Find your inner salesperson and use it to best effect to gain the benefits says Richard Pimm

Having influence means selling yourself every day. Assistants can exert influence to be effective in their own jobs, to manage their careers, and of course to support their bosses and organisation.

To have the career you want selling yourself is an important and on-going process.  If you are exerting influence, you are selling; and for someone to be influenced by you they must buy into your credibility.  I am of the view that you should take a stand rather than letting other people make decisions for you and your career – so find that inner sales-person!

Find your inner salesperson

When we’re job hunting we know we need to market, sell and promote ourselves.  The idea of selling yourself and marketing your personal brand applies when you’ve got the job. From then on you are either developing yourself in your role or looking for promotion.  You need to be ready for opportunities for influence as they arise as well as carve out opportunities for yourself.  This means getting noticed; marketing yourself, promoting your own brand, influencing…

What’s your core message?

To be in this state of readiness I recommend having a core message. Who are you? What are you about? What is your skill set?  Then make sure you are consistently communicating this when talking to people and on your LinkedIn Profile.  If you don’t have your core message clear I recommend working on this right now.

Crafting your message

When searching for a new book to read, you’ll read the summary on the cover first to see if it’s for you. Your core message, or ‘elevator pitch’, is your personal summary. It needs to hit the spot if you want to get noticed amid all the noise that is social media and the fast pace of life today. It is not just a useful tool in itself, but the process of writing a well-crafted elevator pitch will help you get clarity on your skills and ambitions. This in turn will help you generate a confident mind-set for making the most of your current role and for when you want to make a move.

Remember: first impressions are incredibly important both in person and online.

Make a great first impression on LinkedIn

With your message clear you can use it to boost your LinkedIn profile and keep it current. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to showcase your talents and experience. It is also a trusted source of information; as the information is in the public domain people generally embellish less than they might elsewhere.

Use your elevator pitch in the summary of your profile; it will help create that all-important good first impression. Add effective use of ‘keywords’ – the words that are most likely to be used to find someone of your skill-set. Use the most important keywords in the most prominent parts of your profile.  This helps with networking in general, not just for being headhunted!

Use social media

Through social media we now have unprecedented access to the who-is-who of the working population. You can use it to help build relationships with fellow assistants, with contacts in your customer base and others who can help you do your job professionally and to the best of your ability.

If you want promotion

If a promotion is your goal, identify who tends to get promoted in your organisation. My guess is that they don’t promote shrinking violets.  Do you know who the key influencers are – the people you’ve got to get noticed by?   What do you need to communicate to them to get their full attention? Do they know you’re committed to getting a promotion? Why should they promote you as opposed to your colleagues? Can social media help you demonstrate your skill, or perhaps help you to improve your skill by getting advice from people who know? Keep asking the question – How can I get promoted – and you will find answers. Then act!

What does this mean for you as influencers?

  • Career success depends on getting noticed.
  • Know what you want to communicate.
  • With clarity comes added confidence.
  • Always aim to make a great first impression.
  • Social media provides great tools for professional relationship building.
  • So…Be proactive and use your initiative.

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Richard Pimm is from Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the ... (Read More)

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