by Kristin Battista-Frazee, MSW
With a new year almost upon us, now is the time people start thinking about the future. It’s exciting (and stressful) to consider a career change, going back to school, or relocating to a new place. Whatever your resolutions, is your brand ready to take you where you want to go in 2016? If you’re not sure, here are a few steps to re-evaluate and revamp your personal brand.
Evaluate your current goals. One of the crucial steps in creating or re-creating your brand is deciding on your goals. If you want that promotion, a new job, or to be considered to lead a big project, you need to highlight and promote your skills to show you are perfect for whatever role you seek. If you see gaps in your experience, write articles, present, or volunteer, to give you extra juice for your brand.
Fight for something. For social workers, it’s all about personal passion and making an impact on the world. There is no shortage of things we need to fight for in the coming year. Although social workers advocate every day for their clients, consider getting involved in a cause at a deeper level in addition to your job duties. It could be organizing social workers and others to fight racism, getting out the vote for this year’s election, or participating in a community awareness walk. When an issue is close to your heart and you talk about this work through your brand by blogging, posting on social media, and going to events to meet like-minded colleagues, your authenticity will shine through.
Take an inventory of your web presence. First impressions are often formed online, so Google yourself to see what comes up in a search. If you are finding old pages from an article you wrote for your college newspaper (and you graduated several years ago), it’s time to consider a personal website, if you don’t have one already. This will help you better control what’s visible when someone searches your name online. There are great cost effective and free website options, such as Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, and branded me. Make sure you are listing your latest work experience, posting any of your presentations or writings from the past year to freshen up your Internet presence.
Connect to others. Go through that stack of business cards you collected at the last social work conference you attended to catch-up with people. Just say “Happy New Year” in an e-mail, connect on LinkedIn, and maybe ask to have coffee in the new year. If you are not on LinkedIn, sign up. It’s the most helpful business networking platform. If you are not on social media, this is a great place to start.
Volunteer and holiday cheer. You might be exhausted, but take advantage of the holiday parties this year. Office festivities, for example, will give you a chance to not only celebrate and have fun with your colleagues and supervisor but more deeply connect and share different personal interests. Also, volunteering for a cause you love gives you an opportunity to meet new people, put something great on your resume, and assess the needs of your community - so you can become more greatly involved in the new year.
Good luck in revamping your social work brand. I hope these tips jump start your efforts and help you reach all your goals in 2016.
- The Importance of Looking After Your Personal Brand this Christmas, New Year and Beyond..., Huffington Post, December 5, 2014
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- Mashable Guidebook, Mashable, Basic 101 Videos Providing Twitter Tutorials
- 3 Brilliant LinkedIn Summaries that Will Inspire You to Update Yours, Mashable, June 12, 2015
- Personal Branding Trends for 2016 - Part 1: Are You Ready To Capitalize On Them?, Forbes, December 13, 2015