With a background in public relations, I’m trained in not only how to communicate during a crisis, but also how to make lemonade out lemons. I was taught to look for the most consumable angle when delivering news. A way to subtly communicate our company’s positive attributes and/or mitigate potentially damaging messages. This is the lens in which I view the media. I see this happening everywhere. Companies are stepping up and joining the bandwagon of corporate social responsibility. My inbox reflects their efforts hourly. I’ve received an email from every company I’ve ever ordered from. Makes me think I need to assess my online shopping habits! It’s like a race to see who can outdo the other in an attempt to prove they are the most socially responsible business.

Joking aside, these are serious and unprecedented social waters we are treading in. We are seeing things occur that are far beyond our control and let’s be frank – it’s unsettling.  This is where the making of lemonade comes into play, and you can make it at home.

There is one thing that you can control and actively build –all while adhering to our new global social distancing guidelines in this post-COVID-19 world – and that is your personal brand. When was the last time you were forced to stay home? When was the last time you had any head-space in which to think, “Where do I want my career to go?” Between everyday work demands and life demands (running kids to soccer/choir/football/track – you get the picture); when did you have the time?

That time is now. The world will return to a new normal …eventually. And when it does, you can be well-positioned to enhance or even change others perception of you.

What is your personal brand? It is how you portray yourself professionally (or otherwise) to members of your in-person network, your online network, and the general public. Ideally, you want people to see the “you” that reflects positively on your talents and expertise and ultimately positions you for upward mobility within your career trajectory.

The key to creating a strong personal brand is to determine what differentiates you from potential competitors. What is your superpower? Ask friends, colleagues and families if you are having trouble identifying this.  Next, write it down. This statement is now your personal mission statement for every piece of personal marketing material you create going forward.

Author: Claire Sakaoka