Forget the gym, it’s time to put your personal brand in workout mode! As the economy picks up steam, you might considering a career move. Or, the kids are grown and you’re getting back into the workforce. Or, you’re ready for the next step in your current career track. Whatever the motivation, here are 5 things I found helpful–plus a few updates–when I repositioned my own brand a few years ago.
1. List Your Success Qualities. A resume is more than a boring list of skills. The personal qualities that make you good at what you do are what employers (and clients) look for even more. So whether or not you’re currently in a job you plan to keep on doing, think about what qualities allow you to succeed. Here are some examples: stick-to-it-iveness, loyalty, team-builder, team leader, calm under pressure, strategic thinker, behind-the-scenes organizer, detail person, etc. Put your list together, then define–on a piece of paper, even!–exactly how these qualities can apply to the new job or career path you’re interested in.
2. Develop Personal Examples. When I was an employer, I used the “STAR” method to seek out these qualities in prospective employees, asking them to give me examples of a challenging Situation, what Tasks they determined needed to be accomplished to resolve the situation, what specific Actions they took, and what was the Result or outcome of their actions. As a prospective employee, or someone looking to re-position, you’ll need to show how your qualities can help you–and your employer–succeed. Examples of past performance are a great way to demonstrate your value.
3. Practice a (New) Elevator Pitch. When people ask “what do you do?” make sure you incorporate what you Want to be Doing, not just what you currently do. So, you could answer “I’m a graphic designer specializing in animation, and I’m transitioning from corporate training to broadcast design.” OR “I’m the Executive Manager of a family of six, and I’m putting my organizational ninja skills to work as an educational administrator.” Even if you have not arrived yet, speaking about where you want to be is essential to the re-branding process.
4. Use Your Social Media Voice. Maybe you have a lot of detailed knowledge about a field, so it’s time for a blog to better position yourself as an expert. Or a microblog on Twitter in which you curate other content in your field and post helpful links. Or you want to show off your new business venture, so you should be posting daily pics on Instagram, and reposting via Twitpic and on Facebook. Or create Pinterest page. The key to making your social voice heard is offering content and insights that others find helpful. Social media has leveled the playing field, giving every entrepreneur and employee the same platform as large corporate players and celebs. So use it!
5. Leverage Linked In. Despite being launched before Facebook, and despite new interface upgrades that have made it more user-friendly, Linked In seems like the forgotten step-sister of the social media world. And yet HR professionals say they turn to LI consistently when filling positions. So take some easy steps on this network: build your profile, ask for recommendations, connect to Groups (at a Minimum, your college alumni group and at least one or two industry groups–the one you’re in or the one you want to be in). You can also use the powerful Search tool to find people within your own network who work in the field you want to be in, or even in the very company you are interested in.
And, just because I have one coming up, here’s a bonus tip:
6. Attend Reunions. When people are out of work or re-positioning their careers, often the last thing they want to do is attend a reunion (where everyone asks “What do you do?”). But here is the perfect place to practice your New elevator pitch! And more importantly, reunions give you a place to listen to others about what they do or don’t like about their fields, what qualities make someone successful in that field. So raise a glass with your classmates, who can help you find your way.
The New Year is a time for great new opportunities, and for us all to re-invent ourselves a bit. Go out there and enjoy your personal re-brand. It’s time!
Amy DeLouise is a speaker, brand consultant and multimedia producer who has often had to re-invent herself.