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The following excerpt is from Kanika Tolver’s book Career Rehab. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code CAREER2021 through 4/17/21.
One of the most important phases of your career rehab journey is creating your Rehab YOU career blueprint. Become the architect of your career by considering your desired career path, location, salary, scope, organization type, benefits and perks and mentors. You’ll start to feel more confident in your career renovations as you craft your vision of your dream career. Here’s how to get started:
Related: Building a Meaningful Career
1. Be a brand, not an employee
Most employees don’t see themselves as brands because they don’t feel empowered by their company’s leadership or don’t like what they do every day. As you rehab your career, you’ll identify your strengths, subject-matter expertise and professional experience and use those to create your brand.
2. Build your brand by “dating” jobs
As a professional career coach, I always advise my clients that it’s healthy to “date” jobs until you find the one you love. In other words, don’t be afraid to try a job for a limited time and then move on; it’s OK to find a new job every 12 to 24 months. The more professional experience you have, the more you learn and the more you can earn. Not only do you build your personal brand as you date jobs, but you’re constantly building your professional network as well. My motto is: Date jobs and marry the dream. Until you find your dream job, define your purpose and execute your passions, you should date jobs before settling down.
3. Market yourself like an ad
As you date jobs and develop your personal brand, learn how to market your new experience and skills using social media. Some of the best authors, speakers, actors and athletes use the internet to market their personal brands. Use your resume and LinkedIn profile to socialize your brand and connect with other professionals in online groups and forums.
4. Be you, sell you
As you market yourself and test what works, be ready to launch your personal brand by focusing on authenticity. You’ll soon be selling yourself to industry leaders, recruiters and hiring managers, so the real question is: What are you selling to them besides your resume? Where is the real you?
You can launch your brand by selling yourself through presentations, blogs, websites, white papers and courses that will enhance people’s perception of your professional experience and you’ll become more comfortable selling your authentic self by going to job interviews, speaking at conferences, attending meetups and participating in networking events.
5. Network like a hustler
Networking is a critical asset to rebuilding your personal brand. While professional networking isn’t easy for everyone, no matter what your personality type, you need to expand your network to take advantage of all the career benefits of professional networking.
Professional networking expands your industry knowledge as you learn from others and it opens doors to new career opportunities. Besides networking in person, you can network online using social media, virtual events and online learning platforms.
6. Get paid now: Money, power and respect
No one wants to go through the process of designing, building, testing and launching their revamped personal brand without getting the pay, power and respect they deserve along with their new role. You need to learn how to negotiate your salary, benefits and incentives using the professional experience and education you already have. That sounds easy, but most professionals don’t take the time to research the correct salary range for their city and state, leaving them at a disadvantage when negotiating. It’s time to take back your power.
7. Don’t overcommit to work
The career rehab journey is all about letting go of what doesn’t work for you and deciding how your career should be renovated, developed and managed. Your career should always be centered around work-life balance. It’s important to eat right, exercise, spend time with your family and take vacations. Put your physical, mental and spiritual well-being first while still having an awesome career.
8. Commutes worth the coins
According to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data, the average one-way commute in the U.S. is 26.1 minutes. That adds up to 4.35 hours a week and more than 200 hours (nearly nine days) per year for full-time employees. In my experience as a career coach, professionals who have a long commute tend not to have great work-life balance and aren’t as excited about their jobs as someone with a commute under 30 minutes. You need to find a job that gives you more career opportunities close to home and provides telecommuting options throughout the week.
9. Stay focused on you
Career rehab takes a lot of work. But the most difficult part is maintaining a healthy career lifestyle and a solid personal brand as you do it. It can be hard to sustain a good work-life balance, a healthy lifestyle and a good working relationship with the jobs you date. We have to care for ourselves, our families and our careers without falling into patterns of neglect that can tear away at the “good bones” of our careers. Career rehab isn’t a one-time renovation but a lifestyle, but you can learn to maintain your personal brand as you deal with the ups and downs of life.
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