In India, it’s tough to be a woman at work.
For a woman to be successful at work, she needs the right combination of luck, grit, and intelligence to make it to the top.
You need to be born in a family that provided good educational opportunities, you have to battle numerous social and familial expectations and objections to continue working, you must excel at your work AND manage male-dominated office politics – and all this is just enough to get you to middle management.
The last decade has seen so much corporate commitment to diversity; more and more women are being given a chance to climb higher. But still so many great women leaders just never make it to the top!
One of the reasons is that they don’t have the social skills to play in the big boy’s club. It’s no secret that beyond a certain level, promotions don’t happen based on CVs. Rapport, networking, and reputation play a pivotal role in opening exciting new doors.
Personal Branding Is The Way Ahead
So much has been discussed about building a personal brand, that I doubt there is anyone in the corporate world who doesn’t understand and acknowledge its importance.
But what does it entail exactly? And why do women need it to break the glass ceiling?
Simply put, marketing yourself and your career as a brand is personal branding. It’s promoting yourself and establishing a certain reputation for yourself.
But building a brand is a delicate and long process. Unlike big organisations, you can’t just hire a PR agency to do it for you. While there are professionals who can help you acquire the right skills to take on your self-branding exercise, the actual work has to be done by you yourself.
Let’s look at some essentials you need to keep in mind.
1. Craft your elevator pitch
When you think of a well-known brand, there is always a tagline attached to it. You have to find yours. Well, it doesn’t have to be a tagline, rather a story that you want people around you to associate with you. This is the essence of who you are, and you need to put careful thought into coming up with the right perspective.
We recommend you write down a short paragraph about who you are and how you would like to be introduced. This should not be more than 100 words and must include your professional experiences and personal ideology.
2. Evolve your own style
In this context, style doesn’t just refer to what you wear and your appearance. Here we are talking about an overall impression you would want to create which interacting with people.
For example, do you want to come across as thoughtful and academic or are you more comfortable with displaying an aggressive leadership style? Your appearance and how you conduct yourself is a huge part of how you communicate with others around you, however going against your true nature won’t really work in the long run as you might come across as inauthentic.
We recommend you aim for cultivating a style that comes naturally; after all, you cannot pretend to be something you are not for the next couple of decades.
3. Network diligently
You need to start making connections and communicating with people both inside and outside your organisation. You should also spread yourself to other areas, don’t just meet and cultivate new relationship within your specific department but also explore meeting new people through your hobbies or at non-work events. The idea is to become a part of large communities that can help you in times of need and also promote you and your brand.
Speaking at conferences and participating in events are two great ways to network effectively.
4. Leverage Social media smartly
Social media has now become a huge part of our personal and professional lives. For working women trying to establish their personal brand platforms such as LinkedIn provide an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents to exactly the right type of people. Here you can control your narrative and gently push the right messaging through your posts and writings.
Apart from posting on the platform, conducting webinars, online workshops and collaborations with other leaders in your industry are some ways to grow your social credentials.
Many of us feel that self-promotion is a bit fake, some of us are just too shy, and some just don’t know where to start. But, the reality is that you might be great at work and be extremely talented but if no one except your boss and colleagues knows this, then you will always be limited to that circle.
To really break into the big league, you need to create a reputation and the right perception. So that when management is discussing promotions, your name shines through.
If you are one the many who don’t know how to start building your personal brand, then we strongly recommend you give us a call. We are happy to help!
Check out our Personal Branding workshop.