An interim manager cannot be truly successful without strong personal branding. It allows you to convince potential clients within a matter of minutes that you are the right person for the job. How should you go about building a personal brand?

For example, let´s say you are at a networking event, but realise you are already late for your next appointment. On your way out you hold the door open for someone who is just arriving, and while exchanging some pleasantries, you realise you are talking to the HR manager of a company that is in need of an interim professional with your exact specialisation. What should you do? How can you convince a potential client in a minute that you are the right person for the job?

To answer this question it is worth investing time pondering your personal brand. What are your personal values, your specific talents, your unique experiences and passions? What makes you stand out from the crowd? The better you are able to answer these questions, the stronger your personal brand will be. Here are some next steps to take on your branding journey:

1. Find out what people say about you when you´re not in the room

“We all have personal brands—we don’t get to choose!” says Amy Stanton, founder the marketing and PR agency Stanton & Company, in an interview with Forbes “A weak personal brand can hold us back—either because people don’t know what we stand for or, worse than that, others may be making inaccurate assumptions.”

But how do you know what your personal brand is? It´s easy: your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not the room. Or as Stanton puts it: “Having a strong personal brand is about true alignment… between who we believe we are, who we want to be and who we’re currently perceived to be.” To find out how others perceive you, ask former clients and colleagues for honest feedback or take an assessment.

2. Write an elevator pitch

If you want to convince a potential client in a matter of minutes, you need have a so called ´elevator pitch´ prepared. The term actually comes from Hollywood, where it was said that screenwriters would pitch their ideas to big studio bosses in the time it takes to ride an elevator. The advantage of having this pitch prepared is that you can always sell yourself in unexpected situations, whether it´s a bus ride, a wedding or a bar. Another bonus? Recruitment agencies and hiring managers will highly appreciate that you know how to quickly and accurately introduce yourself. Here are some building blocks of good elevator pitch: who are you? What do you? When? How? Why will you succeed? How will you make it happen?

3. Practice your pitch until you can dream it

Your pitch may sound improvised to the listener – if it doesn´t you should work on it – but only because you know it so well that you are able to adjust to the circumstances. You need to learn every line of your pitch by heart, including gestures and intonations. The better your non-verbal communication, the more confident you will look.

4.  Make sure your name is associated with strong brands

The stronger the company brands you have worked for, the better it is for your personal branding. Which university did you attend? Are there any online alumni platforms you have joined? Which well-known companies did you work for? Make sure you mention these company names in your elevator pitch.

5.  Work on your online presence

In building a strong personal brand your online presence becomes just as important as your first face-to-face interaction with a potential client. Often your online profile/s will be the first time a client or agency sees you. Ensure all your social media profiles are consistent: the profile photos, biography and website links should all be alike. The same goes for the colours, fonts and style. Also the way that you use social media should be consistent. If you post regularly, and answer any comments you might get on your posts, social media is a great way to help build your personal brand.

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