I’ve worked with many women in many different industries and stages in their careers, and have made some observations over time about how they approach their professional image.
Knowing your personal brand
Female business owners and entrepreneurs are often pretty good at understanding what it is they are good at and what they bring to clients/customers that is special and valuable. They are excited about their business, and may already have a wealth of experience in delivering value to stakeholders through their personal interactions with them, and through the business decisions they make. When I work with a business owner, they may need help communicating their expertise more clearly, but they can usually tell me what it is.
In contrast, I have found that many women within corporate teams, even at the executive and management levels, struggle to verbalise what it is they bring to their work that could potentially make them stand out from the crowd. I’ve encountered roadblocks when a woman is genuinely stumped when I ask the question: What makes you great at your work? I can honestly say that I can’t recall a time when a man has struggled to answer this question.
However, most women in any field or position can tell me what they love about the work they do – and this gives a lot of power to a personal brand.
Owning your personal brand
“When challenged with this question in relation to their profession: What makes you amazing? – few women can answer without faltering. It’s not that they don’t think they’re good at what they do, or that they can’t define it (though often with help) – it’s that they don’t OWN it. They don’t say: This is what I’m brilliant at and this is why.”
– The Powerful Personal Brand, Chapter 3, Be You
Yet, a woman can tell you a close colleague or friend’s strengths without hesitation. What I’ve found helps with owning your personal brand is spending time thinking about your key strengths and clarifying them in very precise words.
It’s been my observation, through my personal brand clients and prior work in photography, that women just don’t know how amazing they really are. Imagine the power of really owning that, without conceit or pretence, but with certainty and confidence. The women who succeed in this – look to successful CEOs, educators, artists, scientists and sportswomen for examples – stand out a mile with powerful personal brands that are making a difference.
Read on below for ‘Transforming your personal brand’…