connect you to others.
Read more on How To Follow Up Effectively When Networking
Being a media source is a great way to reach wider audiences. Whether you speak as an industry or functional area expert, or on behalf of your company, your name will enter the public sphere in the context of a specific perspective/area of knowledge. Besides contributing content to authored articles or TV/radio/podcast interviews, consider seeking out opportunities to write a guest blog post or op-ed. (Check with the head of Communications at your company beforehand to ensure there aren’t policies that affect your ability to go on the record.)
Communicating Your Brand ≠ Bragging
If you’re concerned that by endeavoring to be more visible, others may deem your efforts to be annoyingly self-promotional, you’re not alone. However, these concerns turn into reality only when your strategy is to “toot your own horn” and increase visibility in an aggressive and “salesy” way.
Adopt a strategic and thoughtful approach to getting more noticed. Identify opportunities across a variety of channels to communicate your value and demonstrate expertise in what you say, do and write. This will pay off in the long run as more introductions and opportunities come your way.