For May our overall theme here at Career Circus is about how personal branding affects your career.
No doubt a lot of the content and other bits we create for you this month is focusing around the keywords in that: “Branding” & “Career”. However I want to share how I am currently in the middle of a huge life-changing event, and how I think it has affected and will affect both how I see me, and how others see me, which in some cases aren’t the same: We understand ourselves from all the information we choose to focus on, but we know everything. Others understand us from what we choose to tell them. This huge life-changer I am referring to is leaving university in the UK after a 3 year long degree; 2 part-time jobs, 2 society committee positions, 3 homes, several volunteering roles and getting to know many amazing people, because I’m graduating.
Several people keep referring to this business of studying and living abroad for about 3/4 of the year, and then spending 1/4 of the year at home in Norway, as a double life. The thing is that now I need to merge all the amazingness I have experienced the last three years with my life at home. This has lead me to make a lot of quick choices lately, and I am certain there are more to come, but I have learnt so much! One of these things is this business about external you versus internal you: I personally think that half the job of personal branding is making sure that you are feeling OK, that you have a clear plan, know what you want, and when you want it. The error I think many people do is to create a personal brand (externally) before considering who they actually want to be, and thereby what they should really put out there.
Lately I have decided that I want to go 100% into my next education for two years, but keep working for Career Circus for as long as that benefits both parties. This is all about my career plan and my future. One of these decisions incorporated that I am not trying to get my MA, I don’t have the head for academia, so I am doing something a bit different. This was a decision that people around me tried to talk me out of, because a Master is all the rage these days. I have also been making a lot of decisions about what things and what clothes I am taking back home with me, something that actually affects my appearance, which affects first impressions and thereby personal brand.
If you are in doubt of who you are now, who you have been in the past, or who you want to be in the future, remember the people that love you: Ask them who they see you as.
Another thing is how your personal brand can affect your job, but internal you can affect your work: If you are unhappy with any part of your life it will, even if you try to avoid it doing so, affect your work. If your personal brand is positive, that will affect your job positively because you are also a part of the business brand. In my case that means that the brand of my baby of a start-up at home can only be as good as I am.
As a social media communicator, I also see a lot of different approaches to how people attempt elevating their personal brand online. This is often a situation where you can benefit from considering what others see: What does that tweet to your best friend about how your Paradise Hotel-hero look to anyone not in your closest circle of friends? Whenever you are in doubt about the stuff you consider posting, don’t publish it. The internet remembers well, and even if you can stand by the statement until you are fifty, is it worth it if it ends up being someone’s first impression of you? I am trying to always stay true to me online, but I also consider how the things I throw out might come back like a boomerang, it becomes second nature to edit yourself after trying it out for a bit.
Figure out who you want to be first, then make sure the world understands it in the right way, no matter what type of first impression they get!
Marie Mathisen is the Digital Acrobat for Career Circus Ltd, she is also in her last year studying a BA in English Literature at the University of Essex, and blogging about what to do with her life after University.