Brand You!

Find out how to stay on top of your game and promote your personal brand during virtual networking events.

When you hear the term “elevator pitch,” what comes to mind? For many, you may have first heard that phrase while researching for an interview or maybe you attended a job search session to pick up some tips to add to your repertoire. Take an inventory of your skills and qualifications, craft your pitch and familiarize yourself with it so well, that you can effortlessly and confidently summarize your skills, qualifications and what you or your business has to offer, the next time you want to make an indelible first impression. This pitch can be used in various settings, with one of the most popular settings being at networking events.

However, with the physical and social distancing restrictions in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to present your skills in person to potential employers or business prospects is practically impossible. You, however still have amazing skills and should still be working on your brand. Whether you are unemployed or considering a career transition, networking will still be a key component of advancing your brand.

With the shift to online sessions for work, school and basically anything else that can be attained in the virtual realm, the adjustment has been easy for some, while challenging for individuals who have natural inhibitions when it comes to socializing in person or online. For the social butterflies, the ability to work the room is removed while sharing the spotlight with the those in the multiple equally sized square windows on the computer screen. This has somewhat levelled the playing field for those who may not have been comfortable networking in person. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it is important that you stand out for all the right reasons.

To prepare for your virtual session, take advantage of the many features that your smartphone has to offer. Record yourself practising questions and responses and pay close attention to your tone, eye contact and other mannerisms. If you have an upcoming interview, recruit the services of a trusted relative, friend or even a professional interview coach who will conduct a mock interview session and provide valuable feedback.

Make that first impression a lasting one!

Career Transitions

This is the first in a series of interviews with individuals who have had to make adjustments as their careers evolved. The trajectory one’s career follows can shift at any time, no matter how well you planned out your future or how dedicated you are to a particular field or organization.

Downsizing, relocation and family changes are among a myriad of reasons why individuals choose to or have to make career transitions. The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt caused many to seriously consider transitioning their skills to other careers as a result of job losses and facing the stark reality of some jobs and industries becoming obsolete.

Meet Anastassia Thomas, who knows a thing or two about adapting, having successfully transitioned into her current role as an Office Manager at a medical practice.

LIANT: What are some of the positions and industries you have worked in?
I worked in retail for approximately one year. Prior to working in the retail industry, I worked as a Receptionist and Accounts Receivable/Payable Clerk. However, after being at home for two years it was very difficult getting a position in that field and the retail field was just an easy option to re-enter the workforce.

LIANT: What skills from your previous jobs are you using in your current job?
Mostly, soft skills which are easily transferable and vital for roles that have customer service components.

LIANT: Was it difficult to make the transition and how did you prepare?
It was a bit difficult, but in preparation I went back to school and completed a medical administration course.

LIANT: What advice do you have for anyone thinking about a career change?
Research the field that you would like to transition into such as job prospects and salary.  Make sure it’s something you will enjoy doing.

In the current climate and with so many retail jobs lost and many job functions moving online, a large number of people previously employed in retail and other client facing roles in industries such as food service will need to transfer their skills. Job seekers will have to conduct an inventory of their skills, choose suitable careers to pursue and also research retraining opportunities that will aid in the transition.

Reinventing During a Crisis

2020 has brought about so many changes in every aspect of our lives. What happened to the resolutions that you had made for this year?

Many had aspirations to leap into the next stage of life, whether personally or professionally. Chances are, the plans that you made were either placed on hold or abandoned altogether. Life is about changes and as this year has shown us, detours can happen at any time.

The economy has been drastically altered and while many employees have been able to continue working, there are countless who did not have the same outcome, in part due to the nature of their jobs or as is the case for some businesses – not being able to survive under the new restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Necessity breeds creativity and we have seen that displayed over and over throughout the course of the pandemic. “During March and April 2020 alone, virtual Covid-19-innovation competitions (aka hackathons) drew in tens of thousands of participants from 175 countries.” Dirk G. Schroeder, an Associate Professor of Social Entrepreneurship and Global Health at Emory University.

The rise in entrepreneurship is evident everywhere you look, with multiple businesses popping up to fulfill the demand for goods or services. While there has been a marked increase in e-commerce, other industries such as delivery and personal protective supply companies are thriving. This is not surprising, as very early in the pandemic, many experts were predicting that the coronavirus would be the driving force for new innovation, as evidenced throughout history.

“Black swan events, such as economic recessions and pandemics, change the trajectory of governments, economies and businesses — altering the course of history,” Hamza Mudassir, Managing Director and Co-Founder at, in this Entrepreneur article.

Now more than ever, the need to be agile is crucial. Anticipating the next move is vital to survival and being ready to seize the next opportunity will be greatly enhanced via continuous learning. How do you prepare for your next reinvention? Identifying and honing skills will tremendously boost self confidence as you navigate through the changes.

Think outside the box. If you have a perennially in demand skill such as accounting, instead of only marketing those services at tax time, consider leveraging that expertise at other times by freelancing with small businesses who may not have the resources to hire full time accountants.

It has been quite the leap year but you need to get back on track. Attend webinars, research trends, listen to inspiring podcasts and take advantage of free training courses, as you continue to evolve.