There is a lot of great advice out there on personal branding for both students just entering the workforce and for professionals pursuing the next stage in their current, chosen career path. But what about career-changers? How can they re-brand themselves for new opportunities when they have already invested so much time, effort, training and more into branding themselves for their previous careers?
Here are some tips to help you career changers out there reposition yourselves for successful career transitions:
Improve Your Self-Perception: Many people are stuck in the job description of their last position. You can be a software engineer at more than a financial services company. You can be a network administrator in many industries. You can work in customer service in more than a department store. Believing that you are viable in an array of career opportunities will also go a long way in helping you increase your self-worth and the way you project yourself. – Barbara Poole, Employaid.com
Develop Brand Versatility: As you develop your personal brand and supporting pitch, make sure that it is industry or function-neutral and can be interchanged with different career-specific adjectives. For example, my personal brand is the “generator,” for I generate a lot of energy, am constantly creating new ideas and solutions to problems and love building relationships and strong-knit teams. However, generator does not necessarily refer to my career direction. I am in marketing and brand management, and thus, I would describe myself as a Brand & Marketing Generator; however, if I started pursuing a new career in finance or some other function or industry, I would still be a generator, but could change my personal brand descriptors to align more effectively with my newly-chosen career path. – Chris Perry, CareerRocketeer.com
Make Social Networking Work For You: You need to make a name for yourself in your new field. In today’s Twitter and Facebook world, you must make yourself known on the internet. You want to be sure that potential employers can find you if they search topics relevant to the field you are targeting. One method I have personally found effective is to review books covering your field on book sites like Amazon.com. To return to the engineer-to-financier example above, the engineer would do well to seek out important new books in the finance field, then write compelling, informative reviews on them at Amazon.com. Many search engines, like Google, consider product reviews to be important and relevant to searchers and will rank them fairly high during searches. For example, after writing a recent review on a marketing book at Amazon.com, even I was surprised at finding that review as the #1 search result when I Googled my name. Sounds crazy, I know, but try it. It works. – Stephan Sorger, StephanSorger.com
Arrange Informational Interviews: Go on informational interviews with hiring managers! Career changers often have the most difficult time making their resumes pop from a pile, because HR is scanning for key words, experiences, and degrees that career changers often don’t have. If you build a relationship with a future boss/company, you will have a much easier time getting face-time when an opportunity in your new field emerges. – Alexia Vernon, GenerationWeCoach.com
Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.