You hear a lot of managers and companies talking about "building their brand." This means making the company into a kind of icon where the name of the company is associated with the product or service they produce. Think Apple or Google.
But as this article in the Chicago's Tribune points out, you can do much the same thing yourself and build your own "personal brand".
In the piece, author Kyra Kyles describes the job of an employee named Molli Megasko who works for a PR firm. Megasko carries a full load of clients, works late and is also the companies' "social chair" which also happens to be a position she created. She does all of this to stand out from the rest of her co-workers.
Of course, Megasko also warns that this much work can sometimes be viewed as "kissing up" to the upper management. This is a key toward working hard and making yourself a "brand." You need to learn to walk the fine line between making yourself noticed and invaluable and "kissing up."
According to Kyles, "professionals should focus on being 'boundary spanners, or employees who go outside of their departments and corporate comfort zones to bring people together and help the company."
So, stay visible and make yourself appear invaluable. Just be careful that you aren't also seen as a "suck up" or a "brown-noser." Somewhere in the middle will make your job more secure in an economy as fragile as this one.