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If you have made a New Year’s resolution for 2015, you are part of the estimated 40% of Americans who have done so. In comparison, roughly 1/3 of Americans watch the Super Bowl. So more Americans make resolutions each year than watch the Super Bowl. Yet despite the good intentions, research conducted by the University of Scranton shows a mere 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. 

Why?

Well…that’s a topic for another post. 

But it might help to consider the most common New Year’s Resolutions. As documented by USA.gov, three of the most common resolutions among Americans are: losing weight, managing debt, and getting a better job. 

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to find a job or earn a better position, let me help you become one of the elite 8% that actually achieves your 2015 goal. 

Job seeking in the Digital Age requires you to discover, develop and deliver your personal brand to the world. Put simply, your personal brand is your unique promise of value. A strong personal brand can help you land your dream job, earn a promotion, or make a successful career transition. It is what allows you to stand out from all other candidates in the mind of the decision makers or those in your network. 

While there is no shortage to personal branding tools to help you build your brand’s presence online and off, here are 3 of my favorite tools to help you build your personal brand in 2015. 

LinkedIn 9-a-Day

Social media is not, I repeat, NOT a fad. Social media is not going away. Yes, the tools/ platforms of social media will change but the concept of connecting and building relationships online will never fade away. If Facebook falls, market demands will cultivate another platform to take its place. LinkedIn has managed to brand itself as THE professional social network in more than 200 countries. LinkedIn grew from 259 million users in Q3 2013 to 332 million users in Q3 2014. That is more than 28% growth in users in 1-year. 

To help users develop personal brands on their social network, LinkedIn created the 9-a-Day tool. This tool makes creating your profile and building your network uber easy. It is designed to empower you by providing the insights and techniques to get ahead in your industry in just 9 minutes a day. You can customize your 9-a-day plan with the drag and drop features. Once you are satisfied, simply export your plan to your personal calendar (the tool is compatible with iCal, Outlook, and Google). 

According to LinkedIn, they "consulted experts and professionals across the globe, and found that spending just 9 minutes a day, and no more, developing your ‘at work’ brand, could keep you better informed and make you better at what you do. 9-minutes can be slotted easily into your day, and it gives you complete focus."

Link to Tool: http://www.linkedin-9aday.com/

SlideShare Visual Career Journey

When making decisions, we use both rational and emotional thoughts, but research has shown that emotions play the primary role in final decisions. Antonio Damasio, M.D., heads the department of neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Antonio’s studies found that, “pure thought untainted by emotion and other "lower" mental functions is less useful than commonly supposed. The brain often "decides" among alternatives by "marking" one alternative as more emotionally salient than another.”

Storytelling is the best way to touch the emotional triggers that inspire someone to make a decision in your favor. Sure you could share statistics, job duties and data points with hiring managers but telling them your story will leave a lasting impression; one that allows you to stand out from the other qualified candidates.

SlideShare partnered with LinkedIn to bring professionals a visual storytelling application guaranteed to give job seeker’s a leg up on the competition. This new app allows even the most technologically inept job seeker to create a visually stimulating version of their career journey with a single click!

Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile completely before creating your visual career journey. Add as much information and multimedia pieces as possible and then create your masterpiece! 

Link to Tool: https://www.slideshare.net/professional-journey

Online ID Calculator

Long before an employer meets you in person, they will meet you online. First impressions in the 21st century consist of what I call “digital handshakes”. This is when a potential employer searches for you online before they meet you for an interview or networking event. Therefore, however Google sees you is exactly how your potential employer or professional contact will see you.

Say you share the same name as a convicted felon. His/her mug shot is now representing your name (your personal brand) online. Granted, this is an extreme example but this does happen. If you don’t show up in a Google search, then you don’t exist. Sad but true. Think about it – how many times have you searched for local restaurants on Google and went to the most favorable option that appeared? How many times did you patronize the restaurants that did not appear? Just like a business, your target audience needs to first know you exist and second believe you can add value to their lives in some way.

The perfect tool to help you proactively manage your personal brand online is the Reach Online ID Calculator. It is free to use and within 5 minutes you have a report that tells you just how strong or weak your online personal brand really is. It even gives you suggestions as to how to improve your online identity, which is rated by your brand’s Volume, Relevance, Purity, Diversity, and Validation within search engine results pages. 

Link to Tool: http://www.onlineidcalculator.com/index.php

Bonus! 21Habit.com

Although the tools listed above are incredibly powerful and can certainly help you build your personal brand in 2015, habit forming will inevitably decide whether or not you are successful in achieving your new year’s resolutions. I’ve found the studies to be true that indicate it takes 21 days to form a new habit, which is why I am recommending you use this tool to form habits that strengthen your online presence in 2015. 

21Habit is a digital motivational coach that emails you each day to remind you of the habit you are trying to form. The email reminders are interactive such that you answer YES or NO to if you completed the habit that day. The tool records your answers and provides a calendar at the conclusion of 21 days that shows how well you stuck to your plan. 

If you are really committed to improving your personal brand in 2015, I recommend using the “Committed Mode”, which is a brilliant concept. According to 21Habit, “you invest $21 towards your 21-day challenge. Each day you succeed you get $1 back. Each day you fail or do not check in you forfeit $1 which 21Habit donates to one of several charities.” Now that’s motivation! 

Link to Tool: http://www.21habit.com/


What’s your New Year’s Resolution for 2015? Keep us posted on your progress. To a productive year ahead! 


Author: Ryan Mickley
 Author: Ryan Mickley, Career Advisor at DeVry University 

Called to cultivate servant leaders, Ryan helps young professionals discover, define and deliver their gifts to the world. He is 1 of 20 Master Certified Personal Branding Strategists worldwide and is the youngest person to ever earn this status. Educational institutions have asked Ryan to speak on topics pertaining to professional development and content marketing, most notably DeVry University, Full Sail University, University of Central Florida and the Drop Back In Academy. With extensive experience in producing informative programs, Ryan has been practicing content marketing for over 5 years. Clients have expressed appreciation for his welcoming demeanor and ability to simplify and explain complex issues, which he attributes to the years he spent in the hospitality industry.

In 2014, Ryan joined the Career Services Team at DeVry University in Orlando, Florida. He serves students and graduates from the College of Business & Management and the College of Media Arts & Technology.