Making the switch to a new career is an emotional process no matter your age or career stage. You are taking a giant leap of faith to leave the career you have behind and transition into something new. When you once had confidence in your abundant experience, you are now potentially left with varying levels of self-doubt. Throughout this entire change, you shouldn’t feel discouraged. This time of uncertainty is also a time for exciting change.
If you’re going to give your career a makeover, it’s important to also give your brand a makeover too. Believe it or not, your personal brand is just as important to your success as any company’s brand is to theirs. This makeover is about branding yourself for the job you’re looking for to make yourself marketable.
A big question when transitioning careers is whether hiring managers will consider you for open positions when your resume doesn’t seem to show any relevant experiences in your past? Your new brand will highlight any transferable skills from your previous career, communicate why they are relevant in your new career and lay out how they will help you be successful. It will also bring forward any qualities or abilities that weren’t showcased in your previous career, but are helpful, or even necessary, in your new one.
When constructing your new brand, try not to focus too hard on what you were doing in the career you left. You don’t want a hiring manager to question why they would want to hire someone with such a different job background than what they are looking for. It most likely won’t be easy, but you have to change who you think you are. You can no longer envision yourself as you were in your previous career, you have to completely embody your new industry. This means you have to also adapt your self-perception. You must believe that the work you have done has prepared you for your next job. You can’t doubt yourself or question your decisions. This mindset will help you become more confident in your ability to be successful in your new field.
In today’s digital era, it’s not only about the brand you put out through your resume. It’s also about the brand that you embody online. In the early stages of your career switch, you should begin to rework your online presence and pivot your social media posts to include news and updates about the field you’re transitioning into. This can be done by following industry leaders, companies and trending topics. Take a moment to reflect on what employers will find when they Google you. Will they only find resources about the field you were previously in? Or will they see that you are making a conscious effort to gain knowledge in your new industry? Continue to rebrand your online presence by getting out there. Join LinkedIn groups or follow influential people on Twitter. Make sure to introduce yourself, ask questions and make yourself known!
As you reach the final stretch of your rebranding, take a moment to reflect. You just took on an incredible transformation! This is a big life change and you should be proud of yourself. This is now the time to enjoy your new career. Hopefully you made this change because you wanted to. People choose to switch careers for a variety of reasons – maybe you wanted more job flexibility, there weren’t the career opportunities in your geographical area, or you simply needed a change. Either way, you knew you’d be good at this new career, now you have to let others know that too.
Contrary to popular belief, re-branding yourself doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. It’s all about leveraging your existing knowledge and abilities and knowing how to enhance what you’ve already got. Have you recently embarked on a career change? Share your experiences in the comments below!
By: Rebecca Clausen