1. Getting started

Setting out your long-term goals and ambitions.

Planning lies close to the heart of all successful working lives. Essentially by deciding to create your WhyMe? you are taking the first step to taking control of your working life and not leaving it to chance.

Planning your time

Firstly, set yourself a deadline for completion. Be realistic but give yourself some pressure – you don’t want something vague like ‘by the end of the year’. Ideally you should allow yourself no more than 2 weeks in total – how quickly you can do it will depend on your other commitments. Remember, the sooner you have defined your personal brand, the sooner you can get it working for you.

While it’s quite possible to complete WhyMe? in less than a day, we recommend taking a bit more time over it to give yourself time to reflect on your input. As a guide allow ½ – 1 day for Steps 1 & 2 and the same for Step 3.

Before refining your draft WhyMe? in Step 4 we recommend putting it away for a few days to let it settle.

Block out dedicated time slots (2-3 hour blocks) in your calendar and keep to them.

The question is why have you decided to do this now?

Why is it the right time for you?

There may be a number of reasons but it is always worth taking note of them because they will have a bearing on how you complete the project and the time constraints you need to meet. Eg. are you looking for your first step on the job ladder, are you thinking about changing your job, or are you just thinking about taking a more proactive role to your life and employment?

Think about the reasons why you have decided to create a personal brand – how would you like it to help you in the future? Clarifying your motivation will help you focus on what you are trying to achieve. Examples might include:

  • I need to get back into work after a break
  • The job market is very competitive and I want to stand out
  • I’m not sure what I really want to do
  • Am I doing enough on social media?
  • Do my social media posts present a desirable image to potential employers?
  • I’m not sure what to say about myself
  • I’m not sure that I always play to my strengths
  • My chosen field is really hard to get into
  • Getting your first job is the hardest
  • I’m in the wrong field and want to change direction.

Who are you aiming to impress?

Given that the focus behind your personal brand is a focused approach to your working life, employers and prospective employers are your main target audience. You need to think about how you can ‘win them over’.

If you know which sector you want to work in that will help but if you haven’t yet decided, that won’t matter, you will just need to take a broader approach. You are still looking to impress potential employers with your skills, achievements and personality etc. The same characteristics tend to work with all employers, it’s just that you may need to emphasise some characteristics over others, depending on the working environment that you are looking to enter – the characteristics you need in transport or leisure will be different from retail or accounts.

What is your audience / sector looking for?

What are the qualities you think they rate most highly?
What sort of people do they want / need?

If you are looking at accounts or finance, employers are obviously looking for individuals who are comfortable with numbers. But what else might they want? If part of your role will be to collate financial information from other departments, it may be that necessary skills include: an ability to get on with people, a team player, being able to meet a deadline and good organisational skills.  Few jobs tend to be so narrow that only one or two characteristics are important.

Similarly, if you are looking for an outward facing sales role the fact that you can spend hours behind a desk researching information is unlikely to be at the top of your prospective employer’s list. They will be looking for someone more outgoing, action oriented, who is happy getting on with it without having crossed all the ‘I’s and dotted all the ‘t’s. That doesn’t mean they want someone slapdash, just someone who can think of an idea and run with it without fearing that they might be caught out because they don’t know everything.

If you are working in retail you will need people skills, some financial expertise as well as perhaps some inclination towards design and an ability to showcase products, depending on the exact retailer.

Fill in Worksheet 1 giving yourself a timetable and outline your motivations for completing WhyMe?