Think back to the last time someone asked you “So, what do you do?” or “Where do you work?” And you fumbled to answer the question clearly or found yourself vaguely describing what you do as if you were ashamed of your job or career.
This happens to all of us and it happens for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reason for Latinas is having been taught to be humble. In Latino households, it is common, that you are told not to brag because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, you go to a family gathering and keep your big accomplishments a hush, hush.
Another,common reason I hear is because, when a client goes to family gatherings no one understands what they do. So they just stop trying to explain it to them, adding to that feeling of shame and guilt.
First, let’s brush these off, it happens to everyone. And let’s start letting go of the humble pie for the #HumbleBrag ok, that hashtag started for a reason. Somewhere, someone wanted to “brag” but just didn’t know-how to do it without seeming like a douchebag. I am not saying to be a show-off and obnoxious, but if no one knows what you do or why you do it, then, new opportunities will not come to you.
To market yourself effectively you need to be able to explain WHAT, HOW, and WHY you do something in about 2-3minutes. For example, if you spy some Business Instagram accounts you’ll see a one-liner like mine “I help busy Latina moms gain clarity to plan their next career move.” or “I help new Latina leaders learn how to lead and gain credibility.”
These are great a great start but they are missing the HOW and WHY, since Instagram has a limited amount characters business owners then has to provide a clear message through their content (website, blog, and posts) as to how and why they do this.Then as the business grows, continues to market and brand themselves, more and more credibility is established based on the content.
And now, how do you translate this into your career? The same way, you can do it via your social media, through word of mouth, and through the quality of your work.
Before I get started on HOW to do this for yourself, let me explain WHY you need to start marketing yourself more.
Reason #1 – To have more opportunities.
If no one knows what you do, then it limits the number of opportunities that you come across. If more people know what you do then it will lead to more career and job prospects. How many times have you seen or heard of a job posting and think oh Maria, would be great for that position I’m going to tell her about it. **And, when someone suggest a job posting to you, please apply. Just apply! Even if you don’t think it’s for you, the Universe is sending you a message for a reason.
Reason #2 – To have people vouch for you.
Ok, this may sound self-serving but it’s really not. Let’s say you are the BEST social worker there is in a particular niche and you know Spanish. You are freaking amazing and passionate. And if people know WHY and HOW you do something – your special Social Worker Sauce – then when they see opportunities, not only will they send them over to you they will also talk about you to others. They’ll tell the hiring manager something like “OMG this would be a great opportunity for Maria, and she would be so freak awesome at it.” **Think of it as your way to impact and improve more lives plus getting an opportunity to do something more.
Reason #3 – To get the credit you deserve.
While we all were taught to be quiet at school and those that “listened,” “did their work,” and “didn’t cause a ruckus” were rewarded that is now how real life is. Those that actually go outside the box, cause a ruckus, and show their worth are the ones that move ahead more quickly. How many times have you seen that? Someone with less experience moving up faster because they made a big deal about something they do, meanwhile you do it a 100x better.
Now to the practical part, how you can Market yourself (and your career dreams) in all areas of your life without feeling douchy.
Explaining what you do should feel natural and authentic. Take some time to write these questions down. Refine the answers to two to three sentences and start practicing it.
WHAT you do: In a nutshell, what is it that you do? Do you help others? Do you compile data? Do you coordinate an office? Think of it as explaining it to your 5-year old who really wants to know but won’t quite understand. If you are in a helping profession, you can something like “I help others (defined niche) access community resources.” If you’re in leadership you can say “I manage a team of Licensed Therapists that help close care gaps for clients with behavioral health needs.”
HOW you do it: Next, you need to tell people how you do it. What’s your secret sauce? What makes how you do it special, different and unique? Continuing with the examples from before, if you’re a helping professional you can say how you help others access community resources, “I provide them (niche) with the information and tools to learn how to access community resources in the future.” As a leader you might then say, “I provide my team with structure, autonomy, and accountability to ensure their supported in working with our clients.”
WHY you do it: The why we do something is often lost in your explanation of what we do. This is KEY to having others vouch for you. If they know why aka your passion behind what you do they will want to help you get to your goal. As a helping professional and leader you may say the same thing. “I do this because I believe everyone deserves access to care and I want to do my part to help others.”
Once you put this together, it can look like this:
“I help clients with behavioral health needs access community resources. I do this by providing them with the immediate information they need and the tools to learn how to access community resources in the future. I do this because I believe everyone deserves access to care and I want to do my part to help others.”
“I manage a team of Licensed Therapists that help close care gaps for clients with behavioral health needs. I do this by providing my team with structure, autonomy, and accountability to ensure their supported in working with our clients. I do this because I believe everyone deserves access to care and I want to do my part to help others.”
After you have created your own statement, practice, practice, practice. Practice is key to getting use to saying this and really connecting what you do to the how and why you do it. What if you are not doing what you want to be doing? Then what? How do you market what you’re currently doing to align with what you want to be doing?
Look for my next post on how to market what you’re currently doing as a segway to what you want to be doing.
Would you like feedback on your statement? Send me an email at email@example.com