When it comes to being a professional woman, it can often be tough to gain the courage to promote yourself as a valuable asset.
This is evidenced by the countless resources we find online about women lacking confidence or struggling from imposter syndrome. These issues in turn often stem from the ‘double bind’ women find themselves navigating in the work place: if they behave in an overly feminine manner, they can be perceived as weak.
On the other hand, if they behave in a way which is more confident, they can be deemed masculine and are often attributed with negative traits such as ‘bossy’ or ‘overbearing’.
Thus, when it comes to developing a ‘personal brand’ with which to advertise their value as an employee, some women can fall short of the mark. This is often because they worry about how they’ll be perceived or labelled for asserting their dominance and being vocal about what they bring to the table in a work environment.
Still, as readers of WeAreTheCity know, success is built on pushing boundaries and going against the grain to ensure they progress in their respective industries.
The problem is, how do we go about developing our own brand? A personal brand should encompass your personal values and individual skills that set you apart, highlighting how you want to be seen by the outside world. To do this, follow the steps below and you’ll be on your way…
Identify your values
What matters to you (is it loyalty, ethics or diligence)? By identifying what drives you, you can recognise what will make you happy, and therefore more productive
Identify what you want to achieve in your career
Once you know this you can steer your brand to help achieve this goal. Think about the types of company you want to work for and match these with your values. Aligning the two will improve your engagement with a business and help you work towards a shared goal
If you’ve correctly identified your values and are focusing on implementing them this process should become natural. Think how you’d feel if a recognised brand appeared to go against its promoted values and apply this mind-set to your personal brand and its consistent message
Set a timeframe
Don’t be afraid to set timeframes as it gives a sense of purpose and a target to work towards. Think about where you want to be six months from now, work towards that deadline and then reflect on what you’ve achieved in that period
Write a brand statement
Write out how you want to be viewed and look to match your behaviours to this statement. Make it short and punchy, giving yourself clear direction
Once you know how you want to be seen and how this will help you, look to phase these changes into your working life.
You can’t change overnight, but look to tick your already identified objectives off a list so you are moving in the right direction.
As competition for roles becomes fiercer and the market faces increased uncertainty under both the election and the looming threat of Brexit, the concept of personal branding on a professional level is becoming more and more important. It helps you to hone your own personal skills, and present them in a manner which will take your professional image from strength to strength.
No matter what stage of your career you’re currently at, it’s never too late to develop your own unique brand to help you progress your career. Take the opportunity to define who you are and what you stand for: the right opportunities will follow
About the author
By Laura Little, Learning and Development Manager at CABA.