Without conducting regular check ups on your personal brand, career management and international job search activities, you run the risk of wasting time, energy and resources doing things that are not in support of (or even worse working against) you achieving your professional goals.
Building your personal brand to support your efforts to land new work abroad without the luxury of in person engagement or feedback makes it much easier to feel uncertain about which strategies you are employing are actually effective.
And rarely does anyone develop a personal brand, career management or international job search plan which does not need some tweaking along the way. Without setting up some metrics to assess your efforts from the start, it’s extremely difficult to know what’s working and what’s not.Taking the time to revisit your strategy and goals based on current accomplishments is also critical to successfully searching out and capitalizing on opportunities when they arise.
And your ongoing intelligence gathering has much less value if you don’t take the time to make strategic course corrections or take action when the right situations arise. Depending on what industry or marketplace changes are afoot at any given moment, your strategic plans can remain much the same or change almost entirely.
I recommend doing check ups quarterly for your personal brand and career management and monthly or even biweekly for someone in active job search. If you have not done one before, starting off with a biannual check up for brand building and career management is still a good start.
Your Personal Brand, International Career and/or Job Search Health Checklist
I also invite you to create a personal brand, career and/or job search health checklist. That process includes defining what “health” means to you. Definitions can vary wildly. Being very specific allows you to accurately measure and assess progress in your pursuit of career health and job search success.
Some of the questions you could include in your checklist:
Are the following updated quarterly?
• Personal Brand and Career Management Plan & Goals
• Personal Brand Identity System
• Branded bio collection
• Branded resume or CV
• Branded social media & online network profiles
• Branded communication tools
• Personal website, blog and other online presences
Have you met your quarterly numbers for networking?
• In person network meetings/events attended
• Follow ups calls/emails from networking meetings
• New contacts made
• Online networking outreach on Linkedin, Viadeo, Xing, ApnaCircle and/or Tianji
• Follow up messages/emails from online networking
• New online contacts made
• Reconnecting with current contacts locally or globally
Have you applied your quarterly designated brand building strategies to:
• Better leverage your top skills, strengths and brand attributes?
• Increase your visibility on and offline (what’s Google saying about you now)?
• Build your thought leadership on and offline?
• Strategically grow and strengthen your network?
• Brand all your communications and projects?
• Assess impact of your brand building activities of last quarter?
Have you met your quarterly numbers for the job search?
• Hours to conduct research in your target market(s) and culture(s)?
• Taking strategic actions related to target employers on and offline?
• Submitting applications for right fit jobs on and offline?
• Conversations with current network?
• Securing referrals from your network?
• Connecting with a new or known recruiter?
• Informational interviews?
• Job offers?
In each of these cases, ask yourself: If not, why not? If not, what can you do to insure next quarter you will?
If you are consistently not meeting a number, you might consider redefining what “health” is for that particular topic. For example, is attending 4 networking meetings or events a month realistic? Would reducing certain activities allow you some additional free time with family and reduce stress? Would increasing certain activities increase my visibility online, chances of getting more interviews or growing my network at rate I need at the moment?
Quality of Your Work Life
An additional section I’d add to your checklist is related to quality of life at work. I feel often – especially when someone is in active job search – that one’s quality of life at work can get deprioritized in favor of more focus on job search or performance. It’s important to maintain a high quality of life in all areas so that you can perform at your best and enjoy your life and work abroad.
Some suggested questions include:
• What have you been most passionate about in your job this quarter? How can you do more of that?
• What has been most draining in your job this quarter? How can you do less of that?
• Are you making daily choices aligned with your values, passions and desired lifestyle?
• Do you have time to spend with friends, relax and have fun outside of work?
• What have you done to nurture your physical and emotional wellbeing and deal with stress?
• What have you learned that has been both enriching and helped you perform better at work?
• What was your biggest accomplishment? How did you recognize or reward yourself?
• What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
I suggest taking the answers to many of these questions and choose specific actions to commit to doing to improve your quality of work life in the future.
What will you commit to doing to make your personal brand building, career management or international job search more efficient and effective?
If you are an expat professional in search of a new job abroad or just focused on building your personal brand and managing your international career, when will you schedule time to define what the health of your personal brand, career or job search looks like to you? When will you commit time to creating a personal brand, international career and/or job search health checklist?
Taking time to take action today will lead to more effectively and efficiently accelerating your international career goals now and into the future.
About the author: Megan Fitzgerald is an expat and international career coach, founder of Career By Choice and expert guide to the world of global careers. She has two decades of experience supporting professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and organizations in 40+ countries. Megan uses a strategic, 360°approach to help expats become highly visible, sought after experts and leaders and succeed abroad. She’s been featured in Fortune Magazine, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal Online and numerous expat and career books and publications. You can read more about expat careers at her blog.