Tips to create a ‘personal brand’ when returning to work

In Boss Mama, Features, Stories by Nicole Fuge

by Carlii Lyon

My transition from celebrity publicist to full-time stay-at-home mum happened gradually. When it was official, it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I went from being on the receiving end of exciting invites and interesting emails, to sleep deprivation and two beautiful, yet demanding, children under two as my sole source of company.

I made the decision to dedicate all of my time to my children and I was fortunate enough to be in a position to do so. It was wonderful and I do not regret the decision in any way. It wasn’t until both kids were about to start school that I started to think about what the next chapter of my career would look like.

I knew in theory that all of my experience and expertise had not been erased with wet wipes and baby talk, but I still felt intimidated. It felt like I was starting all over again.

I started to look into the past and work out what I loved about the professional roles I had played, and what I knew I no longer wanted to do. Everything changes after having kids, or at least it did for me, especially my perspective on life and what matters.

I say all of this because I understand, through personal experience, how daunting it can be to get back into the workforce – or work for yourself after kids. Creating an impactful personal brand, not only allows you to stand out, it can also be a cathartic experience as you make a declaration of ‘I’m back!’.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said it perfectly “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.

How you look and what you say is no longer all that matters, in the digital age we live in, how you present yourself online is as equally as important.

If personal branding is new to you, here are my top three tips to help you on this journey.

1 // Write it out

Take the time to sit down and write out who you are. Include the experience you have and your ultimate goal for the future. As simple as it sounds, it’s a step that most people skip and then end up creating a personal brand that is disjointed.

Putting pen to paper allows you to see your story in black and white and rationally start to work out how to present yourself in a way that will help you get where you want to go.

2 // Choose your stage

Once you’re clear on what you want to stand for and you’ve created a cohesive storyline, you need to decide how to communicate it – and where. There are a variety of social media platforms that could work, but not every one of them will be relevant to you.

For example, if you are a management consultant, LinkedIn would be the place to start. If you are an illustrator, on the other hand, Instagram would be the way to go. Don’t try to do too much at once and remember, consistency is more important than frequency.

To make an informed decision, there are so many wonderful resources online. I personally love the work of Dorie Clark, author of Stand Out and a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review.

3 // Be brave enough to be you

One of my favorite books is The Top Five Regrets of the Dyingby Bronnie Ware. Bronnie was a palliative care nurse who was there to witness many of her clients pass away. In the lead up to their death, they often shared their regrets and she decided to write them down. One of the regrets that stood out to me was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.

When it comes to developing your personal brand there is no competition, because there is no other you. Do not try to copy or imitate others. Life is short and precious, be the brand in you.

You might also like: 5 inspiring mamas to help you kickstart the week, We’re throwing in the 9-to-5 for life on the road with a 1-year-old, and A boss-mama’s 6 secrets to the running your own business.