New Year, New You. Refreshing Your Brand In 2018. By Frances Reimers It’s a new year, and like many others you’re likely refreshing everything from your health and finances to your relationships. But what about your personal brand? That’s the one asset that stays with you your entire life and its success or failure rests solely on your efforts. Pretty serious, right? It is. Today, with everything going digital, and everyone’s personal profile steadily growing online, it’s more vital than ever that you have a working knowledge of personal branding and how you can control your destiny. I know what you’re thinking. “Frances, I’m not comfortable being overly promotional.” To which I say, “It’s not about being promotional, but rather about highlighting and sharing your competency.” It’s not spin, it’s reality. Still not convinced? Try this on for size. According to a recent Entrepreneur article on personal branding, 95 percent of recruiters surveyed believe that the job market in the next several years will remain or become more competitive. Meaning, if you don’t stand out online, your competition will. In addition, 75 percent of HR departments are required to search job applicants online. If you can’t be found; or worse, your online profiles are incomplete and/or inappropriate, you are going to get passed up for key opportunities. And if that wasn’t enough motivation. If finding forever love online (and off) in 2018 is on your agenda, you better pay attention to your personal brand. Dating apps and websites abound. That means a lot of choice, which can be awesome. That also means a lot of competition, which can be daunting. How will you differentiate yourself from all the other well-educated, attractive, dog/coffee/baseball-loving guys and gals out there? Before you break out into hives, I do offer manageable tips and tools to get you started on the right path. Before we begin, I want to be very real about one very important fact: Your brand is not stagnant. It’s a living, breathing thing that needs frequent evaluation and evolution. You need to commit yourself to this process, as this is something that will continue for the rest of your professional career, perhaps longer. I know you can do this. If you’ve committed yourself to multiple seasons of The Bachelor, you can commit to improving your own brand. Let’s start with the basics. The following tasks are low- effort steps you can take to get your personal brand moving in a positive direction.