New Assistants / Guide for Assistants who are new to the role / Building your personal brand and networking

Chapter Six

Building your personal brand and networking

The key to success as an Assistant is building your networking. We give Assistants tips on how to start making connections and building a personal brand.

If you think about some of the most famous brands globally, 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 all know what the companies stand for. We also understand what Oprah Winfrey stands for, we have seen Tom Cruise’s expert skills, and we are all aware of the 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 solid personal brand? Why not become the office superstar? We are going to cover the following:

Building your personal brand

So how do we begin to build a personal brand, and how will it benefit us?

Personal branding is about your reputation and how your colleagues and clients see you. If you are an assistant who quietly gets things done behind the scene without much fuss, you might think you will not have as much of an impact as an assistant who is loud and proud.

But your reputation might be that you are easy to work with and always delivers what is asked 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 thought 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, ask for some feedback.

Understanding how you come across will help you market yourself and sell your key attributes.

Personal branding is more than reputation management, though. It can help you focus on your career development and future goals.

When I had a career crisis a few years ago, I decided to write down all of the tasks I enjoy. I quickly realised that I loved organising events and enjoyed marketing and writing.

So I made sure I put my hand up at every opportunity to get involved in these elements of the job. I also ensured all of my colleagues and my manager knew that these were the areas I could help with, and I was always super keen when they asked for that help.

Over time I became the go-to person for events and organised quite a few for my department and 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 brand gave my colleagues confidence in my 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 in now.

What is your expertise? It will usually be the tasks you enjoy the most.

Think about your skills and the tasks you like to do, and then shout very loudly that you are good at that aspect of your job. We all want to pigeonhole people, so why not use that to your advantage in your career development?

Do think about your communication style and how you present yourself publicly.

A can-do attitude, service with a smile and acceptance that no task is too small will eventually pay off. Be especially helpful when working on the tasks you want people to recognise as your expertise. Completing these tasks is the best way to lead you to where you want to be.

Having a personal brand will open so many more opportunities for you.

Lastly, continue to learn and update the skills you want to be seen as an expert in. Ask for training in the specific areas in that you want to excel in. 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 brand will 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!

Cover letter template for Assistants

Cover Letter Template for Assistants

Use this template to craft the perfect cover letter that promotes you.

Questions to Ask a New Executive

Use this guide to work in sync with your Executive from day one.

How Assistants can build credibility and create a personal brand

We know that having a solid personal brand is crucial in business. In the digital era, it will be more critical than ever for Executives and Personal Assistants to build a reputation that inspires confidence in their co-workers, clients and Executives.

In this session, we will look at the steps you need to take to build your reputation, create trust, and follow people who want to see you succeed in your role.

From Caroline Diamond, Executive Coach, SEVEN Career Coaching – Recorded at The Future Assistant Conference 2019

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Networking like a CEO

Networking is essential for your career development. For a whole load of reasons, I’m not going to write about it in this blog because we have many other blogs that talk about the benefits. So what am I going to write about today? If we know networking is essential, how do we get it right?

How do we kick ass when it comes to networking? That is what I’m going to write about today. I want to share some tips on how you can turn every networking opportunity into something worthwhile so that every contact you make becomes a valuable connection. This is what great CEOs and entrepreneurs do and have done to move their careers and businesses forward. So today, here are some tips on getting networking right and networking like a CEO.

Be confident, poised and professional

This is my first tip, and it is probably the hardest because networking can be difficult if you struggle with your confidence or, like me in the past, you find it hard to talk about your career with passion and pride. My tip if you have confidence issues (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) is to fake it until you make it.

I’m a big fan of this strategy.

Visualise yourself as a CEO, someone confident and at the top of their game, because in reality, you are! The more you practice faking it till you make it, the more you will feel confident in yourself – it works! The other thing CEOs do at networking events is to behave professionally and with poise. Don’t get me wrong, drink and enjoy yourself, but remember that you represent your business and career.

Study the delegate list

Before the event, take some time to research who is attending the event, or if you are making a connection online, look at their profiles to get a sense of who they are and what they do. Some apps like Accompany and LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help with the research.

If you are attending an event, they should have a hashtag that you can follow to see who else is attending and what conversations are taking place online. There should be content in the social media messages that you can draw on for discussions at the event.

Ask questions

Be interested and not just interesting. Ask lots of questions; this will also help the conversation flow. You will find that many senior Executives, who get how to network, rarely talk about what they do because they go to networking events to find out what other people are doing.

This is a great approach because you will learn loads and keep the conversation flowing. We have a list of great networking questions that you can use to help start any conversation.

Set some objectives for each networking event

This is something that I have written about before, but like any CEO, your time is precious too, so before you sign up for an event or networking opportunity, think to yourself, ‘why am I going to this, and what do I hope to achieve?’. If it is talking to a certain person, meeting a certain supplier, or making a few new connections, stick to your objectives at the event.

This is also handy for exiting a conversation that might be lagging because you can tell the other person you’ve got to meet your objectives, take their details and thank them for their time.

Follow up

Follow up with the people that you met at the event. Connect with them on social media, share their content and continue to build your relationship.

Elevator pitch

I struggle with this because it can feel false and pre-prepared. But, at any networking event, you will be asked what you do, so it is well worth coming up with a few words that start the conversation.

Okay, sure, you’ll give your job title, but with any follow-up questions – and we all get follow-up questions. I would say something like, ‘I make my CEO incredibly successful’, which is true and not something many other people can say!

Be incredibly helpful

Last, if you want to network like a CEO, be incredibly helpful. If you can help solve someone’s challenge or connect people who may help each other. Do it. Being helpful

20 questions to ask at any Assistant networking event

Networking questions for Assistants

Networking Questions for Assistants

Make sure your next networking event really works for you.

You are the only one who can determine how successful and recognised you will be within your organisation. To truly stand out and make a mark, you must focus on building a strong personal brand. It won’t happen overnight; it requires careful thought and strategy. Find ways to be seen as more than ‘just an Assistant’; show people what you have to offer, take initiative and take risks.

Promote yourself both internally within your organisation as well as externally by networking with peers, online forums and other activities that showcase your expertise. If this all feels overwhelming, why not consider taking the Assistant Essentials Online Course designed specifically for Assistants like yourself? Be sure to work hard but also strategically to become the office superstar!


Thank you for reading our guide!

We hope you find the guide useful and that it helps you on your journey as a new Assistant. The sky is the limit!

This guide will always be free for Assistants.