By Kory Korir,
X: Hey friend, I have a parcel of land here and I need a surveyor to subdivide it for me.
Y: Worry no more, Miss Xyz will do it for you, let me forward you her number.
Miss Xyz is a reputable surveyor who has created a brand out of herself. Were it not for what she has always done in her field, Y would not have recommended her to X. In a Young Surveyors Network talk about personal branding on 24/02/2017, Mr Otieno, a valuer and a full member of ISK (Institution of Surveyors of Kenya), talked about the essentials of what has to do to create themselves as a brand in their professions. According to him, being a brand will enable you have a wider clientele base as many people will bestow their trust on you with regards to the kind of work they have for you. Having a wider clientele base will definitely expose you to several challenges that will ultimately instigate growth in your professional career.
“Creating a brand in your career is a life long journey that also requires you to be consistent in what you do”, reiterates Mr Otieno. This means that one cannot be a brand immediately after they graduate from college but rather have to take some baby steps to achieve the same. Mr Odak, an Engineering Surveyor at Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), and a full member of ISK, outlines looking for a mentor as the first step of this long life journey. Mentorship is crucial in this stage of life as the mentee will be directed with someone who has the practical and hands on experience. As much as a graduate is rich in theoretical knowledge, the same is not analogous to the practical world. Focusing on one’s core competencies is also important as it increases ones skills and knowledge in a specific line of work. This makes one more professional as one can easily solve problems that might crop up.
Mr Otieno’s sentiments were that, our daily activities contribute to the experience that we will gain. This should always be supplemented with attending training sessions whether in seminars and workshops. Undertaking auxiliary courses is also an approved avenue where one can learn more about their line of work. He also stressed that professional growth is always marked by milestones and recognitions. When one is recognized in a certain field this means that they have achieved something remarkable and this goes a very long way in creating a brand in somebody.
Land economics, surveying, urban planning are kind of technical professions. While in school, little focus is directed on imparting soft skills on the students undertaking these courses. This deprives them the skills to communicate and market their professions and brands. Mr Odak feels that more has to be done in these sectors for the professionals to thrive in their undertakings. Mr Otieno is wary of ‘quacks’ that have infiltrated these professions and have learned what needs to learned to be there. He feels that the way they present themselves makes them look more than legitimate. This to him may compel some people out of the business hence a lot has to be done in order for the profession and the professionals alike to remain relevant in the market.
Kenya is known as a country where people have high affinity to shortcuts and they can do unimaginable to procure what they desire. These professions are no exceptions. Mr Otieno feels that people will always hate one for their professionalism. However, this should never be an excuse for one to compromise their integrity for some quick cash. Being ethical is paramount and professionals should always undertake their duties within the confines of their jurisdiction. This will surely earn their respect and it will develop their character and also brand. Lastly, apart from challenging people to love what they do, Mr Odak also challenged people to Google their own names to see who they are or what other people think they are. You can also do the same.
Create you brand!