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December is that dreaded month when people feel compelled to make lofty and panic-inducing resolutions. Instead of counting carbs and dumping your toxic friends, resolve to use the New Year to brand yourself as competent, confident and professional. Here are some tips to getting into self-branding, personal marketing mode:

Brand Yourself "Attentive"

When attending a business lunch or dinner, it is not appropriate to take out your phone and place it on the table. The person you are with deserves your attention -- let the voicemail handle it.

Brand Yourself "Socially Adept"

If you're invited to a business or social function and the invitation does not say "And Guest", you must come alone. It's not wise to call and request an invitation for your guest.

Brand Yourself "Ambitious"

Trying to impress someone with fancy clothes can backfire especially if you're trying to find a job. You're better off looking hungry rather than entitled.

Brand Yourself "Well Polished"

The handshake is the beginning of a business relationship and should not be rushed. Eye contact is part of the handshake - keep a firm grip until you can determine the color of the person's eyes. And yes, women can initiate a handshake.

Brand Yourself "Loyal"

Bosses hate to be caught unaware so always be on the alert for information that he or she might need. The truly savvy know to speak well of the boss within and outside of the company.

Brand Yourself a "Communicator"

Check for typos, spelling mistakes, grammar in interoffice memos, faxes and emails. Every piece of communication is an opportunity to extend your brand's value.

Brand Yourself "Organized"

Use the "one touch" rule for paper - look at mailings, memos, bills once and decide …filed or tossed. If friends are cluttering your life with their negative attitudes, toss them, too.

Brand Yourself "Savvy"

When meeting with clients after-hours, wait until your guest initiates a business-oriented conversation. If it doesn't come up, don't mention it. Always take your cues from the person you're entertaining.

Brand Yourself "Respectful"

Do not expect people to know you by your first name or keep your phone number handy. Voicemail messages should delivered in a slow, clear voice; it's wise to repeat your phone number at the beginning and at the end of the message.

Brand Yourself "Dexterous"

When presenting a problem to your boss, always be the first to offer a solution.



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