What Do You Want to Be Known For?

Networking events, job interviews and your day-to-day work have one thing in common: your success is driven by the value you offer. So how do you demonstrate your value? In many ways, it comes down to the way you present yourself. When you align your behavior with your professional goals, you’ll not only change how people see you, you’ll change your career trajectory.

Identify and embody your aspirations 

It is possible that you are like many of the lawyers I coach: after spending countless hours honing your technical legal skills, you realize that you have given short shrift to how you want to be perceived by interviewers, colleagues and people in your network. Perhaps you want to be known as a strong negotiator, an innovative case manager, a client whisperer or a devoted mentor. It’s not enough to simply tell people that you possess these qualities; you need to show them.

The first step is to identify the “superpowers” that you want to be known for. Once you develop clarity on how you want to be perceived, don’t wait for an invitation. Instead, actively create opportunities to align your everyday actions with these qualities. Each encounter with colleagues, clients and opposing counsel offers the chance to demonstrate and build a track record of these attributes. Consider ways of infusing them in the way you engage with your work teams, pro bono activities, professional organizations and community.

Every day is an interview — and an opportunity

During a job interview, hiring managers study not just what you say, but what you do. For roles with heavy client contact, for instance, a candidate who listens actively has an advantage over one who talks over others. When employers ask behavioral questions to learn about your background, select anecdotes that showcase your strengths and provide the evidence that employers seek.

Whether you’re making a job transition or aim to rise through the ranks where you are, make sure your actions reflect your value. Let people experience the qualities you want to be hired for. When you do, they’ll be quicker to recognize your worth. Every moment is an opportunity to model the behavior you want to be known for and advance your professional goals.