I’m a list kinda’ gal.
Today, my focus is list building as a method of evaluating the effectiveness your personal brand.
By taking an inventory – making a list – of your available assets, you’ll soon see how to stitch those assets together into a cohesive brand message that communicates real value to a potential employer.
Why take inventory? Why create a checklist?
This handy list serves as a personal assessment of what you’re putting out there about yourself, how it’s being presented and interpreted, and how that information might be working (and not working) collectively to promote your unique value to potential employers, clients or peers. Without a checklist, you just may be sending the wrong message – at a time when you can ill afford a branding missed step: during your job search.
Let’s get started!
These are your career standards, the traditional components of your professional image that are not just part of your personal brand, but more so the vehicles you use to communicate, position and present it.
- Cover Letter
- LinkedIn Profile
- Portfolio or Website: Think about design and branding, and how that appeals to your core audience, and represents both you individually, and your work.
- Network of Contacts: What kind of people do you have your network? The goal is establish quality relationships with others in your industry that you can potentially leverage, and create visibility for yourself.
Education and Skills
- Specialized Skills: What are the core skills you bring to the table, your strengths, your areas of expertise? Why would those be of value to your target audience? What additional skills could you acquire that would add additional value?
- Education & Training: What kind of educational training do you bring to the table, whether it’s basic coursework, or a Masters degree?
- Advanced Professional Training: Have you attained any certifications or additional professional training?
- Additional Skill Sets & Talents: What other skills do you have outside of your education and training, perhaps that you acquired on the job, or taught yourself? How might these tie in with your career focus, or add some new perspective?
Social and Digital Media
- Social Media Profiles: Don’t let the personal undertone fool you – are you projecting a persona on social media that doesn’t reflect how you want to be represented on a professional level?
- Thought Leadership: Do you have a personal or professional blog that represents a particular area of importance or interest to you? How do you use this to engage and connect with others?
- Outside Interests & Ventures: Do you have a side business, an active website, or a creative pursuit that you dedicate time, energy and resources to outside of your traditional work responsibilities? What skills are involved, or has this area allowed you to develop, that might be worth noting?
- Freelance or Project Work: Work or non-work related, what projects are you involved in and what skill sets do they require? Even if they aren’t related to your career focus, what might these accomplishments say about things like your work ethic, your ability to interact with clients, your relationship building skills, your entrepreneurial flair?
- Organizational Involvement: Think about any additional volunteer or advocacy work, or causes you support, lead or are involved in. Why are they important to you?
- Appearance and Dress: Do you uphold a professional appearance on a daily basis, or only when you’re on the spot for an interview or networking event? If someone were to see you on the street, what kind of vibe would you be sending?
- Mannerisms & Non-Verbal Cues: How do you carry yourself when you walk into a room, address someone in conversation, or while listening to someone else speak? Are you well-composed and confident, or fidgety and nervous-seeming?
- Communication Skills: How clearly are you able to address someone and get your message across when asked about your work, your interests, or to introduce yourself to someone? Are you talking too fast, stumbling across your words, mumbling? Or are you speaking slowly, clearly and fluidly in an engaging manner that captures your audience’s attention?
- Language: Do you tend to transition back and forth between professional and casual, dropping derogatory or inappropriate language in conversation, or saying “Umm” and “Like” a lot? Does your language reflect the level of respect and credibility you’re trying to achieve?
Once you’ve taken inventory, take a look at the different components and make sure each thoroughly supports the overall message you’re trying to convey. The best way to gain clarity around this message? Ask yourself:
“What do I want prospective employers/clients/peers to know about me, as a candidate, professional, and person?”
When deciding if each item in your list is carrying its weight, don’t be over-generous. If necessary, ask a friend or mentor for objective assistance. Make corrections as necessary. If your competition has a blog, learn everything there is to know about blogging; if a skill is necessary for your success, master it; if your network is lacking, connect!
Above all else: make sure every asset in your personal branding checklist is closely aligned with the authentic version of you!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!