During the month of August, I’m answering your questions on making career transitions and discovering what your dream career is. Every Tuesday, I’m going to be on Facebook live to answer one of your questions.
Today we’re talking about how to create your personal brand for your career growth. Today’s question is from Iiris Murto:
A question about personal branding: the majority of the advice I’ve seen about branding is for your business and/or creative work. And that’s all wonderful! But I’ve found it really difficult to find the applicable points to something more “boring” and less flashy, such as my field (sports economics and analytics). How would you go about building a captivating and dynamic personal brand when your area of expertise is inherently just looking at numbers and your field is mostly male. As someone who loves baking and high heels AND a good set of data, I’m wondering: how to mix all these often conflicting aspects and demands into a coherent personal brand that will help me move forward in my career?
You have no idea how similar our career histories are. I spent 8 years at a consulting company doing a lot of data and analytic work, a lot of financial work, and a lot of project management. It was a very male-dominated field.
It was a great job and I was getting promotions and raises, but I knew it wasn’t my future or my vision. I knew I couldn’t spend 30 years doing the exact same thing.
Halfway through my eight years, I realized I needed to create my own personal brand for my next level.
I thought long and hard. Where will I be in 5 years, 10 years? Where do I want to be? What is my vision? What do I want to do next?
I was in no rush to do this because I had job security and a financial cushion, but I still wondered: what’s the next step? That’s major, so I would push you to start thinking about that.
When I started thinking about my vision, where I wanted to go and what I wanted my career to look like in 5 to 10 years, I realized I needed to do something for my own personal brand to meet that vision. I know I couldn’t get to my vision if I kept doing what I was doing and that’s what pushed me to create my brand.
Halfway through my career, I started a blog. I was putting out content based on where I wanted my career to go and what my vision was. A few years after that, I was able to use that personal brand I made on my blog to get new jobs. I added my personal brand to my resume. I created everything myself and got job offers and opportunities because I spent years building my brand.
That personal brand I built helped me get my next job, which was a Professor at DeVry University. I got offered a job as a professor for career development and leadership. I only got that job because I had created a personal brand (it was my dream job!).
Social media and branding are not just for entrepreneurs!
Here are 3 things you can do today to discover how you should brand yourself so you can move your career forward.
How To Create a Personal Brand That Moves Your Career Forward
1. Evaluate Your Vision
Where do you want to be in about 5 to 10 years? Where do you see yourself? What skills and experiences do you need to get there? Evaluate your network and do some informational interviews. Do you want to stay within your current company, or do you want to transfer to a different company? Do you want to be in a different industry? What does your brand need to be to get you there?
One of my favorite sayings is, “What got you here won’t get you there.” You’ve probably already experienced success in your career, but what got you here isn’t going to get you to that next level you envision. Personal branding all starts with your vision.
Even spending 15 minutes journaling and making your vision board will help you develop a personal brand.
2. Create Your Dream Resume
What do you want to have on your resume in 5 to 10 years? What experiences do you want? Create your dream resume. You can be anyone and get any job you want!
If you were applying for your dream job, what would you need for that? I would highly recommend creating that resume for yourself. I would also suggest making your dream job description.
You can get some ideas by looking at job descriptions online, but I want you to focus on what you want first. Usually, when we jump online to look at jobs, we focus on what’s in front of us rather than what we actually want. What is your dream job? Create your dream job description (seriously!).
3. Create Content
Create some sort of content online. In this age where technology is ever-prevalent, there are so many opportunities you can find to create content online. You can see through my story how many new opportunities and jobs I was able to get just by blogging.
Create original content that expresses your personal brand online and on social media. You could write a blog, post on LinkedIn, write statuses, or create your brand on Twitter. Pick one for now and use that one form of social media to be your platform that starts building your reputation and personal brand.
Put out content on what you know. When I started my blog, I started putting out content, answering questions like I am right now, and I started blogging about my company, the brand I was creating, and the experiences and skills I was learning. I was working on my MBA at the time, so I was blogging about what I was learning in the program and demonstrating my expertise. That’s how I got job offers.
People would land on my blog, google me, check out my website, and see that I knew my stuff. I was being compared to other applicants who didn’t have an online resume blog or portfolio and that made me the obvious pick because they could plainly see that I did have the knowledge they needed in a candidate.
Medium.com is a great place to start putting your information out there. There’s a lot of people reading and writing on there, so you can start building up your profile on there and really reach people.
Iiris: create an Instagram with the things you love to bake, your clothing (heels!), and communicating your knowledge and expertise on data and analytics. You want to combine a way for people to get to know you a little better, but also show you have experience and expertise.
If I were starting out now rather than 7 years ago, I would probably start out on Instagram and post every day with my content under my photos.
So, to summarize, really think about where you want to be and skills you need for that, create your dream resume and job description and start creating content online. You’ll be well on your way to creating your personal brand!
On September 5th we are holding a 4-part virtual workshop to determine what your dream career is. Don’t miss out! You can grab your free spot here: The Get Unstuck Workshop
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