Words by Sarah Lennon
After years of knowing her career ladder was leaning against the wrong wall, Sarah took the leap in early 2020 and created Sarah Story Coach – a Career + Business Coaching Consultancy. Here, the focus is supporting and empowering those who are stuck or frustrated with their careers. Making a career change, an internal move or targeting that promotion are all moves that don’t necessarily come easily. For many people, obstacles get in the way, sometimes external but sometimes self-imposed. This is where Sarah comes in.
Working from home, working from your couch, from the kitchen. Bliss… Yes? But when it comes to building your personal brand, your professional brand, while working remotely – how has that been working for you?
First things first – why do it? Why bother building your personal brand when it comes to your career… Well to be frank, as we move into the ‘new normal’, it’s clear that the benefit of being aligned to one particular organisation or brand is becoming less and less valuable. You becoming aligned to a purpose, to a bigger picture, to your own growth and self and the impact that you can make on the wider world, this is part of a new ‘way of working’, a new way forward and ultimately benefits more parties in the longer term – and helps fill that ‘fulfilment’ bucket for you.
How can you build your personal brand then while working remotely? Not having the face time, those water-cooler conversations, that informal ‘chit-chat’ which might lead to stagnation in some roles and bring up those feelings of vulnerability for those who feel like Covid has affected progression. Below there are 5 ways to build your personal brand. Some will work for you, others might be outside of your comfort zone but the main thing to focus on here is that you own your career, nobody else and so if you want to grow, to progress, to get ahead, you need to make this a priority.
Use your voice. Stay in touch with people, focus on growing your network (authentically) and commit to progress. Don’t shy back on calls for fear of drawing attention but rather before entering into any meeting – particular important ones, be prepared. Do your research both on the meeting topic but also on the people attending. Develop a tone of voice that works for your professional brand and use this online via the various platforms (whether internal or external).
Schedule regular ‘coffee chats’. Informational interviews are a gold mine, a great opportunity to get your profile in front of people who may not be aware of you or your brand. The bonus of working remotely now is that it is *so* much easier for people to ‘give’ you 15 minutes of their time for a conversation but it can just be that – no commuting, no meeting room bookings, no fiff-faff. Conversations can lead to knowledge sharing which in turn, could lead to potential opportunities for you to develop further.
Conduct regular skills-audits and know your gaps. Potentially, you might have more time now due to no commute, use this wisely! Know where your weak points are and work to grow these. Looking at this then can also give you more insight into an area that you would like progress in, deep-dive into or potentially move out of. It’s surprising that with the ‘space’ we now have in some ways with the Pandemic, what becomes clearer.
Set Goals and Be Consistent. This is key to building your personal brand. The first question being – what do you want to achieve? Do you want to become known as the ‘go-to for product related questions’ in your organisation or perhaps the ‘coaching guru’? Whatever the answer is, you need to spend some time focusing on this and clarifying what the outcome looks like and from there, reverse engineer.
Share what you Learn. Cut through the clutter of email, instant messaging and share what you’ve learned with others through video. Allowing you to bring in your full complete self – rather than just a written reply or voice message, video enables you to share a complete insight into something. Perhaps you want to share tips about productivity while working from home or lessons from career conversations that you’ve had. Pick an area, a theme and share these learnings with a chosen audience, perhaps internal in your organisation or perhaps via LinkedIn, the professional social network. Either way (or maybe both), this effort and focus can go towards establishing your credibility in a certain area.
Learn more about Sarah here www.sarahstorycoach.com.