Along side my current EA role I am also the company’s marketing manager. I love that I have two sides to my job because well I love being an EA but I also love that I have a creative outlet and a variety of responsibilities. In fact I’m pleased as punch that I have a dual role. I didn’t just end up in this position though, after reading a really thought provoking article a few years ago, I kind of planned it. The article was on personal branding and that is what I want to talk about today.
If you think about some of the most famous brands across the globe they will all have a unique attribute that makes them stand out from their competitors be it Nike, Coca-Cola or Apple. We all know what the companies stand for. We also know what Oprah Winfrey stands for, we have seen Tom Cruise’s expert skills and we are all aware of brand Beckham so we know that individuals can also have strong personal brands. Why not assistants? We need to stand out in an organisation to get the recognition we deserve so why not build a strong personal brand? Why not become the office superstar?
So how do we begin to build a personal brand and how will it benefit us?
Firstly personal branding is about your reputation and how your colleagues and clients see you. If you are an assistant that quietly gets things done behind the scene without much fuss you might think you will not have as much of an impact compared to an assistant who is loud and proud. But your reputation might be that you are easy to work with and always delivers what is ask of you. At the other end of the scale you might be an extrovert who is fantastic at rallying the troops and a real team player. You might not have given much though to how your colleagues see you but I think it is important for assistants to be self-aware. If you are unsure how other’s see you do ask for some feedback. Understanding how you come across will really help you market yourself and really sell the key attributes that you have.
Personal branding is more than reputation management though. It can really help you focus on your career development and future goals.
When I was having a career crisis a few years ago I decided to write down all of the tasks I really enjoy in my role. I realised pretty quickly that I loved organising events and I really enjoyed marketing and writing. So I made sure I put my hand up at every opportunity that came along to get involved in these elements of the job. I also made sure all of my colleagues and my manager knew that these were the areas that I could really help with and I was always super keen when they asked for that help. Over time I became the go to person in the company for events and organised quite a few for my department and then for the Executive Management team. Other people in the company began to recognise my name and associate me with that skill. I had created a personal brand. I was an EA that also organised events. My personal brand gave my colleagues confidence in the abilities that I had and they would seek me out for the projects that they knew I could deliver. Without that experience I would not be working in the role that I am now.
What are your expertise? It will usually be the tasks you enjoy the most.
Think about the skills you have and the tasks you like to do and then shout very loudly that you are really good at that aspect of your job. We all like to pigeonhole people so why not use that to your advantage when it comes to your career development.
Do think about your communication style and how you present yourself publicly. A can do attitude, service with a smile and accepting that no task is too small will eventually pay off. Be especially helpful when working on the tasks that you want people to recognise as your expertise. Completing these tasks the best way that you can will lead you to the place you want to be in the future. Having a personal brand will open so many more opportunities for you.
Lastly, continue to learn and update the skills that you want to be seen as an expert in. Ask for training in the specific areas that you want to excel in. For me I went to marketing courses and I attended events for event organisers. I also search high and low online for useful articles, blogs and websites that would help increase my skills.
Remember having your own personal brand will really help you stand out from the crowd. There are so many assistants in the marketplace but how many have your unique attributes and skills? Not many is the answer to that – so use what you have to your advantage!