Hint: bring your strong points to the forefront and use everything you have to support them.
You probably already know that building and maintaining your brand online is the cornerstone to making things happen in your career. You can use your website, social media and industry associations to communicate with potential employers and clients. It’s crucial to give your brand a makeover, especially if you’re going through a career change. Sure, you have transferrable skills, but you must communicate why they’re relevant to your new industry.
What do you want people to associate with your name? Is there a subject in which you want people to perceive you as an expert, or are there general qualities you want to link to your brand?
These are the kinds of things you should consider. Once you understand the dynamics of how you’d like people to perceive your brand, you can think strategically about how you’ll create it.
How have you (really) changed?
You’re changing your job title, not your entire identity. Even if your interests have evolved since you began your career, you probably still have the same core values and beliefs that defined your brand. These qualities should still be part of your brand. But something’s changed; you’ve swopped industries because something about your current job doesn’t jive with your personality anymore. You’ll need to tap into your why.
Identify and leverage your transferable skills
This is the first step toward your successful rebranding effort. First, identify what skills and abilities are required in your new field by doing your homework. Consider conducting an informational review with someone in the industry, and pick their brain about how they learned to demonstrate the skills necessary to succeed in that field. Chances are, you already possess some of those qualities, so look at your résumé and determine the ones you’ve already demonstrated in your previous jobs. Identify specific examples of how you demonstrated those strengths, and rework your résumé to include those details. When you reframe your past experiences into ‘relevant skills’ for your new industry, all those projects, clients, and achievements from your old job might feel useless – or like a complete mistake. But don’t write those seemingly ‘unrelated experiences’ off; they may set your brand apart from everyone else’s in your new industry.
Rewrite your story
Put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes. Your brand acts as your cover letter – it should already tell the story of how your core values, skills and professional experience have prepared you for your current job. Now, you need to write a new chapter: one that ties your values to your changing desires, new goals and relevant skills.
Your story must answer three questions: what are your core values and beliefs, and how do they shape you as a person and in your profession? What are the skills you already have that’ll help you to succeed in a new industry? Does the industry align with your passions and professional interests?
Gain additional expertise
Get up to speed on industry standards. Take courses in your new career, and add them to your online identity. Research your new company. Find out its core and ancillary businesses, and where your new position fits in the scope of services and products.
Rework your online presence
Since you’re selling your skillset and yourself to a new audience, you’ll need to tweak your online presence accordingly. Revamp it to reflect your new career goals. Gradually pivot your tweets to include news and updates about the field you want to work in. Follow industry leaders on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. Like company pages on Facebook, noticing the types of information they share. Rework your LinkedIn bio to reflect your new career goals. Employers are highly likely to Google you when they receive your job application, so pay close attention to this step. Social media is an excellent way to showcase your dedication to your work.
Depending on how dramatic your switch is, you mightn’t have to change your current online presence drastically. Going from journalism to marketing might not take much more than emphasising different projects in your portfolio, as an example. However, if you want to move from finance to freelance writing, that may require you to add colour and photos to your portfolio, switch your social profiles to public, and engage in your field of expertise more often. Once you understand the general rules of your new field, you’ll be better prepared to establish credibility, make connections – and land your dream job.