Let’s be honest, it can be hard to get a handle on the latest and greatest strategies for job market success. The economy’s changes have demanded both job seekers and current working professionals to truly exercise more flexibility and diversity than ever before. It’s as tough a market as any out there, and there’s no better time to invest in you.

Here, I mean to suggest that our personal return on investment (ROI) is substantial–provided we approach the task with sensibility, creativity, and a whole lot of perseverance when the going gets tough. No matter the capacity in which we serve (from the trauma ward nursing to non-profit volunteering), nursing is a field that has a wealth of viable options when it comes to how we brand ourselves and our services. Let’s utilize the diversity within our field to expand our professional impact and earning potential. What we offer is more than just a foundation, we’re at the forefront of health care innovation.

Take a moment to write down an overview of your personal and professional skill sets. What do you see? What’s the narrative that emerges from that list? Try to translate the story behind all of your education, training, and experience into a short, captivating statement of professional purpose. Remember that with improved precision in telling our story we can better position ourselves within the market by targeting our brand to the right audience.

What is your specialty? How do you revolutionize and advocate for your profession? What really motivates you to continue when everyone else can’t find the courage to go on?

Highlight your proficiency in the fundamentals, but also be sure to break the mold by showcasing the benefits you can offer your current team or prospective team by emphasizing why you can fulfill the requirements of modern nursing with individuality, competency, and compassion.

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When the market doesn’t provide all the answers, how do you make the most of your abilities? Have you done all you can do to present yourself consistently through traditional and new media? Are you making you and your brand accessible to the growing global health market?

Just as we routinely solve complex problems by addressing their separate components, so too can we look at a thriving career as the sum of the parts rather than the whole. Think about your brand as one that goes beyond a single emphasis and encourages your network to view you as an expressive health care provider. Forget the term generalist, we’re in the age of the interdisciplinary specialist. Market yourself in advance of the next big industry shift and you’ve positioned yourself for long-term mobility.

There’s such a great deal of fantastic information and resources available that can help you craft a meaningful career, and for good reason. It’s easy to limit our scope of vision, though. How many times do we find ourselves too narrowly focused on our immediate branding in order to just get that next raise, promotion, or position? Let’s change the short-term mentality and empower sustainable, self-motivated career decisions. For all of the so-called life-changing techniques we can employ in this refinement of our professional development, let me suggest that there’s an incredibly powerful tool at your very disposal right now that can create change in your future.

To get started, get clear about your personal brand identity through the gathering of images, words, and physical objects that capture the essence of your professional vision. Create a space at home where you can display these motivating elements in a way that inspires you to begin thinking critically about your brand. This process should ideally enable you to perform three essential functions:

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1. Develop one-year, three-year, and five-year professional growth goals.

2. Account for your own diversity and interests, personally and professionally.

3. Capitalize on understanding the new-market needs of changing health care economies that matter to you and future generations.

As you begin to take charge of the maintenance and evolution of your personal brand, the rewards will start to multiply. Redefining YOU makes a world of difference to us all. By promoting the importance of confident, capable and independent nurses able to navigate the demands of health care today, we do our part in establishing the trends that will shape tomorrow’s industry standards.

Marc Laughton
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