3 Ways To Set Yourself Apart

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By Dave Wakeman

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal branding lately. When I consider how it applies to the world of project management, I come around to the idea that maybe we haven’t put enough emphasis on it.          

Why? Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret.

Are you ready? You sure?

Not all project managers are created equal! 

This might not be a surprise. But if I ask you to step back and think about how you position yourself t, are you doing enough to differentiate yourself from others around you? 

This is important because differentiation can be the difference between working on awesome projects or not. 

So, how do you differentiate yourself as a project manager? Here are a few ideas.         

1. Focus on the outcomes you have produced.

Most of the time we think about spec, am I right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t do us the most good because just doing our job often isn’t enough to stand out from the competition. We need to know how delivering spec or going beyond spec leads to improved business outcomes for our organization, our partners, our team. 

Just think about the ways your work made your business money, saved money or sped up a project. All of those can be expressed as outcomes that will make you stand out in comparison to others. 

To turbocharge a focus on outcomes, answer the all-important question: “Why did my work matter?” 

2. Emphasize and highlight opportunities created and risks protected against.

Risk mitigation is a core skill of every project manager, or it should be. On the other hand, how often do we think about our ability to create opportunities? 

Here’s how you can put your opportunity creation into words that highlight your importance and differentiate you from other project managers. Focus once again on the outcomes and the way the opportunities repositioned your organization or your partners. Maybe you saved a lot of money due to spotting an opportunity to streamline a process.

It could be that you recognized an opportunity to add to a current project in a way that was impactful for your partners and created new revenue. The “how” isn’t so important—focus on how you are impacting the projects you work on or investigate by your PM skills. 

3. Toot your own horn.

Humility seems like a high calling. It may have been in the past, but in today’s world—where everyone is sharing their best life on social media—humility is a career defeater. 

When I first started out as a consultant a number of years ago, I had the same feeling…people will buy from me due to the quality of my work. Wrong! You have to tell people how you help them and how you can create value for them. 

You don’t have to be a blowhard to do it well. Just focus on some of the ideas we discussed above, like your ability to generate positive outcomes for your projects and partners. Show the ways that your skills have increased the profitability of your business. Share some ideas that you have developed through your experience that can help other people do their jobs better. 

The most important thing is to make certain you are letting people know that you are not just a project manager, but an excellent project manager who focuses on the right things and gets results. That’s really all differentiation is. 

How have you differentiated yourself? Please share your experiences below.

Posted by David Wakeman on: March 14, 2019 11:17 AM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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Very inspiring article giving great insights on how to differentiate ourself. As you rightly said risk mitigation is important skill of every project manager but exploring opportunity rightly differentiate you. To keep yourself demanding you have show how you and your work creat value.

Highlighting your great works and skill set in achieving positive outcome is very important in creating differentiation.

Thank you David !!

Thanks, Dave,

It is nicely presented, we should be doing that on a regular basis.

Too often people just ear loud talker, so "Toot your own horn" to differentiate yourself.

Well said. Risk management is a key value added by a good PM since we can be the difference between a successful project or not.

Interesting Post. Specially This point "Toot your own horn."

Great ideas. Thank you Dave.

How do I differentiate myself ?
A good question to meditate on. Thank you

Great, Dave. Thank you.

Great article. I also suffered from the 'I do my job well and people will notice', its important to sell yourself and highlight your own achievements.

Great Article!! Thank you for sharing..

Top tips, thanks for sharing!

Thank you very much for your efforts and sharing

“Not all Project Managers are created equal” how true and just saying we are Project Managers doesn’t make us one and, to your point, just doing the bare minimum and ‘staying out of trouble’ probably doesn’t in most organizations either, it certainly doesn’t show any leadership which should be a key attribute of our role.

My personal branding statement helps start a conversation.It indicates what I do and what my values and interests are.
Project manager passionate about the greater good.

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