Capital One on Building Your Professional Brand and Understanding Your Career Values
I recently had the pleasure of attending two Capital One Money workshops in Austin, Texas. The first workshop, which focused on career pathing after a career break (such as job loss, time away, or family needs) was designed to help participants get on track to a more rewarding career by aligning their professional identity with their core values. The second, which enabled participants to learn basic business and branding skills to bring their ideas to life, was ideal for entrepreneurs, or anyone, really, who is planning to leave corporate to do freelance or consulting work on a full- or part-time basis.
I had already attended a series of three money coach sessions and a panel discussion, so I was excited to see what the events had to offer. I decided to attend both workshops, because I consider my career pathing and leadership skills as separate development areas from my work as a small-business owner.
Both events kicked off by asking the attendees to introduce themselves and share one word that described how they were feeling about their careers at that point. The words they used–overwhelmed, curious, frustrated, excited, over-educated, under-employed, and challenged– definitely revealed the angst attendees were experiencing around their career.
Fortunately, our two hosts –Megan Lathrop, who is a certified life coach and works with Capital One’s clients in San Francisco to help them map their life goals to build a career plan that aligns to their core values; and Gwen Lane, a lifestyle expert and entrepreneur who inspires others to pursue their passions as careers—quickly shifted our focus to collaborative problem solving, which helped us better understand our professional brands and how to align our career paths to our life values.
Defining Your Professional Brand
Before defining our professional brand, we were taken through a series of questions and activities:
- What Services Do You Provide? Most people don’t think of themselves as a product, but the services you deliver to your company and/or clients is exactly that–a product. It’s crucial that you fully understand what services you offer so that you can articulate them as part of your professional brand.
- Who Are You? Most of us don’t take the time to stop and evaluate who we are as individuals, nor as professionals. It’s as important to understand who you are and who you consider yourself to be as a working professional as it is to know what you offer in building your brand.
- What Are Your Values? You may know what you do and who you are, but those aspects of your life aren’t necessarily aligned to your personal or professional values. You may not even know what your values are, if you’ve never really thought about them. So, it’s paramount to take the time to consider what your values are—perhaps even writing them down—so that you can know and understand what is important to you and align those things to your career path.
Mapping Your Values
Because 77% of professionals don’t feel they have jobs that match their values, defining them was one of the most important parts of the workshop. There was even a dedicated section to map them, during which the moderator walked us through the following steps:
- Explore Your Values. Make a list of the eight key words that define your core values. Mine were Leadership, Balance, Pleasure, Wisdom, Community, Ambition, Independence, and Meaning & Purpose.
- Understand the Path from Your Current State to Your Future State. See the forest through the trees. Write down both your current state and your desired future state to help you determine the actions and steps needed to get there.
- Build a Visual Map. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are you?
- Where do you want to be?
- How do you bridge the gap?
- What Are Your Passions? Passions are different from values. Passions are things that get you excited and keep you motivated during your career. Take the time to write yours down so you can align them to your career values and your career path.
Taking the Next Steps
We now understood who we were and what our values and passions were, so it was time to take the next steps in building our brands:
- Define Your Audience.
- Create Your Elevator Pitch. Two sentences that speak to who you are and what your value is to your audience.
- Tip: Look to people you admire as an example.
- Build Your Digital Portfolio. Update your LinkedIn profile, start publishing thought leadership content on Twitter, and contribute to thought leadership platforms.
Achieving Your Goals
I loved this part of the workshop. We were instructed to write down three goals, the actions we needed to take to achieve them, and a due date. This information is great to share with a career or life coach, as well as friends and colleagues who are going through the same career-pathing experience.
The best part of all of this is that all of the coaching sessions and career workshops are free. Capital One is redesigning the banking experience with Money Coaches, Life Coaching exercising, and Capital One Cafés, which are innovative community cafés set up around the US. They have everything you’d expect from your local café – coffee, snacks, comfortable seating areas, and free Wi-Fi – and, of course, help with your banking needs. They even offer students, entrepreneurs, and professionals a communal place to work, for free.
Take a look for the next Capital One Café opening in your community, and take advantage of their incredible free services. Find a Café.
Sponsored by Capital One9