What to do when your skill-set has elevated but your image has not?

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?  You’re having a conversation with an old friend.  The two of you are laughing and enjoying one another, when she suddenly mentions that she just recommended (insert name here) for a position and/or opportunity.

You’re startled. Huh?  You say, “Why didn’t you tell me? You know that is what I do.” She looks incredulously at you and says, “Really? I had no idea. I always thought you did (insert here).”

There is nothing worse than being surrounded by your crew and realize they have no idea what you do. Unfortunately, it happens ever day. In fact, if you really think about it, most people are surrounded by people who would probably have a hard time articulating who you are, what you do and what separates you from everyone else. Here’s why:

1.     In general, people have a hard time articulating what they do themselves, therefore, those closest to them aren’t well equipped with the tools necessary to become their brand ambassadors.  Chances are, you have people close to you who have no idea what really makes you so dynamic—other than the fact you are a friend and/or a loved one—and you make awesome martinis.

2.     Often, by the time you get home, the last thing you want to do is “talk shop.” Sure, you may share office gossip, mention a few wins, promotion, etc. but overall, you generally don't take the time to properly frame your skill-set in the minds of your inner circle.   

3.     Even though they are friends and/or loved ones, you tend to hold back discussing significant events at work because you don’t want to feel like you are bragging—especially if they aren’t happy with their position, or are looking for work themselves.

4.     We simply live two lives: our work life and our professional life and rarely do we let the two intersect.    

However, when we haven’t taken the time to properly educate those around us about who we really are—we are missing one of our biggest opportunities to unleash a band of UndeniablyFierce Brand Ambassadors.

Consider this, if you formed a friendship with someone eight years ago at your previous employer and the two of you pulled countless all-nighters trying to figure things out, and gossiped about the “powers that be,” do you really think you are the first person that comes to mind eight years later when someone is looking for a Senior Level executive who can slay new business pitches (even though that is the only thing you have been doing for the past three years at your current position?)

Absolutely not.

People see you and often keep you at the level that they meet you. Even though you have grown immensely. Learned a lot. Had significant wins, promotions and accolades. Those often happen behind closed doors, where others simply don’t see.

They knew and loved the old you. However, maybe it’s time to introduce them to the new, improved and UndeniablyFierce you. Here are a few ways to do that:

1.     Master your elevator pitch: Take the time to get really good at articulating who you are. Don’t just use it at networking sessions. You should be using it everywhere, including the Thanksgiving table with your family and friends. Considering that most people get opportunities and/or jobs through their personal relationships, that is one area you simply don’t want to overlook. They already have a vested interest in you.

2.   Educate your group: Make a concerted effort on a regular basis to educate your group and discover what they do. As your skills elevate, be sure to keep them abreast of your ascension and walk them step-by-step through your transformation. Talk openly about being the brand ambassadors or cheerleaders for one another’s career.

3.    Be candid about what you want: Ask those around you, “if you were to recommend me to someone or introduce me at a dinner party, how would you do it?" Identify the gaps that exist and close them.  Let them know what you want and where you are headed.

Your job is simple: to be so clear about who you are, what you do, what separates you from every one else and where you are headed, that those who are closest to you can’t help but be just as clear. Hopefully, they can help you along your journey. 


Jennifer Ransaw Smith is a nationally recognized  Personal Elevation™ Architect, Leadership Development Mentor and Personal Brand Strategist. She specializes in igniting the visibility, credibility, and profitability of professional women. If you are interested in joining her tribe of “Undeniably Fierce,” women from across the globe or learning how to Boost Your Status, sign up for her FREE Master Class at www.personalelevation.com