You may already have a list of personal resolutions to improve your quality of life in the New Year. Whether you want to spend more time with your family or start training for a marathon, the individual goals that you set are usually designed to improve all areas of your life in the process. An estimated 40 percent of Americans will make resolutions for the New Year that range in purpose.
In addition to the time spent thinking about traditional resolutions, you should take the time to set some personal branding goals too. The beginning of a New Year is an excellent opportunity to draw up measurable plans and set benchmarks throughout the coming months. When it comes time to reflect at the end of 2013, look back over your original goals and note all of your accomplishments. From there, set even more for the following year.
Here are a few places to focus when setting personal branding improvement goals:
Rewrite your resume. Most people do not take the time to metaphorically dust off their resumes until they need one in a pinch. Sometimes years have gone by with no changes and everything is outdated – and reads that way. Keeping an updated, fresh resume on file is an activity in more than just job seeking preparation. Reviewing the lessons and expertise you have learned over time, and how it all relates to your current goals, reminds you of your core career purpose. If you keep your resume on public profiles, this is especially important. If it has been awhile since you looked over your resume, either sit down with it before the New Year starts and spruce it up or hire a resume preparation professional. Make a note in your calendar to revisit it every two to three months.
Get active on social media. Simply having a Facebook page does not count as a social media strategy. Similarly, labeling yourself a social media “expert” does not impress anyone – especially since the term is so overused and comes with no stringent qualifications. Take the time to look over your social media accounts and really analyze what they look like. Who are your followers and fans? What sort of feedback do you receive? What image are you portraying as an individual, worker or small business owner? Decide what you want to demonstrate and then compare it to your current image. Then go through the key ingredients to making social media work for your small business. Set step-by-step small goals for social media growth and image improvement that will add up to big changes by the end of the year.
Confront weakness. It makes sense to build your professional image based on your strengths; you will have much more success by going with your natural talents. It is very important, however, to step outside of your comfort zone to reach new heights in your career. Maybe you have some constructive criticism from a job review that you initially shrugged off as unimportant. Perhaps you have had a few unhappy clients that you wrote off as disgruntled. Rather than avoid areas of weakness in the New Year, address them head-on. If there seems to be a common complaint pattern in your career, or even just areas where you know you are lacking, write it down and work toward overcoming it.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com provides information and solutions to small businesses and has one of the largest business directories online. Megan also writes business news.