Developing your personal brand

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Self-awareness is a wonderful thing, and we all know how we think we see ourselves. Perhaps we think we are confident, competent, decision-making leaders, with bags of energy and the ability to deal with any crisis life throws at us. Or maybe we’re mere mortals, not infallible, with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. But how do others see us – and do the two ‘images’ match up?

Clarity and consistency

Your personal brand is about clearly and consistently presenting who you are – your real strengths, true personality, character, attitudes and motivations – and the ability to articulate them concisely and with confidence. To create your personal brand, you need everyone to understand who you are, what you do, where you add value and why they might want to employ you.

A key factor of your brand is consistency. Every facet of your brand must add up – from your personality ‘in person’ in an interview or the workplace, with the contents of your CV, to your online presence, via social media, or a blog or website. There’s no point in presenting one viewpoint in your social media persona that completely contradicts your real views. Make sure too that your CV reinforces your beliefs and achievements, rather than disputing them. Remember, abilities, traits and qualities that should be highlighted in your profile should cover four key areas – Personal and Interpersonal skills, Organisational and Decision-making.

Being true to yourself

Your CV is a good place to start with creating your brand. Despite some companies using online application forms for job vacancies, a strong CV is just as important now as it always was. It allows you the time to think about your achievements and strengths, and quantify and present them in a coherent, striking way. They can also be easily adapted to form the basis of any kind of online application form, by tailoring the responses from your CV to fit each question.

It’s also useful to have various different edits of your profile. A short passage is always useful to have – the kind of 150–200-word paragraph you might be able to use at a networking session as an instant concise introduction. This should state clearly and simply ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’. It should be something that is true to yourself and that you feel comfortable delivering in person – a reflection of you in a few words.

Two sides, one face

Play to your strengths and as much as possible, your work persona should complement your real personality. There’s no point in putting an act on at work that is difficult to maintain. You’ll constantly be thinking you mustn’t let your guard down, which most of us can never do. The two sides of your life – your work and your personal life – may be quite separate (that is, unless you run your own business!).  Ensuring that you include as much of your own personality into your ‘brand’ will make it easier for people to relate to you – and your sincerity will be rewarded with reciprocal honesty and trust.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

Strength in depth – portfolio careers

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There’s a school of thought that a successful career involves securing a role in one sector at a time, with a steady career progression over a number of years. This linear approach is the most popular career path by far. Even if your role ends up being across different sectors, your job often remains the same. It offers a degree of security, but it also can narrow people’s vision in their career outlook. Nowadays, more and more people are embarking on careers that telescope various roles and clients together, so they are working in different roles across different sectors, from day to day.

Flexible and dexterous

So-called portfolio careers are something that are becoming more and more popular and are very appealing to some of our executive clients. You’ll carry out two, three or more roles, possibly across multiple sectors, but utilising your core skills as the vehicle to facilitate this. You have to be both flexible in how you allocate time and resources, and dexterous in your adaptability, thought process and approach. You never know what your working week will look like. You can have a roughed-out plan – of pre-arranged meetings for example – but around that framework you will need to be adaptable too.

What are the options?

The details of a portfolio career are something that you will need to spend time working out.  It may consist of different types of jobs including, for example, consultancy, non-executive directorships or project or interim management.  It may also involve unpaid, voluntary work.  Whatever the mix, it is important to take on work that is meaningful and rewarding to you as a career lifestyle choice.

Greater security?

Detractors point out that portfolio careers can be unstable and prone to disruption by outside factors – illness for example, or if you are working from home, daily life. However, a broad range of sectors often offers greater security too. If one sector – say, tourism or hospitality – is struggling, other sectors, e.g. construction, might be flourishing. The offset of one sector slowing down, is compensated by another bursting to life, with your workload ratio tweaked accordingly.

A range of skills

A good network of contacts is essential too, especially if your portfolio career is mostly you working solo. Networking is a great way to meet like-minded people and can be used to broaden your contacts in adjacent sectors. In this way, you might strengthen your portfolio, whilst also reaching out to companies you may be able to collaborate with. In this way, you can create a strong business offering – with for example freelance designers, accountants, writers – that is as formidable as any company.

Everyone’s different

The school of thought about portfolios was being popularised even before the pandemic. But since then, the changes that took place have made everyone think about how they work and run their businesses. The portfolio career is one that lends itself to working from home, where you can work for multiple clients using the same basic home office work set-up. The style of work is excellent for people who like to work in multiple sectors, are adaptable and like every day to be different. One day you might be working for a haulier, the next a computer retailer. The scope is limitless, as long as it fits your core skillset.

Making it work for you

You can also  be carrying out different roles for different companies, thereby widening you skillset and offering – you could be a marketer for various companies for two days per week, a researcher for another company for the other two days, and run a fitness and wellbeing course on the other weekday, or at weekends. This may allow you build up one area of your business – perhaps a private passion or hobby that would need time to strengthen and grow – while having the security of a regular income from established clients and stabilised sectors.

It’s well worth looking at portfolio careers and the possibilities they offer. If you have some ideas and think it could be for you, talk to one of our Career Consultants. We can offer guidance and advice on how to make this style of career work for you.

Hitting the transfer market – top tips for identifying transferable skills

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When we sit down and update our CVs, there’s always the opportunity to look at where our strengths and weaknesses lie. What are the areas we think are strong and promote our positive attributes, and where to we deem there could be room for improvement? While we’re looking at ways to strengthen our CV, it’s also worth exploring which areas could be highlighted and where our skills are not sector-specific. In this way, we can identify not only our strong points, but also our transferable skills and where they can take us. Here are some tips for identifying our skills that can be transferred across sectors.

Skills not sectors

One of the most important things to bear in mind with your CV or any job search is to focus on skills not sectors. Many of the skills learned from working in one industry can easily be transported over across multiple industries. Transferable skills allow you to widen your search for career advancement and diversification, in a myriad of different directions. Recognising these areas and identifying your skills allows you the flexibility to look outside the sector you are currently working in and apply for allied roles. It also allows you more choice, when searching job vacancies or discussing your options, so your perceived narrow choice is actually wider than you might initially think.

Transferable talent

If you have a proficiency for a specific area of business – to take some random examples, as a writer, an HR manager, or accountant – then these skills are readily transferable across a multitude of sectors. A skilled writer, for example, can work in a marketing role, or a journalistic one; they can create content for websites, or they can write books. They can in theory write about anything, so their core skill can be adapted into any industry. Accountants and statisticians too can also easily transfer across sectors – it’s the skill with figures that matters, not the issues being calculated. If you work in HR, then this is another role that can be transferred across sector boundaries. If you are able to manage human resources, you can use your skills to enhance efficiency, creativity and productivity, regardless of the business or industry involved.

Remember, most importantly, make your skills work for you to ensure the best outcome. A sideways switch to an allied sector may not always be obvious, so talking to someone like me or our Career Consultants at Career Evolution can help you identify areas for diversification and transfer. We can see where connecting lines can be established and where sectors and skills can be drawn together.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.


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Welcome to our new vlog from Career Evolution!

We will be sharing weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our third vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from June, including working with our new associate Jo Clare.

Watch the video below:

See our first vlog here and our second vlog here.

Peter McCarthy – Finding a passion for business

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Following a successful senior career spanning over 40 years in Human Resources within a wide variety of sectors and latterly in the Nuclear  industry, Peter McCarthy realised he wanted a change of direction. Following much individual thought and consultation with his own manager, Peter agreed an exit plan with his employer and left his full-time role at the start of 2022.

Opportunities aplenty

With many opportunities available to him and different potential directions to take, Peter recognised that he would benefit from working with an Outplacement Consultant. Over the years, he had worked with Career Evolution on numerous occasions, and he knew and trusted the business, so this time he reached out to Director Sue Thomas from his own personal standpoint, rather than a business one.

Peter explains: “It can be quite overwhelming when you find yourself in this kind of situation. You need to identify what it is you actually want to do next. Sue Thomas worked with me via Zoom and helped me get some clarity of thought – asking the dumb questions and really making me think. There wasn’t ‘one’ big aha moment, rather Sue helped me identify all the little things that ultimately showed me the direction I wanted to take next.”

The great resignation

One of the first things Sue helped Peter to develop, was his own personal brand and structure his CV so that it was purposeful. She also helped Peter develop the structure of the paper he was working on, which he has now written and gone on to get published in a prestigious title. The paper looks at the engagement between employers and employees, and the role that this plays in the knowledge exodus in a time that has been labelled ‘The Great Resignation’.

Peter continued: “I have now set up my own business, The Knowledge Bank Ltd, and I am excited to be able to explore my passion of working with people and understanding how businesses can avoid the knowledge exodus. I want to help businesses develop their people strategies so that there is a clear knowledge sharing and transfer in place.”

He continued: “The other part of my business I am looking to explore, is working as a non-executive director. Sue has helped me develop my value proposition and identify who my ideal customer is. This support will prove invaluable as I develop my business further.”

The five ‘Whys’

When asked how the support from Sue Thomas and Career Evolution has helped the most, Peter explained: “Sue’s support was invaluable, she made sure we explored each concept thoroughly. We really drilled down into the subjects we were discussing, and she used the five ‘whys’ on me to really make me think. I am now excited and looking forward to developing my business and also engaging in further academic research.”

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.