Are you where you want to be professionally? Whether you want to advance faster at your present company, change jobs, or make the jump to an entirely new field, the way to do it is by developing a compelling personal brand. Personal brand is something you probably already have. In the last 10 years of the digital revolution, the applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Myspace and others, made it almost impossible to not create an account and appear in the virtual space. Now that we all have an online presence, it´s time to manage our own personal brand. Social media has one big advantage: You show the people just what you want them to see.
Take a moment to self-reflect
Ask yourself: what are my strengths and weaknesses? Think about what you can offer to the world on a professional and personal level. In other words: Who is your target, and what is the ‘product’ you are selling? You won’t be ready to make a career change until you figure out what it is that you have and that you´re good at and what you have to change in order to get the job you want. Always brand yourself for the job you´re looking for, rather than branding yourself based on what job you´ve been doing.
Create your strategy
When you want to make a career change, you should start to be much more strategic about your personal brand. You build your brand by multiple daily actions - when you share a picture, when you update your status, when you send a tweet and even when you share your location on Facebook. That´s why the more content you create the more followers you will have. Social media gives you visibility and connects you with people who have similar interests.
Interact & engage
Branding is all about making connections. The only way to create a buzz around your personal brand is by reaching out and speaking to others. On a digital spectrum, this takes place online during networking and community building. Give yourself a voice, engage with others and encourage them to engage with you in return. To influence people, you must interact with them first.
Find ways to add value to your audience by creating content that’s in line with your brand. Creating value is all about sharing you knowledge and experience with your community. The best way to attract is to give back what you have gained. In the case of changing careers, adding value may consist in starting your own blog with tips and information related to you job sector or to the job sector you want to work in. Many HR specialists will be impressed if you share your knowledge with your community, because it means that you will be willing to helping companies with ideas on how to grow their business or propose a solution for a problem they have been facing.
Better ask for forgiveness than for permission
The key to branding yourself for a career change is to describe yourself as a person who is already in the field you wish to enter. You have relevant background to almost any field you want to get into, but no one will see the relevance until you see it first and call it out in your resume. You cannot give yourself the title of lawyer or doctor unless you've earned the appropriate credentials. There are career paths that you must get permission to join in. However, you can call yourself an HR person if you've been doing HR-type of work on your current job. You don't need anyone's permission for that!
A strong personal brand will influence your ability to get the right jobs, promotions, and increase your ability to attract talent and capital. Of course, getting yourself noticed in business is a long term project and is no small task. But if you don’t develop your own personal brand then others will do it for you. As Tom Peters said in his article A Brand Called You “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”