Once you decide your career needs rehabbing, you need to evaluate the current state of your career. This is the “diagnosis” phase. It’s similar to a contractor inspecting a home they’re planning to renovate: You’re going to evaluate what remains strong, what could use some minor repairs, and what needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt. This inspection of your career is called the Rehab YOU Evaluation, and it will require you to be transparent and open to new ways of designing, building, testing and launching your personal brand, once you select the career path that’s right for you.
The Rehab YOU Evaluation is a full walk-through of your current career state. It can help you develop robust and scalable ways to build or rebuild your personal brand for that first job out of college, new promotion, or career change. You can then reuse this evaluation as you advance in your career or change your career path. Whether you’re a recent college graduate, current professional, or retiree, this evaluation will identify how to move forward as you Rehab YOU. Let’s get started!
The Rehab YOU evaluation
When I decided to rehab my own career back in 2014, I went out and bought unlined journals and sketchbooks. If I was going to embrace this evaluation process, I wanted to draw pictures, scribble down ideas and create to-do lists with no boundaries. I felt stuck in my career, and it was time to do a full inspection.
So, to get started, pick up an inexpensive sketchbook or journal along with whatever kind of writing instruments you like (pencils, pens, highlighters, markers — whatever sparks your creativity). Then start digging into the various aspects of your career by answering the questions in the following sections.
Brainstorm what you want your career path to look like and the lifestyle that will bring you happiness. Be creative — your career path can include nontraditional ideas or linear moves up your current job ladder. No matter what, though, design a career that feels right for you and aligns with the things you enjoy doing. Ask yourself these two questions:
- Do you have a defined career path? If so, what does it look like?
- Is your current career path bringing you happiness? If not, what career path would you like to pursue? Describe a career path that aligns with your passions or purpose.
The process of designing your career path helps map out your career blueprint. If you don’t have a career blueprint that’s aligned with your goals and passions, it’s time to renovate!
Identify what education, skills, certifications, training and professional experience you’ll need to build your personal brand. As you build your brand, think about what soft skills you’ll need to work on the types of projects that will help you grow in your career path. Too often, professionals focus on necessary technical skills and forget about the communication, writing and presentation skills they’ll need to enhance their personal brand. Ask yourself these two questions:
- What formal education (college degrees, certifications, training) do you have or need for your career path?
- Do you need more education, skills, or professional experience to accomplish your career goals for your chosen path?
If you lack the formal education that you need for your career path, you can’t build the foundation of your personal brand. You don’t always need a college degree to get the new role that you desire. Sometimes you just need a training course or certifications. The more technical certifications and courses you take, the more money you can demand. The Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report says that the highest-paying certifications emphasize hard skills like cloud computing and cybersecurity and people skills like networking and project management.
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Test the career marketplace by creating a profile on LinkedIn and placing your resume on the most popular job board sites; this will help get you noticed by recruiters. As you market yourself, make sure you have the right buzzwords in your resume so recruiters can find you online. Ask yourself the following two questions:
- Does your current resume align with your desired career path?
- Have you created a LinkedIn profile and online job board profiles?
If your current resume doesn’t align with your career goals, you’ll find it very difficult to test your personal brand as you market yourself on LinkedIn and job board sites like Indeed.com and Monster.com. You’ll need to rehab your resume before you start marketing yourself for your dream job.
Sell your authentic self in job interviews, networking events, meetups and conferences. When you relaunch your personal brand, you want to have top-notch networking and interview skills as you present yourself to recruiters, hiring managers and fellow professionals. The art of selling yourself requires you to become comfortable introducing your personal brand to people who can help you land the job you desire. Ask yourself two questions:
- Do you feel comfortable getting ready for job interviews? Do you perform well in interviews?
- Do you attend networking events, hiring events and conferences to connect with like-minded professional leaders, recruiters and hiring managers?
If you need to improve your interview skills and you don’t currently attend events where you can sell your professional experience and education, you need career rehab.