When I first started my corporate career nearly a decade ago, I didn’t feel like I could bring my full personality into work. The way I was expected to show up in the workplace was different than it is today. I was directed to keep my social media private, to not bring my emotions with me into work, and to act more reserved and proper on the job. It was almost as if society was telling me to suppress certain parts of myself – the parts of me that made me who I was. I hated it. I felt like I had to put on this act and only be a fraction of who I really was.
Over the last five years, I’ve learned the power of showing up as myself and bringing my personality into work. I’ve found that when you do this, you’re able to connect with people beyond surface-level, you’re able to show more depth to who you are, and you’re able to be more confident in what value you bring to the team and company you work for. The best part? When we show up as ourselves, we encourage and inspire others to do the same. When we’re spending 90,000 hours of our lives working, why would we want to mask who we are?
I’m here to tell you to bring your personality to each and every work situation you’re put in, whether that’s in your day to day at your job or when you’re interviewing for a new one. Especially because so many of us are adapting to working virtually right now, you need to ensure you show up even more and don’t lose that human element. Below are some ways of how you can highlight your personality in the workplace!
Add Personal Tidbits to Your Professional Bio & Resume
If you have a professional bio that corresponds with your work, look to add some personality to who you are beyond what your work experience is. For example, my profile at work says this:
I’m a Chicago-based Principal Success Manager with focus on Audience Studio and Advertising Studio, responsible for the RCG vertical. I’ve been with Salesforce nearly 6 years and have over 10 years of digital marketing experience. I am dedicated to bringing best in class digital advertising strategies, as well as cross-cloud and cross-product strategies, to help our customers drive success. On a personal level, I’m a fan of the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs & Fighting Illini, fall weather, staying active, and traveling! I also enjoy helping women navigate their careers and thrive in their 9-5 through my website and events that I host (www.thelipstickandink.com).
Your resume should reflect some of your interests or fun facts too. I usually recommend job seekers place those at the bottom of their resume to add some personality. I guarantee you get asked about it or it becomes a conversation topic in your interview!
Play Up Your Look
You can certainly showcase your personality in what you wear and how you present yourself. Wear your favorite colorful pieces, change up your lipstick, or wear statement jewelry to spark a conversation. In a time like we’re in right now where virtual is the norm, playing up your look when you know you’ll be on webcam can make a difference in showing more of who you are!
Initiate & Take Part in Real Conversations
It’s easy to get accustomed to keeping things short and sweet, especially on conference calls. But I challenge you to go beyond the small talk. For example, when someone asks what you did over the weekend, don’t just respond with, “Oh, you know, nothing much.” Instead, share what you did and then ask them the same! They’ll be more likely to expand on what they did too which can create healthy dialogue and help you connect to the other person better.
Get to Know Your Co-Workers
Despite the fact that my team at work is scattered across the U.S., I am proud to say I feel like I know my co-workers pretty well. This is because we make sure each week when we talk we start the meeting with what’s currently happening in our day to day lives outside of work. We also schedule virtual team happy hours where we can ‘shoot the shit’ and learn more about each other beyond who we are at work. I’ve also gone ahead and friended the majority of my team members on social. These are just a handful of things you can initiate with the people you work with too.
I also recommend opening up more in general about your interests and projects outside of work. If you have a passion project or side hustle that you work on outside of work, don’t be afraid to talk about it! More often than not, people will be impressed and excited to learn more about it!
Use the Power of Your Voice
No one is going to get to know you on a deeper level if you’re not speaking up. Share your opinion in meetings, offer your perspective in interviews, ask thoughtful questions on team calls. These small actions can go a long way and often lead to others getting to know you and connect with you more.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn as a way for more people to get to know you personally! Similarly to your resume, update your profile to include more personal information in your “About” section. I also highly recommend taking the opportunity to post and share topics on LinkedIn that you’re passionate about to spark dialogue. Again, this goes to show more of your personality beyond what your job title is. You can read more LinkedIn tips in this post.
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, events host, speaker, and founder of Lipstick & Ink®, a career and wellness organization aimed to motivate female 9-5ers and side hustlers to own their power and make their mark. In addition to her writing and career consulting experience with L&I®, Kelly works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce. She is also in the process of writing her first book.
Kelly has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets including Thrive Global, International Association of Women, General Assembly, TheGlu, SheFactor, EvolveHer, Cliquish, and Six Degrees Society.