If you want to be the best you can be, you have to be all you can be. Don’t separate your personal and professional lives. Don’t be afraid to reveal parts of your personal life. Research shows that covering or suppressing parts of yourself negatively impacts your productivity.
Blending your personal and professional lives does more than boost your productivity. Here are four ways to leverage your personal side and advance your career:
1. Be memorable.
Think about a recruiter reading your resume or looking at your LinkedIn profile. Reading job descriptions and professional jargon can be boring. If your job application lacks personality, it can be difficult to remember you.
You want to stand out. To differentiate yourself and be memorable, show your personal side. Give them a greater picture of yourself and sense of your interests outside of work. If you enjoy traveling or running, share it. The reader may even share an interest with you, which increases the chances of you being remembered.
2. Be authentic.
Author and poet Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Everyone is different. Don’t try to be someone else or like everyone else. It not only makes it difficult to be memorable, but it also makes it hard for people to see you as authentic.
If you are funny, don’t try to be serious all the time. If you are an introvert, don’t try to be an extrovert. No one benefits when you try to be someone you are not. When you show up, show up with your whole self. You are your competitive advantage, just the way you are.
3. Secure your dream job.
Use your personal interests to guide you to your dream job. Think about what you enjoy doing. If are interested in a legal career and like baseball, consider looking into sports law. What do you gravitate to reading in the news? If you want to go into journalism and always read the business section first, think about focusing your writing expertise on the finance industry. Why keep your personal interests separate when you can integrate them and get paid to do what you love?
4. Be innovative.
Diversity of thought is valuable to business. To remain competitive, organizations want professionals who can think outside the box and bring different ideas to the table.
Your camping and outdoors experience may help you frame a problem in a different way. Being a former football player may help you to quickly consider and select the best option. Being a parent to a child with autism may help you to ensure that products you develop consider a variety of users. Bring your experience to the table, and allow it to increase your value as a professional.
If you want your professional life to thrive, allow your personal life to be a part of it. Use it to project the true you in everything you do. The truer you are to yourself, the more success you will have.