We all follow very different paths in our career but the choices we have made make up what others perceive as your career brand. Career branding can be as intricate and as unique as our very own fingerprints. Let’s stop to think about your career to date. Think about your resume and each job you have had along the way. You have found yourself here, reading this post today through your very own special and individual way. So let me ask you, what does your career say about your brand so far?
There are no two career brands which are identical. Like me, you may have chosen the corporate route only to find passion in creating your own service or product down the track. Or, you may be happy in your 9-5 job but you’re looking for a little side hustle to keep things interesting. Or, you may be just like Vera Wang who chose to change careers at 40. Let’s get one thing straight. Careers are meant to be messy. Gone are the days where structured career paths are required to be successful. The more undone the better 😉
Because no two career brands are identical it’s important to stress that whist we may have idols and inspirations we can’t create a carbon copy career map to be just like them or as successful. We all have our own unique path to follow.
Your career brand is made up of these 3 factors:
If I asked you this, ‘what are your 3 core values?’ could you answer it?
Your values are the lifeblood that make up your happiness. Exploring your values will lead you to identify what makes you tick and what drives your passion. Ultimately, they’re the key essential things that make you feel fulfilled and happy.
Values link to the way you make decisions in life. From a career perspective it’ll help you think critically about the jobs you accept; that next promotion you may or may not take, and overall the career you want to carve out for yourself.
If you don’t know what your values are, never fear! I’ve put together a super easy and quick worksheet to help you work it out. Download the Values Worksheet right here. This should take less than 5 minutes and it’ll change your life. It’s designed to help you have a much clearer perspective on how you tick and why you make the decisions that you do.
When I was in my early 20’s I made a drastic decision to switch careers from Accountant to Recruiter. I took no less than a $55k pay cut. It hurt a lot financially and it meant I had to sacrifice on things that I got used to such as a fancy wardrobe, weekly Friday night cocktails and yearly exotic holidays. Overall though, I adjusted quite well. Perhaps it was because I didn’t feel the need to fill the emptiness I felt with a passion-less work life and found I was more motivated finally doing something I loved! And when you have that amount of passion and positivity on your side, the financial gain follows. I made back the loss of salary in less than 15 months and today I base my business around my passion for Career Branding and Recruitment! I’m so glad I stuck with my gut. My 20’s were full of messy decisions but looking back, this was one of my smartest moves.
Now wouldn’t we all love to pick a career and just go do it. Well, perhaps you can and you’re naturally gifted in a particular field, but in most cases you need to check in with your skill set. What kind of talents have you acquired along the way and what additional learning do you need to do to follow your passion? If you can do this early it’ll help you achieve your dream career a lot quicker. In my example I went back to university to study for a Masters in HR and applied my learning along the way whilst I worked full time as a junior recruiter. If you’re unsure where your gaps are, look at job ads that you aspire to apply to or speak to relevant people who inspire you to point you in the right direction. Remember, not everyone needs to go through formal study to skill up – webinars, mentoring, courses will all contribute to a more well rounded you!
What if you don’t like your career brand?
Well, let’s take control of it! It all starts with asking others what they think of you. Remember, it is not what you think of yourself, that’s your self-image. You want to know how others perceive your career brand. And when you get the answer, ensure you have an open mind. You may not like what you hear, you may be pleasantly surprised. Whatever the case, it’s an awesome opportunity to own it and use it as a way to leverage your so- called weaknesses into inspiring others around you.
Some points to remember about your career brand.
- Get to know it and understand it – all those experiences you have over time will influence you and change you so check in with people you trust to assess your career brand.
- Be open minded to feedback – you may not always be happy with what you hear. Try not to take it to heart. Ensure you include to ask people you respect and trust who will give you honest and constructive feedback.
- If you’re not happy with it you can change it – if you want to shape your career brand, have a plan with measurable goals and timeframes so you can track your progress and hold yourself accountable. It could be that you will do some learning and development, or try something totally out of your comfort zone such as public speaking, anything that you feel will improve your brand in the long run.
Ruby Lee founded the career centric community, thecareersemporium.com for ambitiously minded individuals who are on a quest to find passion and purpose in their career. Ruby finds her zen time through spending time with her son, cuddling up on the couch with her hubby and eating one too many almond croissants.