4 simple ways to kickstart your personal brand as a lawyer
With outsourcing and AI on the rise, your personal brand is becoming more and more important. Regardless of whether you're a sole practitioner or a small cog in a large operation, a summer clerk or a partner, your personal brand as a lawyer is important. Personal branding forms part of your own marketing strategy and it encompasses everything from what you wear to how you make others feel. Most importantly, a personal brand will allow you to stand out from your peers, in a good way. Clients want to know you can do the work and deliver the outcomes, but they also want to know who they are dealing with. Who are you as a person? What values do you stand for? What style of approach do you bring to the table? How will you solve their problem better than the thousands of other lawyers out there?
Building your personal brand may seem like a mammoth task, and it is. It's not something you can do overnight. It's something you continually add to throughout your career; it's never finished. But, don't let this put you off. We've previously written about how you can build a stellar LinkedIn profile as a lawyer, but what else can you do?
Here are some simple things you can start doing today that will pay dividends in the long run:
1. Be Authentic
"Authenticity" is a bit of a buzz word these days, but it shouldn't be. At its core, it's simply being who you are naturally.
Everyone has their own unique story. Their own unique set of values, beliefs and ideals. So, whatever image you want to project, make sure it's real. You can try and be someone you're not but you'll only be able to keep it up for so long before you get caught out. Plus, you'll feel like a fraud and that can be exhausting.You'll also form professional relationships easier than if you're pretending to be someone you're not. You'll be able to connect with people at a deeper level than a simple business transaction. They say that people remember how you make them feel. Well, this is a core part of it.
You'll also form professional relationships easier than if you're pretending to be someone you're not. You'll be able to connect with people at a deeper level than a simple business transaction. They say that people remember how you make them feel. Well, this is a core part of it.
2. Be Original
What makes you different to other lawyers? Think about what your point of difference is and leverage it. It may be an area or skill that you're particularly good at. Maybe you're a gun at public speaking, in which case you should ask for more public speaking opportunities at work. You could volunteer to run a "lunch and learn" session or a public event. Maybe you have technical skill that you're really good at, so leverage it. Become the "go-to" person for it.
Finally, don't be afraid to learn new skills outside of law. Interested in the tech side of things? You could learn how to code. Enjoy writing stuff? Send us an article or two and we might publish it.
3. Be Bold
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. If you have specific skills or strengths, don't be afraid to put that out there too. Sometimes we get too caught up worrying what people will think about us and don't promote our strengths. If you don't back yourself, who will?
Don't diminish your skills. If somebody commends you on an excellent presentation, accept the compliment graciously. In the same manner, if someone gives you constructive criticism, take it on board. Don't be defensive about it, or people won't give you feedback in the future. You can't improve unless you know where you're going wrong.
4. Be Connected
Maximise your networking opportunities by building your skills and connecting with interesting people. We live in a highly connected world, with access to everything from Facebook groups to Linkedin to grow our networks.
Growing your network sets you up for a huge advantage in the new economy. As you build connections, the opportunities that open up for you are phenomenal. Opportunities you may never have thought possible or even considered. But, you have to be open to it and prepared to put yourself out there.
The bottom line is this: sitting back and resting on your reputation will put you at a disadvantage. Simply being able to deliver a service is not enough when there is so much competition. Building meaningful connections should be a core part of your personal branding strategy.
See, these four things aren't going to take a huge amount of time or work. And, if you get them right, there will be huge long-term benefits to your career, including:
Becoming more well-known amongst potential clients by increasing your visibility
Developing more genuine and long-lasting relationships
Getting more purpose around what you do
Getting more attention from a broader range of career mentors
Opening up the door to new opportunities