Facing a career transition is challenging, but it can also be an incredibly exciting time of personal growth and exploration. Whether you’re looking to change careers or find a new role in the same field, a career transition is a great opportunity to take stock of your unique skills and attributes, consider your goals and use that exploration process to refresh your personal brand. Don’t let the term scare you – developing a ‘personal brand’ is not just a corporate buzzword. Done well, it’s an incredibly meaningful opportunity to learn more about yourself, be more focused in your job search and build your confidence. So, what is a personal brand? Simply put, it’s the process of figuring out what makes you unique and then building a reputation and presence (both online and in the real world) that represents who you are and what you want to be known for.

Developing or strengthening your personal brand is particularly important if you’re in the midst of a career transition – research has shown that nearly 7 out of 10 hiring managers use social networking sites to research a job candidate. When it comes to hiring, cultural fit is often just as important as experience (sometimes even more so), so your personal brand is an opportunity to colour outside the lines of the traditional resume to showcase who you are in life and at work.

At Cenera, we have supported thousands of career transition clients over the years to identify, communicate and leverage the power of their personal brand. So, we thought we’d share some of our favourite advice when it comes to effective personal branding while in career transition.

1.     Understand Your Unique Value Proposition

Repeat after me – there is no one else just like you. You are unique, and those one-of-a-kind experiences, skills and competencies make you a valuable member of a team. The first step to building your personal brand is to understand your unique value proposition so that you can clearly convey it. The great thing about building a personal brand is that it’s not just about where you’ve been and what you’ve already done; it’s also an opportunity to create the story of where you want to go.

Your personal brand should represent you, yes, but it is also aspirational. Remember, you’re not defined by one thing, so use your personal brand as a chance to dream big and let go of mindsets like fear and self-doubt that hold you back.

2.     Identify Your Transferable Skills

An important component of navigating a career transition is to look at your previous work or volunteer experience and identify the skills that made you successful in past roles. For example, if you worked in administration, it’s likely you developed a number of important skills such as organization, attention to detail and interpersonal communication – all of which would be valuable for numerous other roles across a wide range of industries. Developing your personal brand is a chance to articulate those underlying transferrable skills and define how they match the needs of your target industry or career. By using keywords related to your career goals, you can help make your profile more searchable for a recruiter.

3.     Leverage Your Tools

You probably already knew we were going to say this, but if you aren’t leveraging online tools like LinkedIn, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to define and represent your personal brand. If you’re new to the world of LinkedIn, or you know you need to do more to develop your LinkedIn presence, here are some quick tips to make the most of your account:

  • Learn from other profiles you admire – take a look at LinkedIn profiles of professionals whose careers you would like to emulate for inspiration.
  • Use it to research and connect – knowing what’s on the minds of professionals in your target industry and participating in the conversation will be incredibly useful when attending networking events or applying for a new position.
  • Specify your accomplishments – saying you’re driven to achieve results is great; giving an example of how you did this in action is better.
  • Understand it is the first impression – Just like you only have one chance to make a first impression in real life, the same can be said about your online presence. Make sure it’s a good one with a professional photo and clear, compelling and error-free writing.

Also, remember that when it comes to creating a personal brand online, LinkedIn is not the only tool at your disposal. Depending on your target industry or career, other platforms may make sense to utilize. For example, design professionals could benefit from a visual platform like Instagram, or a communications professional could shine on a platform like Twitter.

4.     Build Your Network with Engaging Content

When it comes to creating your personal brand, ‘setting and forgetting’ your online portfolio likely won’t be enough. The more you can interact, share, and create relevant content, the more you can position yourself as an industry expert and thought leader. When it comes to creating an online presence, content will not only help you stand out and make you more memorable, but it will also ensure you are more likely to be discovered in an online search.

Simply put, content builds visibility, trust and credibility – all of which are incredibly important in career transition.

5.     Stay Authentic – Don’t Be Afraid to Be Vulnerable

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that building a compelling personal brand isn’t just about creating an image of a flawless, perfect robot that never has a bad day. You are allowed to be human, and in fact, those authentic vulnerabilities are the things that will make people feel connected to you and inspired to get to know more. Just like life, your career is your journey. Your personal brand is an opportunity to tell that story in a way that leaves you more open to possibilities and more empowered to take the next steps.

 

Cenera’s Career Transition team has decades of experience helping transitioning employees build their personal brand and land their next career.

If your organization is considering offering Career Transition support, Cenera is here to help. Reach out to us today to learn more. 

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