By: Chanele McFarlane

When the weather gets warmer and the days are longer, thinking about your personal brand (and school and/or work, in general!) may not exactly be at the top of your to-do list.

However, if there’s ever been a time to refresh your personal brand, it’s definitely right now. We’re beginning to emerge from a long winter in lockdown, during which our virtual work and school routines may have become quite monotonous. 

However, aside from this, the job market is on the rebound! A quick scan of any job site will reveal a record number of open roles in most industries as companies begin to rehire, with diverse talent as a priority. (Just make sure to evaluate any potential employers to determine if their commitment is genuine).

Here are 5 ways you can freshen up your personal brand for the summer:

Take a new headshot

Your profile photo is the first thing that people look at when they search you up online. Is it the best possible reflection of you? I don’t know about you but I very much feel and look like a different person now that we’re (hopefully) on the other side of the pandemic. I recommend taking a new headshot that you can use online so that it’s an up-to-date reflection of who you are and what you stand for.

Update your resume and Linkedin profile

When was the last time you made updates to your Linkedin profile? Have you started a new job or program recently? What accomplishments are you proud of? Make sure your resume and Linkedin profile reflect these new developments, in addition to any new skills you may have gained over the last year of working remotely. Your resume and Linkedin profile are two important items in your personal brand toolkit. By regularly making updates to them, you’ll always have them ready to go. Opportunity doesn’t always knock before it arrives! Check out this tip sheet on building a great LinkedIn profile for students.

Apply to jobs

After a year of working remotely that has given Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour a much-needed reprieve from workplace microaggressions, many have decided that they’d rather quit than return to the office. If this is you or you’re just on the market for something new, there’s actually no better time to job search, especially for a fully remote role. But, even if you’re not necessarily looking for a new job (or internship) right now, occasionally applying to jobs is a great way to practice interviewing, expand your network and understand your current job market value.

Reconnect with your network

Summer is typically a great time for networking and although social events still have yet to make a full comeback, it’s still an optimal time to reconnect with old classmates, colleagues and online connections. As reported by Harvard Business Review, many people of colour haven’t prioritized outreach and relationship-building while working remotely, which puts us at higher risk of being isolated and missing out on new career opportunities. Make networking a regular habit by setting a weekly calendar reminder. You can plan a virtual coffee chat, spend some time on Linkedin, attend a virtual event or perhaps, you may even want to start catching up with folks in-person!

Edit your wardrobe

According to recent research from Nordstrom, more than one-quarter of those they surveyed said their personal style changed during the pandemic. How do you feel about your wardrobe? I strongly believe that when we look good, we feel good so it’s important to have pieces in your wardrobe that make you feel your absolute best. Use this time to go through your closet and figure out if there’s any additions you’d like to make. We can use our outfits as a way to showcase our personal brand but I recommend balancing your individual style with clothing that appeals to you, while also being appropriate for the work you do.

Of course, as much as you should invest time in these activities, remember that the best thing you can ever do for your personal brand is prioritize self-care and give yourself grace. You’ll be able to show up as the best (and well-rested) version of yourself when you put your own needs first.