I’m working with more women who want to build their professional profile than ever before. It could be that more professionals than ever appear to be building their profile since COVID gave some more time in the day (‘no time’ is probably in the top three most common reasons people tell me they haven’t got around to working on their profile). It could be that last year I decided I wanted to work with more women and the universe heard me. It could also be that more women feel they have the confidence and support to step out and be heard, just like men in the same situation have done for years.

Whatever the reason, this International Women’s Day, I’m writing about why now has never been a better time for women to start building their professional profiles in the hope it encourages women – whether they’re two weeks into a start-up, leading a business that’s about to float, a GM working towards the c-Suite or a non-exec director on the way to being a chair – to take action and start.

March 8, 2021, is International Women’s Day

More opportunities and platforms than ever

Back in the middle ages of PR (let’s say pre-2008), when an exec wanted to build their profile we’d create a media strategy for them. And the success of the strategy was largely based on whether journos thought the exec had something interesting to say, a budget big enough to create some news, and the talent of their PRs. Today, traditional media is one (obviously very important) channel where you should establish your voice. But you won’t get any traction with media if you don’t have an online profile and already appear to be saying and participating in your industry in an interesting way. A blog, website, social media, events etc allow you to do this: build an audience, tell your story, and get noticed by the media.

Balancing the media’s gender bias

Men have dominated the media for decades, that’s well documented. According to The Atlantic, a study found Forbes and the BBC quoted men 81% of the time. For media overall, it’s men being quoted more often than women by a ratio of 3:1. A big part of the reason for this is that men have typically held the positions of power that the media seek for comment and gender bias within news organisations sets the news agenda, but this is changing. With more women in the boardroom, as CEOs or in the c-Suite, founding businesses that achieve impressive growth or creating vital social change, it’s time – at the same time – to continue to increase female representation – via commentary, insights and interviews – in traditional media. Remind yourself about that when you feel nervous or narcissistic for thinking about starting or growing your media profile. If you’re doing it with purpose, you’ll be impacting the lives of other women for the better.

 

Journalist Adrienne LaFrance found she quoted women only 25% of the time in her articles for The Atlantic

 

Faster business growth and the pick of positions

If you’re an entrepreneur or running your own business, building your profile will help you grow your business. If you have your eyes set on the c-Suite or the boardroom, it helps you be sought out for positions. Building your reputation is networking, human to human marketing, PR, giving back, mentoring in public wrapped up in one strategy. Make sure you’re adding value in whatever you do when you’re building your reputation and whatever business you’re in will benefit.

COVID has given many women more weekday time (and support at home)

I appreciate I’m not all women, but prior to COVID, I looked after school drop off and pick up 4.5 days a week, shuttled three children between after school activities, daycare and home, then dinner, bath, books and bed before my husband got home at around 7 pm on an early night. I also ran a business, which I started when my first was six months old, and I was the primary carer when one (or all!) the kids were sick. Which, in 2019, felt like that was. All. The. Time. Other women have their commute time back, no work travel, a partner who isn’t travelling for work either, or no work events. All this time can be used to build your profile so it helps you build your business and the career you want. Allocating 20 mins a day can add up to have an impact.

In 2019 we had a six-week stint when I could count on one hand the number of days I didn’t have a child at home with me while I worked. 

Building your profile doesn’t have to = famous. Be known to those who have meaning for your career

If you want to start building your profile with the view to one day being famous, go for it. If the idea of being famous makes you feel sick, then tone down the pressure and get clear on who you want to be known by. If you’re a GM, do you want to build your profile so you get greater recognition from audiences within your organisation? As an entrepreneur, do you only need to be known by the 3,500 people worldwide who are obsessed with symmetrical mazes (that’s a random number, probably more people than I can imagine love them). Do you only need to be known by your direct network so they can refer you to clients, for partnerships or to new customers? If the potential of being famous feels overwhelming, break it down and focus on adding value and creating a connection with a smaller audience.

Symmetrical maze

If you’re a woman and you’ve been thinking about building your professional profile for a while, I encourage you to start now. There are more reasons to do it now than there are not to. Or more reasons that matter, anyway.

I love working with professional women who want to build their profile so it was meaning to them, helps them grow their business or achieve their career goals. If you’d like more information about how we can work together, click here.