Having a list of New Year’s Resolutions? Well, how about your professional goals? Have you thought about your career in 2017?
It is time for Your Career Brand Management.
This series of articles is designed to help you create, manage, and communicate a strong career brand for professional growth and career success.
Research shows people do not spend much time on planning their professional career. And they should, because the job market changed dramatically in the last decade. People change jobs more often than in the past and have to put more effort to manage their own employability. A degree is no longer a guarantee of the career success. Many professionals work in positions that have nothing or very little to do with their academic qualifications and the career pathways became non-linear. Job market is more competitive and less secure.
So how can you succeed in the race and achieve a competitive edge in the job market?
The term career management is often used to describe workforce development programs undertaken by corporations or organizations and aimed at managing the careers of their employees. For many individuals, participation in such a program can be very beneficial. Yet, many people either are not given such an opportunity, or simply relies on company navigating their career without much planning. Often people just take a tactical approach, jump into opportunities or take immediate actions for quick payoffs. A strategic approach is focused on long-term goals, and career planning decisions.
WHAT IS A CAREER BRAND?
Career Brand is a perception of someone’s work related capabilities and expertise by various audiences, most notably employers.
Career brand has two components:
– a functional component
– an emotional component
Functional component is your marketable skills. Those are generally divided into two categories:
– hard skills – Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. They might be specific to an industry, trade or a profession.
– soft skills – non cognitive skills or personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They are desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on an acquired knowledge.
An emotional component is your Image. Your image is a combination of 3 elements:
Your image is a critical part of your career brand and has to be consistent with your functional component, and has to support your professional goals. Most importantly, both personal skills and image can be successfully self-managed and self-marketed in a strategic way.
A strong brand is one that is based on a strong skill portfolio and is reinforced by a powerful personal image.
Skills alone, are not a guarantee of success, neither is your degree nor years of experience. You need to find a way to effectively market yourself. On the other hand, heavily promoted personal image, that is not rooted in real skills, may vanish quickly.
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR OWN EMPLOYABILITY?
To maintain your own employability, you need to focus on 3 areas:
– you need to assess your skills portfolio and develop those, which are necessary for career success
– you need to develop capabilities to acquire new skills on your own
– you need to market yourself effectively
SET YOUR CAREER GOALS
But before you start working on a critical skill set, you should be able to set yourself career goals.
This brings us to the first practical exercise I have for you. Sounds simple, but often turns to be quite a challenge. Since it is a beginning of the year, I would like you to answer this question:
What is your career goal? Who would you like to be in 3, 5, 10 years career wise?
Define: What position would like to be in? What company? What industry?
If you have a clear answer for this, second question is why?
Why would you like to become that person?
Answer: What impact you would make? How your life would change? What would you achieve?
Take your time to answer those 2 critical questions, because your goal and motivation should be a driving force behind everything you do. Think, if the career goals reflect your personality and your values? Think of the steps you would need to take to reach your professional goal? Think of what would stop you from achieving your goal?
Next week we will focus on skills portfolio and skills gap analysis. I will also explain the difference between skill based and competency based job ads, and show you how to read the job ads and create CV and motivational letter, that best address the requirements, but also is a best way to market yourself.