In two months, it’ll mark a year since I applied for the job I’m in now. The fact that I love it just as much as I did in day one makes me feel all kinds of lucky, and I know there’s not a great deal of people out there who can say that. So today, I wanted to share some of the things that helped transform my career and got me to the position I’m in today.
#1 | I built up my personal brand
Building your personal brand means finding out what it is you want to do and why you want to do it, so you can do your best to get to where you want to be. This quote explains it well:
“To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
It’s how you appear to the world, it allows people to identify with you, and also allows people to recognise you for a specific area of expertise. Once I knew how important personal branding was going to be for my career, I made sure to build it up as much as possible – and it worked.
Personal branding is so important. Who you are and what you do represents your own brand, and to get ahead and be recognised, you’ve got to be able to portray that to employers. Investing time in being clear about a message, being consistent and backing up everything you’ve done with proof and testimonials to ultimately create your own brand statement, has ultimately led to me being successful in the career I’m in today. So much so, that in my interview I was asked, “Can you tell me about your personal brand?” My answer to that question played a key part in getting me the job.
#2 | I started blogging
When I set up this blog, I had absolutely no idea how big of a part it would play in my career. I originally created ABOH as a way to learn more about the digital industry and to document my life, but it’s grown into something much more. It’s obvious how much a blog can teach you, build up your skill set and be a powerful marketing tool, but I didn’t realise how influential having my own blog could be, especially by incorporating personal posts with my own knowledge and experiences. Despite having not set this up originally for the benefit of my career, this blog has actually been one of the main things that continues to help me grow.
#3 | I got work experience
This was something I did relatively early on with my career when I left university at 21, although I wish I had done it sooner. Having a portfolio of work experience allowed me to prove to employers that I could already do the work they would be asking me to do. It also prepared me for the world of work in more ways than I could imagine. Getting work experience for a local website and magazine gave me a first taste into the industry. These things taught me everything I needed to know to get my foot on the ladder, from communications, to processes to invoicing. It also made me feel and look a lot more professional, and makes you believe you can aim a lot higher.
#4 | I learnt to write a killer CV and cover letter
Providing services in CV and cover letter writing is something that’s been on my mind for a while now, because of how much they’ve benefitted my career. I didn’t realise how much I needed to improve mine until a Careers Advisor tore it to pieces – but it was exactly what I needed to push myself further and take my career up a notch.
Every job I’ve had an interview for I’ve been successful in, and I know a huge part of this comes down to my CV and cover letter. These are basic things that kick-start the job process and sometimes people don’t give enough weight to them. If there’s a single piece of advice I could give you in this post, it would be to get your CV and cover letter nailed. A huge part of that comes from learning as your grow.
#5 | I got involved
From early on I kept in touch with contacts, reached out for work experience, and took every opportunity that came my way. I actively sought out other bloggers and people within the industry, connected with them online and, over time, made some strong connections. Although I can be quite introverted, I find it really easy to chat to people online. Networking through social media and blogs was something that came naturally to me and it has absolutely helped to transform my career. Plus, it’s also given me the confidence to reach out more, both online and in person.
It’s so important to be active in communities. We can’t do this alone, whether it’s your blog, your life or your career. Interacting and engaging helps to build friendships and when it comes to your career, it’s all about who you know.
My cousin is going through his teacher training at the moment. He’s had interviews for a few jobs and not got them. Last Friday, he had another. It was at a school he went to in the first week of his placement. Because the Headteacher of the school recognised and remembered him, he knew that he’d succeed in the role and he got the job. Connections mean everything.
#6 | I became more intentional
Looking back, I used to spend my time on things that didn’t matter a lot. It’s not that I regret how I spent my time – but over the last couple of years I’ve definitely come to value it more. And I actually realised that you can’t have a successful career without being intentional. I needed to change my ways and I did. Every move I’ve made in my career has been for a reason, even if I was finding it difficult at the time (which I was). They’ve all led me to the job and place I’m in now and that’s a huge relief to know. I’m aware this isn’t what it’s going to be like forever, but I know now to take intentional steps that will help me move forward. This mindset has been a huge shift in the way I handle work on a day to day basis.
#7 | I want a day job
Right now, the theme in the blogging world seems to be that everyone wants to quit their jobs and become full-time bloggers. While, yes, I’d love to have my own business, I know there’s no point in fighting the fact that this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Pushing through the struggle and coming to the decision that I do want a full-time job unlocked a whole new power in me. Since then, my blog has grown more than I ever thought possible, I’m in a fantastic job and I’m about to start looking for my own home.
Wanting great things for my career has made me realise that you don’t have to choose between one or the other – your blog or your career. You can have both. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting that.
Let's chat in the comments - what are some of the things that have helped to transform your career? What points in this list can you relate to?