1. Figure out what (I think) I want to do with my life – check.
  2. Start classes and find out it’s a pretty great fit – check.
  3. Assess current personal brand/public presence (or lack there of) – check/ongoing.
  4. Apply growing knowledge to develop personal brand – infancy stage/ongoing.
  5. Stop lurking and start doing! – room for improvement/ongoing.
  6. And finally the bottom, yet really the crux of this list; change career paths and get a “real” job (you, bum!) – to be checked.

Since beginning Marketing and Social Media Marketing night classes at George Brown College, I’ve learned that being “in the know” and making yourself “that person for that thing” is an overarching key to 1. actually landing a job in your field, and 2. having more control and say over your role in the workplace.  As someone who’s coming from a totally valid but theory-heavy Sociological background (class of ’11 – five years already?!), I’ll have to network like crazy or wiggle my way into the industry on my own – NO ONE is going to knock on my door for graduating cum laude or for being fresh out of night classes.  I need to show people all of the other skills that I’ve honed over the years out of actual interest and enjoyment – yes, I can write that copy, yes, I can shoot and edit that photograph, yes, I can curate content based on who you are or who you want to be. I’m ready to get paid to do the things I’m already doing, and my skill set is growing by the week. You want me, damnit! (I can also sell you the most expensive dish on the menu and pair it with the perfect bottle of wine, but this is the industry I’m trying to leave, so shhh.)

My first two “personal branding tasks” are to tackle my tumblr and LinkedIn pages.

My tumblr and I have been pretty good buds for over 6 years, and it’s probably the best snapshot that anyone (or future employer) can get about my art, fashion, music, and design interests.  It is a considered and curated window into my ideal space, and each image works together to build a mosaic of how I want to present myself in the digital world.

With minimal effort, like a more work-friendly username  (even though “jennif4rt” is gr8), a more in-depth About section, and perhaps a theme tweak, potential employers will have full, longitudinal and highly-creepable access to my own visual world before we ever breathe the same air.  I’m also going to start monitoring my site traffic change/progress with Google Analytics.

For the last couple of months, my LinkedIn has been an under-utilized source of embarrassment, and I’ve gone out of my way to avoid Connecting with people.  I’m a server – I’m not a restaurant manager, nor a food or hospitality specialist. I’m not necessarily thrilled to advertise what I do for a living.  However, as more of my instructors speak of LinkedIn like it’s greatest thing on the planet, and learning that half of them got their jobs with it, I think I need to step up my game!  A proper headshot wouldn’t hurt, either. I’ve already listed my education and various skills (current job included), so the next step is to express where I want to be in my summary, and add more value to my current hobbies and interests:

Tumblr user = Visual curator and trend spotter for the last 6 years, with access to Millennial influencers/brand ambassadors. Ummm, yeah that sounds pretty good.

Flickr member = Digital and film photographer with 87, 000+ image views according to FlickrPro as of today (yay, statistics!).  In the past, I was always reluctant to say “the P word” – I’d say I just dabble in it, basically anyone can do it, etc. – I need to stop under-selling myself!  It’s a hobby, I enjoy it, and I’m pretty good at it despite no formal training.

Marketing student = Budding Marketer and Social Media Marketer. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m doing my damnedest!

So there you have it.  This week’s self-assigned homework is to beef-up two of my social media platforms in ways that will build my personal brand/online persona, and my demonstrate marketing-related skills. Gotta start somewhere, right?

– Jen

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