As a leader, it’s important to position your professional identity for success in 2014. This checklist is designed to help you make the most of your public professional identity.

1. Readdress “who you are” now.

While it’s tempting to use the same personal “about me” paragraph that you’ve had for years, take a step back and answer the following questions:

  • What am I most proud of in my professional career?
  • In the last twelve months, what has been my biggest success?
  • What am I passionate about? How can I apply it to my business?
  • What kind of person do I want people to think that I am?
  • Who are the kinds of people that will read this “about me” boilerplate?
  • What do I want to convey to people who read this?

Knowing your answers to these questions will help you decide not only what to put in your personal boilerplate, but also how to say it.

2. Check in with your contacts.

This is a good time of year to drop a friendly line to professional contacts, asking how their last year has been. Identify the people you want to reach out to and send them an email or LinkedIn message. Offer to take them out to coffee or lunch and catch up. It is better to have friends before you need them.

3. Update your headshot.

If your headshot is more than a year old, it’s time for a new one. Nothing says, “I’m afraid of aging” like a five-year-old headshot.

4. Map out the contributed articles you want to write this year, and write them.

Contributed articles are a great way to get attention and establish yourself as an authority in your industry. They’re also a great way to keep you mentally sharp as a leader. Your PR team can pitch these articles to relevant publications, giving you additional credibility. If possible, consider becoming a regular contributor to a specific publication, preferably, one that your audience pays regular attention to.

5. Make new friends at events.

They say it’s lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be. If your contact list is looking dated, make new connections. One of the best ways to do this is to attend events. You don’t need to fly across the globe to attend every industry event, but try to attend at least one event per month in a field that interests you. This doesn’t have to be a company-wide effort; just a personal resolution to meet new people.

6. Communicate with your customers.

Whether it’s a letter from the CEO in your monthly newsletter or a friendly note on Facebook, plan to address your customers on a regular basis this year. Always have something positive, insightful and relevant to say. Involve your communications team, as they know what to say and how to say it.

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The New Year is an excellent opportunity to reassess your professional identity and make adjustments that will go a long way to making you a better, smarter leader.

About Jennifer Jacobson

Jennifer L. Jacobson is the founder of Jacobson Communication and a Silicon Valley leader known for helping great companies, organizations, and ideas get the attention they deserve. She is also a social media expert and author, known for her book, 42 Rules of Social Media for Small Business.



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