Amazon Executive Offers Critical Career Advice to Women in Tech: Build Your Personal Brand

July 2, 2024

Some of the most important decisions in your professional career will be made for you… when you aren’t in the room.

During an inspiring keynote at Girl Geek X’s ELEVATE 2024 Virtual Conference, Amazon Head of Product, Research & Science Corliss Collier shares her blueprint for crafting a strong personal brand that opens doors and helps women in tech stand out amongst their peers.

Collier reveals how she used intentional personal branding to establish herself as a connector and rise through the ranks at Amazon. She outlines how anyone can become the go-to person by consistently delivering on your brand promise.

She recommends developing your personal brand through a continuous process of self-discovery, reflection and feedback.

Identify Your Unique Strengths, Skills and Passions

To craft a compelling personal brand, start by looking inward. Reflect on your unique combination of strengths, skills and passions:

  •   What are you exceptionally good at?

  •   Which skills do you possess that are valuable and in-demand?

  •   What lights you up and energizes you?

Think about the projects and roles where you’ve made the biggest impact and felt the most in your element. Identify the common threads – therein lie your superpowers.

Ask yourself: What do I want to be known for? What makes me stand out from others in my field?

what is your unique value proposition corliss collier amazon

Craft a unique value proposition (UVP) that encapsulates the essence of what you bring to the table. Your UVP should:

  •   Highlight your greatest strengths

  •   Align with your passions

  •   Speak to the needs of your target audience

  •   Differentiate you from others

For example: “Product leader who combines deep technical expertise with a talent for translating customer insights into innovative solutions that drive business growth.”

By getting clear on your unique value and the problems you’re exceptionally equipped to solve, you lay the foundation for a powerful personal brand that creates new career opportunities.

Reflect on Your Values and Goals

As you craft your personal brand, it’s crucial that it aligns with your core values and the direction you want to take your career. Your brand should feel authentic to who you are at your core.

Ask yourself:

  •   What principles and beliefs guide my decisions and actions?

  •   What impact do I want to make through my work?

  •   What types of projects and roles energize and fulfill me?

  •   What kind of leader do I aspire to be?

  •   What legacy do I want to leave?

Use the answers to these questions as a filter for your personal brand. Every element, from your unique value proposition to your leadership style, should ring true to your values and aspirations.

For example, if innovation is a core value, your brand should reflect your ability to think outside the box and drive positive change. If empowering others is important to you, your brand should highlight your talent for developing and inspiring teams.

By ensuring your brand is rooted in your authentic self, you’ll project a consistent, credible image – one that attracts the right opportunities and enables you to make your desired impact.

Understand Your Target Audience

To effectively reach the right people with your personal brand, you need to get clear on your target audience:

  •   Who are the key decision makers and influencers in your industry or target companies?

  •   Whose attention do you need to capture to open up exciting opportunities?

  •   What do they care about? What challenges are they facing?

Once you’ve identified your target audience, tailor your brand messaging and style to resonate with them:

  •   Highlight the aspects of your unique value proposition that speak directly to their needs and priorities

  •   Adapt your communication style to match their preferences (e.g. high-level vs. in the weeds, bold vs. understated)

• Show up and engage in the spaces where they spend time, whether online or in-person

For example, if you’re targeting startup founders, your brand should emphasize your ability to thrive in a fast-paced, ambiguous environment and drive results with limited resources. You’ll want to have a strong presence on platforms like Twitter or Hacker News.

If you’re aiming for an executive role at an enterprise company, your brand should exude steady leadership, strategic thinking and a talent for navigating complexity. Publish thought leadership on LinkedIn and show up at high-profile industry events.

By understanding your audience and tailoring your brand to resonate with them, you’ll be able to get on their radar, earn their trust and inspire them to think of you when game-changing opportunities arise.

Seek Feedback to Refine Your Brand

To ensure your personal brand is hitting the mark, regularly seek out candid feedback from a trusted group of advisors, including:

Mentors who can offer sage guidance based on their experience and industry knowledge

Sponsors who are invested in your success and can provide insight into how you’re perceived by key decision makers

Direct reports who can give you valuable input on your leadership and communication style

Screenshot at .. AM

Ask them questions like:

  •   What do you see as my greatest strengths and unique value?

  •   What words would you use to describe me and my leadership style?

  •   How am I perceived by others in the organization?

  •   What could I do to enhance my brand and increase my impact?

Listen carefully to their feedback and reflect on what you hear:

  •   Does their perception of you match your desired brand?

  •   Are there any disconnects or areas where you need to course correct?

  •   What insights can you glean to further refine your brand?

Use their valuable input to identify opportunities to adjust your approach and amplify your brand. Treat it as an iterative process – the goal is progress, not perfection.

By proactively seeking feedback and adapting accordingly, you can ensure your brand continues to resonate with your target audience and opens doors to exciting career growth.

  •   Consistently deliver on your brand promise. Your brand is a commitment to delivering a certain experience and results. Build trust and credibility by consistently showing up in alignment with your brand.

  •   Maintain a consistent presence. Ensure your online and offline presence, from your LinkedIn profile to your leadership style, consistently reflect your brand. Authenticity and alignment are key.

By being intentional and proactive in crafting your personal brand, you can shape how you are perceived and open doors to exciting career opportunities – even when you’re not in the room.

Corliss Collier ELEVATE quote tie your passion to your unique value proposition drive strategy

Amazon Executive Offers Critical Career Advice to Women in Tech

In her closing remarks, Collier offered some powerful advice for women in tech looking to accelerate their careers:

“Don’t wait for permission or perfect timing to take control of your career narrative. Start being intentional about your personal brand today. Reflect on your unique value, gather feedback from trusted advisors, and put yourself out there. Your brand is your reputation – craft it wisely and nurture it continuously.”

She also emphasized the importance of building a strong network of sponsors and allies who will advocate for you behind closed doors:

“Surround yourself with people who believe in your potential and are invested in your success. Cultivate genuine relationships built on trust and reciprocity. When opportunities arise, you want to have champions in the room who will vouch for your abilities and fight for you to have a seat at the table.”

By being proactive in shaping your personal brand and building a supportive network, you can open doors to exciting opportunities and make a lasting impact – in tech and beyond.

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