Personal Branding for Women: Highlighting Strengths

Women want to be just as successful as men are, but often they want to succeed in a different way. The generalization goes that women (more than men) tend to embrace the desire to want to live more authentically, and that translates into being more of who they are in the workplace.

Be your authentic self

Personal branding is about living your authentic self and building on natural talents and strengths. In general, some of the following characteristics may be more true for women as a group than for their male counterparts:

  • Collaborators

  • Connectors

  • Socially oriented

  • Focused on community

  • Natural multitaskers

  • Awareness of visual identity

  • Strong verbal communicators

  • Empathetic and intuitive

  • Engaged in stories

  • Builders of deeper relationships

When a woman works on her personal brand, she needs to let go of the fear that these characteristics are bad things in the workplace (especially if she’s in a male-dominated work environment). Often, male coworkers don’t see these female qualities as intellectual or as worthwhile as the more male characteristics of individuality, facts, and logic.

These are the complex subtleties that women face every day in the workplace. As you refine your brand, you continually need to be true to yourself and to know how to play the game in your particular workplace.

In rapidly changing work environments, the rules aren’t as clear for women about how to be who you are, what you should wear, and what qualities are acceptable. Building a female personal brand means focusing on your best self within the variables that you can control and not being afraid to be seen for your uniqueness.

Be confident in what you know

The story goes that there was a dinner with a group of partners in a professional services firm. The event was comprised of men and women about equally. One of the men at the table was a senior leader in the firm. The dinner table was much more social than others around. There was a lot of talking, laughing, and sharing of stories.

One of the women was telling a work story when the male senior leader said, “Do you know what is wrong with women?” The table gasped and all turned to him.

He continued with, “You are at least as smart as the men, maybe smarter, but you wait until you know how to do something at least 80 percent before you say, ‘I can do that.’ We men will say we can do something when we know it 25 percent. We are confident enough to know we will figure it out. If you want to get ahead in business, you need to have the confidence to say that you know how to do something much sooner.”

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