January is the perfect time to reflect, take stock, evaluate, and record what you did for your brand last year, before you forget the details.
If you’re job-hunting or planning to be, your most recent brand-reinforcing achievements and contributions can give your personal marketing communications the kind of punch that will make you irresistible to recruiters and hiring decision makers.
Reflect on how well you stayed the course with your career and personal goals for last year. Do last year’s goals align with this year’s or will you need to map out a new plan to meet your 2010 goals and propel yourself forward?
Here are some questions and exercises to prompt your evaluation:
♦ What were you most proud of accomplishing — 3 or 4 things you did that brought the most value to you and your employer?
Transform these high points into “career success stories” using the C-A-Rs method that you can then use in job interviewing. See my post, How to Leverage C-A-R Storytelling for Executive Branding and Job Search.
♦ What was one defining moment for you?
Maybe you accomplished the impossible, against all odds. Maybe it was a learning touchpoint or meeting someone who significantly impacted your career. Maybe it was something that happened in your personal life to make you reconsider whether your job is bringing you the career fulfillment you need and deserve.
♦ Who did you mentor and how did your guidance impact that person, your team, your department, and your company?
♦ What new skills and competencies did you master?
♦ If blogging and other social media involvement were in your 2009 plan, what inroads did you make?
See my post, Executive Job Search and Blogging: Perfect Together.
♦ Did you earn any new degrees or credentials, or take relevant training?
♦ How did you expand your network?
Did you join any new relevant professional organizations? Did you fully leverage social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and others? Who should you work on connecting with this year?
♦ How well did you stick to your personal brand communications plan?
Did you regularly monitor and expand your online presence? Did you practice the 3 Cs of branding throughout the year?
♦ How well did you keep your work and personal life equation in balance?
Did you take time regularly to de-stress and simply enjoy yourself? Did you find clarity and focus?
♦ And finally, where do you feel you fell short last year?
No one likes to dissect shortcomings, but we all benefit from SWOT analyses. Did you fall prey to the same weaknesses that have held you back in the past? Can you work on those weak areas for the future?
The affirming exercises above will give you a tremendous boost because they remind you of all your valuable contributions. They’ll help you identify what differentiates you from your competition and define your unique promise of value to your next employer.
And your assessment becomes the framework for updating all your personal marketing communications — executive resume, career biography, leadership initiatives brief, and LinkedIn and other online profiles.