You don’t have to be told that building and maintaining your brand online is a cornerstone to making things happen in your career. A personal website, social media, industry associations — these are all tucked in your toolbelt for communicating to employers and clients about your brand.
Especially if you’re going through a career change, it’s important to give your brand a makeover. Sure, there are transferrable skills, but you need to communicate why they are relevant to a new industry.
If you’re going to move to a new career, you need your brand to reflect why you should be able to. Here’s a guide to getting that done:
Show How Versatile You Are
Do you have qualities and abilities that weren’t showcased in your previous career, but are helpful, or even necessary, in your new one? Point out what those qualities and abilities are online. Don’t be shy. Mention all you can. Don’t stop there. Explain how those qualities and abilities translate to experience or talents that make you useful to your new industry.
Almost half of hiring decision-makers in a Jobvite poll said that they were looking for employees who were “creative.” That means you’ll have an advantage the more you can relate your capabilities to your new career.
“You must always be able to predict what’s next and then have the flexibility to evolve.” – Marc Benioff
Brand For The New Career
Some people focus too much on what they were doing in the career they left. It’s hard to give up on the hard work and lessons learned from previous work. Liz Ryan, a Forbes contributor, tells the story of a seminar attendee who continued to list his previous career in the summary at the top of his resume. That drew questions about why an employer in his new industry would want to hire someone with such a vastly different job description than what the employer was looking for.
Long story short, this applicant had a specialty within his previous industry that correlated exactly with what he wanted from his new career. All he needed to see it was permission, which he got from Liz Ryan, to realize that he really was experienced in his new career already, despite what most would expect from that job summary.
Change Who You Think You Are
That applicant had to do that. You might have to, too. Talent Culture suggests that your self-perception has a lot to do with what you think you can do. Believe that the work you have done has prepared you for your next job, and you will appear, and be more confident and more desirable.
Gain Additional Expertise
Stay current on industry standards. Take courses in your new career. Add them to your online identity. Research your new company. Find out it’s core and ancillary businesses. Figure out how your new position fits in the scope of services and products.
Use Your Social Networking
Yes, we all know about social media, but don’t forget about talking to people. You’re taking courses, talk with the people there. Interacting with people in your industry will create new connections, regardless of what role they fill. Colleagues will become more comfortable seeing you in your new position and will think of you that way, not in your old job.
This is possible in many ways. If you don’t prefer personal contact, broadcast yourself on the internet. A short 5 minutes of your time recording can be viewed thousands of times by people in your new industry, colleagues and clients.
Instead of just attending conferences, taking classes, or sitting in seminars, you might have the skills to present the content. Everyone has skills or experience that could benefit attendees. Find a way to make yours accessible. Post the results on your social media and industry websites.
“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry
Your own website blog is under your control. You determine the content. Use that opportunity to get your brand and your ideas out there. Graduate to getting published on industry sites and in newsletters. Share it all to your online branding sources.
Use a branding expert. They will give you detailed direction on how to proceed. Some offer free online reputation guides to get you started. But that’s just the beginning. Overhauling your personal brand is a difficult task, and, especially if you’re not tech-savvy, you may need some help. Need more specific information? They will do that, too.
Enjoy Your New Career
Hopefully, you have made a change because you wanted to, and have done it on your own terms. You knew you would be good at it. Time to let the world know. Your personal brand is just as important to your success as any company’s brand is. Once you have made the change, use the rebranding to help advance in that shiny new career.
How have you rebranded yourself after a career change? Tell us your experience in the comment section below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com