My first question when I started working was, how important is my personal brand? It felt over-hyped, and I thought, “I have a job already, so do I really need to develop one?”
Yes. Even if you’re not actively searching for a job, developing your work persona — and consequently growing your professional network — will pay off for years to come. It really gets down to being able to sell yourself. It’s awkward at first and sometimes feels icky but is one of the most important things when it comes to growing your career, and with a clearly defined personal brand distilled into a personal elevator speech you’re proud of, you’ll start to feel more comfortable every time you do it.
Doing the work on your personal brand before you’re in need of it will save you time and strife. Plus, by standing strong in your identity, you’ll come across as confident, capable and empowered. Who doesn’t want that?
So, let’s get to the good stuff.
Step 1: Identify and rate your values. You would be surprised at how much becomes clear once you have taken the time to outline what’s important to you. These values will serve as the guardrails for you to make decisions against.
Once grounded in your values, you can’t help but feel more confident in your presentation.
Step 2: By identifying what’s important to you, it will be much easier to answer these questions: What are you passionate about (in and out of work) and when do you feel like your most authentic self (the person whom you recognize as yourself, not an imposter)?
Step 3: Own what you know! Take charge of your space and be confident about the things that you’ve got down. This is what you want to be the bulk of your elevator speech. No one is an expert exactly the way you are because no one has your unique perspective. Take advantage of that and play to your unique strengths. For example, if you’re the one who relishes solving the most difficult problems in your office — the ones no one else wants to touch, like how to sort out the mildew-y accounts payable records from 2007 — you can bet that “master problem solver” should make it to your elevator speech.
Step 4: Identify areas you want to continue to learn, improve, and grow. This is an answer to that (dreaded) interview question, “What are you not great at?” or “In what areas can you improve?” By shifting from what you need to improve on to where you want to continue learning, you are acknowledging what you don’t know in a positive way.
Step 5: You’ve done a lot of work, so now you have a lot of information about yourself. It’s time to distill it down to a personal elevator speech (a speech short enough to have an impact in only an elevator ride).
Check out part one of the Happy Spectacular elevator speech for inspiration:
We help people figure out what’s right for them at work and life and how to go get it. We are totally changing the way people think about work, because it’s not okay to have a bad job.
And part II if we get asked the follow-up, “So, how do you do it?”
“We have an amazing team of coaches, and they work with people one-on-one to help create their happy work so they can fully live spectacular lives. By helping people have better lives through their work, we know that we can change the world.”
Now it’s time to go into the world! Network, meet people, grow and learn and develop yourself! Now that you’ve done the work on yourself, there’s no limit to what you can do.
Do you feel confident in your personal brand and how you show up? When do you feel most confident and authentic?
Nora is a co-founder of Happy Spectacular, which she still can't really believe, and she's on a lifelong quest for the world's best cheeseburger (applicants accepted).