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Your Personal Brand and Your Passions

Your interests or passions are things that motivate you to devote energy to them, and you should use them when defining your personal brand. They determine how you want to spend your time. Your interests often develop early in life, but not every interest is supported by a talent or ability, so your level of engagement may depend on your level of skill.

Often people explain that they just “fell into” their work. If that describes you, you may want to ask yourself what you like about your job and, more importantly, why you stay. If you think back to jobs you did in high school or college, you’ll realize that even those jobs were likely ones that you chose to apply for. Shouldn’t your grown-up job also be one of your choosing?

Of course, making a choice based on your interests (and steering clear of your disinterests) requires knowing what they are. You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What do you like about your current job?

  • What kinds of volunteer work do you enjoy doing?

  • What hobbies do you spend the most time on?

  • What are the activities you really don’t enjoy doing?

This table helps you put words to your interest areas. It outlines various categories of work or skills and the types of activities they entail. Circle the specific activities in each line that have the greatest interest to you.

Interest Inventory
Category Activities
Researching Research, observe, investigate, study, perceive, sense, measure, test, inspect, and examine
Analyzing Analyze, compare, extract, correlate, derive, evaluate, differentiate, and identify
Interpreting Interpret, explain, understand, portray, and advise
Problem-solving Solve, troubleshoot, improve, critique, re-direct, redesign, and restructure
Systematizing Systematize, coordinate, organize, and develop procedures
Planning Plan short-term, plan long-term, forecast, strategize, and set goals
Managing Manage, supervise, control, direct, budget, administer, and delegate
Leading Lead, show the way, govern, inspire, motivate, assert, decide, and advise
Decision-making Decide, judge, select, decide under pressure, and arbitrate
Following through Persist, persevere, show tenacity, tie up all loose ends, and bring to closure
Mentoring Mentor, teach, coach, counsel constructively, and help others to grow professionally and personally
Innovating Innovate, invent, change, develop, devise, and break with convention
Imagining Imagine, visualize, conceptualize, and fantasize
Visioning Envision the future clearly, ask “what if?” or “why not?” and then act to find the answer
Synthesizing Synthesize, adapt, and bring together with imagination
Creating Create, draw, sketch, sculpt, and perform with originality
Counseling Empathize, understand needs/feelings of others, relate to issues and concerns of others, comfort, offer kindness, help others, and be friendly and attentive
Listening Listen actively and understand the message others are delivering
Communicating in writing Write clearly, concisely, and effectively, spot grammatical errors, and use editorial ability
Communicating verbally Speak clearly, concisely and effectively and use the spoken word to get results
Persuading verbally Persuade, convince, influence, overcome opposition, and sell
Negotiating Mediate, negotiate, intervene, resolve differences, and arbitrate
Initiating Take the initiative, be among the first to do or try, and get things started
Changing dynamics Be flexible, adapt easily to change, be aware, and go with the flow
Working on a team Work well with a team and be a team player
Assembling Assemble, build, prepare, fabricate, rebuild, and fashion
Installing Install, fit, tailor, customize, and test
Operating Operate, run, maintain, fix, and set up
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