“I want to help more people in the corporate world build that leadership mindset”- Bettina Buhr

Personal Brand Consultant

What is your backstory?

I am a personal branding consultant for corporate professionals who want to increase their visibility and attract high-quality career opportunities and … I don’t have the typical corporate career.

I have a background in organizational psychology and communications, moved into employer branding, talent assessment, recruiting, and internal communications, and went to the U.S for an expat assignment as a communications expert.

And, I built my career as an athlete on the side. I focused on mountaineering first and went on my first expedition with a team of friends at age 22 to Kyrgyzstan. Our team did 4 new ascents and we climbed numerous other multi-pitch/multi-day routes. Afterwards, I changed my focus to rock-climbing because training was easier to combine with studying at university and I took my skills to a professional level within the next 3 years. I travelled the world while climbing and while having a corporate job. I had the most supporting bosses allowing me to create my own schedule around work, training and travel.

When I decided to no longer pursue climbing at that intensity, I went all in with my corporate career.

But, my career didn’t follow the usual path. So, I had two problems:

  1. I didn’t want to start at entry level jobs again.

  2. I had to sell my experience I gained while climbing to a potential employer.

Therefore, I had to get crystal clear on my experience, results and benefits for a future employer and I had to use the art of storytelling in my resume, cover letter and in job interviews to sell my strengths and experience to their benefit.

I applied to 5 jobs, got 4 interview invites, got 2 job offers and negotiated a significantly higher salary than initially proposed.

I started my new job as a process management expert with the target to improve internal processes where necessary, a job not even related to my expertise, but was hired based on the trust in my skills to not give-up and bite through and therefore be able to do change projects. Once the worldwide financial crisis in 2008 hit the economy I quickly changed into internal communication advising top management on how to communicate the impact of the crisis on associates and changes related to it.

On the job, I understood how independently I had lived my life setting my own targets for my personal development. I realized, if I would depend on the people around me to support me in my career development that I would not be where I wanted to be in the time frame I had in mind and I would probably not make the career experiences I wanted to make.

I had to come up with a strategy to own my career development and to position myself as the go-to expert. I built a vast international network within the company that I worked for, was able to find 3 mentors that truly supported me, without being in an official mentor program, I built professional partnerships and expert networks and managed to be involved in strategic projects to be seen by upper management.

With time, I was seen as the expert others wanted to learn from and work with and I took on consulting other communication experts. I got more and more into the role of coaching top management on their personal branding and communication even beyond the site I worked for.

Without doing anything I got 4 job offers with one of them being an expat assignment.

I chose the expat assignment in the U.S. because it was in line with my desire to live and work abroad to deep-dive in a different culture and because I wanted to bring my English to a new level.

With all the struggles that I had experienced as a woman wanting to build a rewarding career, I never hesitated to pass on anything that had worked for me and started mentoring numerous women inside and outside my own organization and continued to do so while I built my first business.

I helped women connect with their story and define their value to an organization. Based on that, they were able to create their career branding materials like resume, cover letter and interview strategy.

On the job, I helped them position themselves as the expert in their field, build natural authority and leadership skills, connect with mentors and expand their professional connection base to attract high-quality career opportunities and build a rewarding career themselves.

While I built my personal branding intuitively with a lot of trial and error involved, I now pass on my experience as a personal branding consultant and mentor for corporate professionals attract high-quality career opportunities and build a rewarding career and life right from the start.

I know this isn’t an easy job. What drives you?

I want to help more people in the corporate world build that leadership mindset you need to build a career that fits them and their personal road map of life. I also believe that the digital world provides so many opportunities for people to shape their career as they want it to be that it is inevitable for the corporate world to offer flexibility and individualized career development to associates.

More and more people are leaving the corporate world and the reasons always come down to flexibility and leadership. I feel the corporate world needs to catch up and do that soon. In order to speed up that change process they need associates that speak up and leaders that care for more than just numbers and build true connection. I also believe leadership branding will become a huge part in employer branding in the near future as people turn more and more away from brands and instead turn to authentic leaders that have a reputation of building connection and community.

Employer attraction and the decision of working for a certain employer will be based a lot more on what people know about its leaders and if potential employees are able to build a connection with those leaders and share in their vision before they enter into a contract. And this is where I come in to help leaders build that personal brand.

When it comes to women my main driver is to close the confidence gap. A professional career is part of life, it should be fun and an adventure to strive for and achievable alongside a family.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? What lesson did you learn from them?

I am deeply grateful for the experience of working closely with plant management over the course of 6 years in 2 different countries (Germany and U.S.) because of them sharing their perspective on business and their take on society. I am thankful for their openness and trust helping me understand business insides and the challenges that come with positions further up the ladder. I am grateful for their trust in me to help them lead with clarity, vision, and direction when needed and empathy, encouragement and connection the rest of the time.

I want to thank Lauren Gordon for being that 23-year old millennial that helps me understand a generation that thinks and acts in a completely different way than generations before. From her I learn what lifestyle design actually means and to connect that with the right action. What I learn from her about leadership mindset is so bold, caring, driven and inclusive in a way I and my clients can hugely benefit from.

How do you push through your worst times?

I try to get my exercising and walking levels up. Take a break from my business and meet friends.

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