The new year is right around the corner. It may be time to refresh your personal brand.
For many of us, this is a time to reflect back, while planning forward.
It’s the perfect time to take stock of your personal brand . . . while you’re working on those New Year’s resolutions you’re determined to keep this time around.
For career health and fulfillment it’s wise to revisit your personal brand each year, whether or not an executive job search is looming in front of you.
Why you need to refresh your personal brand
If the value you offer has changed or grown significantly, you probably need to refresh your brand.
You may be planning to dive into a job search in earnest in the new year. Or maybe you’re already in the thick of it.
But even if job search is not on the horizon, you never know when your job may be pulled out from under you.
And you never know when a new job opportunity (internally or externally) may come your way.
You may suddenly need to impress someone, like a recruiter or hiring decision maker, who asks for up-to-date information about you.
And there you’ll be, scrambling at the last minute to pull together your resume, LinkedIn profile and other materials.
You may know what it’s like to tackle a task as important as that with a time-crunch hanging over you. That’s an awful lot of last minute pressure.
Have you revisited your personal brand lately?
When was the last time you took stock of the career accomplishments that have impacted your brand reputation?
Have you been keeping track of what you did for your employer(s) over the past year (or years) that most benefitted them?
Optimally, it’s best to record your career progression and achievements as they happen, while the compelling details are still fresh in your mind and easy to flesh out.
But, if you’re like most people, you never get around to it. Time gets away from you.
You need to always be at-the-ready, knowing your brand and unique value to the kinds of employers you want to work for.
No job is permanent these days. Unfortunately, a pink slip can come along at any time, and there you are, in a job search, terribly unprepared.
There’s no time like the present to get cracking on preparing yourself, just in case.
Whether you’re focusing on a move within your current company or looking elsewhere, remember this: the employers you’re targeting, and how you will be able to help them, will impact your new brand messaging and content.
With your brand refresh, your resume, LinkedIn profile and all your other personal marketing communications will probably have to be adjusted.
How to Refresh Your Personal Brand
Questions to help you determine whether you need a brand refresh:
- Did my brand reputation change over the past year?
- Am I targeting a different kind of employer now?
- Have I become the “go to” person for new areas of expertise?
- What value do I now offer in the marketplace?
- What ROI (Return on Investment) do I offer that my job-seeking competitors may not?
- Which driving strengths and personality traits of mine are now particularly important?
The first steps with any career branding work is identifying which employers (or which kind of employers) you will target, and then research each one.
You need to determine which current pressing needs of theirs you’re uniquely qualified to help them meet. Then you need to do the digging-deep personal branding work.
My worksheets will help you with targeting, research and personal branding.
An essential exercise in both the brand-refresh process and job search strategy is cataloging your recent career accomplishments and contributions.
Everyone should make note of this information, whether or not a career transition is in their near future.
Some find it helpful to create a “kitchen sink” resume, that houses everything about your career, from the beginning.
You’ll add to it with new accomplishments, career milestones, advancements, etc., and draw from the information, as needed. Having a complete career history like this also helps boost your confidence in the value you offer.
What did you do for your employer this year?
Make a list of the things you did for your employer(s) that most benefited them
The things that positively impacted their bottom line – saving money, increasing profits and market share, improving processes and/or productivity, expanding service offerings, improving communications, turning around failing processes/operations, etc.
How do those contributions translate to the value you now offer your current or next employer?
If you weren’t keeping track over the past year, get to work on your list now, while these accomplishments are still fairly fresh in your mind.
The kinds of contributions to employers that will be important
Some of these come from a LinkedIn post by resume writer Adrienne Tom:
- Improving communications across your team(s) and company-wide
- Reducing inefficiencies
- Stretching limited resources
- Introducing new processes, procedures and best practices
- Taking complex information and summarizing it in a way that made decision-making easier
- Saving the company money or time
- Meeting or exceeding a company goal
- Taking a stressful solution and making it less so
- Instituting pandemic-related programs or practices that helped the company
- Overcoming challenges you and the company faced. What were the results that benefited the company?
- Suggesting initiatives to make the company “greener”
- Negotiating a lucrative new contract
- Sourcing a cost-saving new vendor
- Introducing new processes, procedures and best practices
- Leading or being part of the recruiting and hiring process
- Being a mentor and helping others progress in their careers
- Connecting with new people who brought in business for your employer
Personal achievements that matter
- Recent work or career achievements you are most proud of
- Personal achievements that were most significant to your employer(s)
- Getting a promotion
- Reaching a career milestone
- Earning certifications or awards
- Joining new professional associations and/or contributing to existing ones
- Publishing relevant articles, white papers, blog posts
- Volunteering in your community
- Completing special training or gaining any relevant new skills
- Taking advantage of professional development – seminars, webinars, attending conferences
What should you do with all this new personal brand information?
Keep these materials at-the-ready in case you’re suddenly laid off and find yourself job hunting, or a juicy new opportunity comes your way . . . either internally or externally.
Yes, this is a lot of work to do. But you’ll be thankful you’ve done it, especially if you have to suddenly swing into action and find a new job.
Another major benefit to you. Reminding yourself of your valuable contributions and personal achievements is a HUGE ego boost. Something we all need from time to time.
Likewise, reminding your current employer of the value you offer them can lead to a better performance review . . . or a salary raise . . . or a promotion.