Your Industry

Understanding Your Industry to Create Your Personal Image/Personal Brand

As with each profession, every industry has its own set of skills, personality traits, and dress codes.  These skills, personality traits and dress codes are part of what individuals expect to see in your personal image and personal brand.

Understanding your industry requires the same five step process as when analyzing your profession:

  1. Identify the skill sets needed within your industry (i.e., writing, math, computer skills, etc.)
  2. Define the personality traits that would be most effective in your particular industry (i.e., extrovert/introvert, creative, analytical, approachable, authoritative, etc.)
  3. What standards of dress are expected within your industry (i.e., uniform, business formal, business casual, casual/casual, etc.)
  4. Identify how your particular set of skills, personality traits and dress preferences align with your industry.
  5. Identify the parts of you that don’t match your industry and ask yourself, “Is this a deal breaker?”

Identifying your industry’s skills, preferred personality traits and dress code requires a little examination.

First, write down what you already know about your industry — all the things that drew you to it in the first place.

  • Next, look at the people you work with.  What are their skills, personality traits and preferred modes of dress?  Look not only at your department, but at similar individuals in other professions and companies.  It’s important to understand the standards in different professions and companies because in these modern times, most people transfer jobs every three to five years.  You want your personal image and personal brand to be transferable.
  • Look at the people who are very successful, the ones you’d like to model yourself after.  What are their skills, personality traits and dress?
  • Combine and analyze the information you’ve gathered.  What conclusions can you draw?  This is not a one-time process.  Update and review this information periodically to make sure it’s up-to-date.
  • This analysis might garner different results in different parts of the country, and the world.  If you travel a lot, it’s important evaluate your industry in relation to the places you visit. For example, the east coast of the United States tends to be more formal than the US west coast. Similarly, if you’re a western female traveling to and working in the middle-east, it’s imperative that you understand the difference in cultural as well as industry standards.

The next step is to evaluate your particular set of skills, personality traits and dress preferences. How do your attributes and preferences align with the ones identified for your industry in general?  Are you spot-on, or are there discrepancies?  Evaluate how these differences can be made into strengths for you.

Now, let’s put this information aside for a bit.  We’ll revisit these results once we’re done evaluating your company and clientele.