Are you a resolution list maker? Good. It’s time to take a step back and evaluate the year that has gone by. With all the changes and uncertainties this year has brought, it is safe to say we are all shaken to the core and maybe more eager than ever to think about the new beginnings.
You might have started a year with a set of goals you wanted to achieve by the year’s end, but with the volatile circumstances of 2020, you may have found yourself changing directions, either out of necessity or of your own volition. Either way, the end of the year represents a great opportunity to look back and sum up your experiences and skills and see how the recent changes might have changed your outlook on your personal brand.
Personal branding boils down to the set of skills, experiences, and personality that differentiate you from the competition. While a personal brand can develop organically, it’s essential to cultivate it to yield positive outcomes for both your career and personal life.
You are evolving and so is your brand
Whether we are aware of it or not, each year we acquire new experiences and skills big and small. Our personality is also molded by the events that take place in our lives, as well as the knowledge, training, and situations we encounter. As we grow, so does our brand.
With this year’s experiences in mind—both good and bad—ask yourself these questions to help you determine just how much you’ve grown over the past 12 months:
- How would you describe yourself in five years?
- Why do you do what you do?
- What are your strongest suits?
How would you have answered these same questions at the beginning of this year, and what has changed? Then ask your friends and colleagues to evaluate your personal brand as well:
- How would others describe you?
- What do they perceive are your strongest suits?
- Would they ask you to contribute to or lead their projects?
Think of all the experiences you’ve had this year, including courses you’ve taken and mentoring relationships, and decide which ones best represent the direction you want your career to take. Then consider your failures and meltdowns, as these are the moments we should learn the most from.
Careers are shifting
If you are looking for a job or planning to relocate to another department, think about the set of skills, acquired knowledge, and experiences that would put you ahead of your competition. Now is the time to be brutally honest with yourself and take stock of what you have to offer.
Ask yourself what steps you need to take in order to develop a personal brand that would resonate with the position you need to acquire:
- How does your current personal brand fit the current career path?
- What are the skills you need to acquire for a new position?
- Why are you looking to transition into this particular career path?
Once you answer these questions, update your resume and revise the content on your website and LinkedIn profile according to your new goals. Though each should look slightly different in content, tone, and style, the main thing that should be present across all is your purpose, your belief, and your drive.
Know your why
Without knowing your why, the personal brand you are trying to cultivate will remain incomplete. It is always obvious what you do, what job you hold, what goals you have, and so forth. But others are less acquainted with why you strive for certain goals.
Think of the why as the epicenter of who you are and why you do what you do. Take time to draft a statement about what drives you and your purpose and belief to move forward and achieve these things. Not only will knowing this set you apart from the others it will also give you a better understanding and insight into achieving your goals.
Your future self will thank you.
Natasa Djukanovic is the CMO of Domain.ME, the international tech company that operates the internet domain “.ME.”