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5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

    Most people don’t take the time to discover their own personal brand. I believe the reason for this is because of the very many influences we have on our lives, from our parents, to our teachers to our managers and even our friends.  I have many friends who are instructed to become lawyers, doctors and accountants by their parent who is already in that field and wants to mold their child in their shape.

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    When you choose someone else’s career path, it can have a negative impact on your work and life.  Also, most people don’t take time out of their day to think about who they are and what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  Instead, they become so overwhelmed in the moment or are so focused on climbing a corporate ladder, that they aren’t true to themselves and, as a result, get lost.  Creating a personal brand is the easiest part of the personal branding process because social media tools are free and marketing documents are easy to make, even if you aren’t a technical expert or graphic designer.  People, as well as companies, don’t invest the time in figuring out the right branding strategy before they start using these tools, so they don’t obtain the desired output.
    In order to help you in your personal brand development, I’ve laid out five critical things you need to focus on before creating your personal brand.  They will help you with your brand positioning, as well as make you think about where you’re going (your destination), so you’ll be able to reach your goals and have the results that you desire.  I know it might seem like tedious work, but when you can communicate what you do to the right audience, you’ll be much more successful in the long-term.

    1.  Brainstorm a mission and a vision statement

      A mission and a vision statement are much different.  Your mission is what you do everyday, while your vision is your future.  To create a mission statement, you should think about what you do and why you do it.  Your mission should be simple and clear and only one sentence long.  It should touch upon your behaviors, traits and values.  For your vision statement, imagine yourself at least ten years in the future.  What will you be doing then and why?  What are you looking to give back to the world?  Both of these statements can be stored privately or publicly displayed on your website, just like a company would.

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      2.  Identify your personal brand statement

      Aside from your name and picture, your personal brand statement is the third most important asset you have on the web that helps identify you.  Your name is your online ID, while your picture is what people remember you by and experience and your personal brand statement is how you position yourself in the minds of others.  Your statement should tell everyone what you do and who you serve.  It forces you to take a niche, instead of trying to own a topic that is already full of competition.  In this way, people will get to know you and go to you for the services that you offer, instead of anyone else.

      3.  Give yourself a slogan

      Few people have their own slogan, but almost all companies swear by them.  Nike uses “just do it.”  Apple uses “think different.”  BMW uses “the ultimate driving machine.”  A slogan can get people excited about your personal brand in the same respect.  Think about how you want others to connect with you. Think of a catchy phrase to describe other peoples experience with you and then use it for your online logo or near your picture.  It can be funny or serious, but it needs to be effective and original to be remembered.

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      4.  Figure out your brand attributes

      Let’s say you’re in an interview and you get asked the question “how do you describe yourself?”  What would you say?  There are so many different words out there that you can use to describe yourself.  For instance, you can say you’re cunning, daring, intelligent, outgoing, stubborn, etc.  Other people may describe you in the same respect.  You really want what people say about you to equal how you describe yourself.  Think about your own brand attributes and write them down right now.

      5.  Discover your audience

      Finding your audience is really important because they are the people that will pay attention to your work and spread your ideas.  If you’re selling yourself to the wrong audience, they will dismiss you and it will be a waste of time.  You really need to figure out what companies or customers would be interested in what you have to offer because you can’t appeal to anyone.  Your audience should be a niche group of people and you should give them as much value as you can over time.

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      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

      Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

      Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

      Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

      Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

      How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

      The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

      You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

      Physical Signs

      Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

      It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

      In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

      Mental Signs

      One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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      I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

      Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

      • The tension in your neck
      • Difficulties with sleeping
      • Unable to concentrate
      • High anxiety
      • Depression

      If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

      Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

      Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

      The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

      Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

      Desire for an Increase of Salary

      The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

      At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

      Overnight Decision

      Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

      Rejected for a Promotion

      I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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      Bored at Work

      Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

      A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

      • How long have you worked in your career?
      • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
      • Do you receive recognition?
      • Can you consider working in a new department?

      If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

      How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

      I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

      One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

      It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

      A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

      You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

      • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
      • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
      • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

      How to Make a Career Change Successfully

      The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

      1. Write a Career Plan

      A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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      You can learn how to set your career plan here.

      2. Weigh Your Options

      If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

      You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

      3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

      It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

      A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

      • Economic factors
      • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
      • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
      • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
      • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

        A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

        4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

        A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

        • What is required to be successful in the role?
        • What certification or educational development is needed?
        • What are the challenges of the role?
        • Is there potential for career advancement?

        A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

        Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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        5. Research Salary

        Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

        It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

        6. Be Realistic

        If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

        For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

        Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

        7. Volunteer First

        A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

        Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

        Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

        8. Prepare Your Career Tools

        I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

        • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
        • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
        • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
        • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

        Bottom Line

        It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

        Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

        More About Career Change

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
        [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
        [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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