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Build Your Personal Brand by Working for Free

Build Your Personal Brand by Working for Free

Build Your Personal Brand

    After reading that headline, you may think I’m insane or tell yourself that working for free is out of the question. 

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      There have been millions of layoffs since the end of 2007 up until now and for college graduates, the competition might make you comatose.  The NACE reports that 41% of students haven’t even started the job search and 27% of graduates are going to graduate school because of the bad economy.  Of course, going to graduate school is going to put you in more debt and you’re betting on the economy coming back in two years.  If you’re trying to get a job right now, you’ll notice that many employers are cutting down salaries of current employees and offers to new hires.  Although, your education is a factor in you getting a job, what’s more important is your work experience.  Just like content is king on the internet, your experience is king when it comes to getting a job. Today, I’m going to explain why you might need to work for free for at least part of your time each week.

      When interviewing, experience trumps income

        Have you ever noticed how resumes don’t have salaries next to each job you’ve had?  You’ll ies ever find a resume that lists salaries or internship compensation.  Salaries are negotiated if there’s a job offer that doesn’t meet the applicants standards.  Corporate salaries are based on job title and you can salaries at various companies by doing to Glassdoor.com.  Since, salaries aren’t listed on resumes, your experience becomes the most important element in getting a job, aside from how you present yourself online and in an interview.  I took two non-paid internships while in college to gain more experience, thus building my personal brand to become a stronger applicant.

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        When I applied for jobs, the experience I gained at those companies really made a difference and it was well worth the compensation sacrifice.  Since it’s hard to get a job right now, start focusing on building your credentials, enhancing your resume and acquiring skills that can help you in future job searches.  It will pay off and you’ll forget that you had to sacrifice compensation.

        Work for free so you remain active

          The worst thing you can do right now is sulk on your couch, with some potato chips, and a coke.  Well, there could be worse, but the point is that you need to stay active at all times.  Recruiters don’t want to talk to people that have been out of the job market for a while, without remaining relevant to their industry or at least trying to acquire some experience. You never want to get into a situation, where you’re in an interview and you’re asked “so what have you been doing recently, I noticed that your last job ended six months ago,” and then not have a good answer.

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          Find people in your network that can help you stay active, by working for them for free if they can’t pay you.  Also, you can do community service or start your own company to at least make it seem like you haven’t given up and that you are aggressive and actually care about your career.

          Work for free while having a side job

            If you work for free to gain experience, you’ll still need a side job to make money.  Work for a company for free part-time to gain experience and also work for another company to get paid.  If you want to get money, and things are getting tough, then it’s not a bad decision to do retail or work at a restaurant to pay the bills.

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            If you do that, and you invest time in building your personal brand online, gaining experience by working for free part-time and job searching constantly, you should be in a good position to get a job when it becomes available.  A lot of college students are making these hard decisions right now because they realize that they don’t have a choice.  If you want to stay ontop during tough times, you’ll have to make tough decisions, but you’ll want to make them before everyone else does for yo.

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            Dan Schawbel

            Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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            Last Updated on May 20, 2020

            What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

            What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

            Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

            These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

            What Are Analytical Skills?

            According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

            “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

            Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

            Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

            Visualization

            Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

            Critical Thinking

            Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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            As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

            Computing

            Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

            In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

            Problem-Solving

            Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

            Resource Management

            Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

            For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

            Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

            For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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            The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

            Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

            There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

            For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

            If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

            What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

            Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

            6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

            There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

            Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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            But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

            Below are a few strategies to get you started:

            1. Ideate Business Ideas

            Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

            You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

            2. Leverage Analytical Tools

            Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

            3. Have a Personal Learning Library

            Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

            Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

            For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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            4. Participate in Online Communities

            The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

            For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

            5. Seek Mental Stimulation

            To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

            6. Keep a Personal Journal

            Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

            Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

            Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

            Bottom Line

            As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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            Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
            [2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
            [3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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