Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Creating Your Professional Brand

by Kristin Nelson, MS, RHIA

I had the privilege to attend the Virtual CSA Leadership Symposium this July with several of the OHIMA board members. This year’s conference focused on Leadership Resilience and Rebuilding Together. A big part of leadership is professional branding.

What is a Professional Brand?

While it is true, creating a brand is something built over time, it is also true that everyone has one whether they realize it or not. A professional brand is authentic to you. It is who you are in the workplace, your reputation and ultimately who you want to grow into. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon stated, “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” Warren Buffett stated, “We can afford to lose money but not reputation. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”

Why is a professional brand important?

Creating a professional brand is important because it forces one to pause and really think about personal and professional goals. This can aid in career movement and open doors to new opportunities. When you have clarity around your goals, by default, it allows you to stand out amongst others.

What can your brand do from the larger HIM profession?

Whether it was to a family member or colleague, I’m sure you can all say at some point you have had difficulty explaining the HIM profession and its value to someone.  Creating a professional brand can elevate the value of the HIM profession, and provide clarity around the many roles that are part of the profession. Most importantly, it ensures inclusion of HIM professionals for relevant positions and conversations.

What processes do you use to build a professional brand?

  • Discover yourself-Discovery involves a deep reflection of yourself, as well as an outside perspective from perhaps a manager or colleague. Conduct a self-assessment and external assessment of accomplishments, projects and characteristics, and look for themes.
  • Develop a brand statement. This statement should be 3-5 sentences and emphasizes your value and uniqueness. Develop your brand statement thinking about how you could answer these types of questions: “Why should you hire me, why should you ask me to lead a project, why should you want me to present to staff, why should you promote me?”
  • Communicate and build with social media, blogging, volunteering, and being visible.
  • Maintain by continually assessing your goals.

I highly recommend exploring professional branding if you haven’t had the opportunity.  It is relevant no matter where you are at in your professional career.  The main takeaway for me was to always be honest and truthful on what I want to be known for and then ensure the activities I am involved with align with that.

About the Author 

Kristin Nelson, MS, RHIA is the current Past President and Director of Awards & Scholarships on the OHIMA FY 2021-22 Board of Directors. Kristin is a Clinical Instructor at The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences HIMS Division.