Simply put, your personal brand is what people think of
you. It’s the image you project to
others, and it’s how they distinguish you from everyone else,
professionally. It’s also how people who
don’t know you can find you and evaluate whether or not they want to work with,
recommend, or hire you.
When people think of you, what do they think? Bench
scientist, researcher, biotech expert, writer, lab tech, sales guru, marketing
manager, computer geek, public-relations person, etc… This is your
personal brand. If you’re thinking of a career change, the answer you’re
getting is probably different from the one you want, so you have some work to
What can you do to change your brand so that you can
transition into a different career?
Position Yourself for a New Market
Hopefully, you’ve already evaluated and identified the
transitional skills you can use in your new career and have begun gaining any
additional skills and experience that you may need. Conduct informational interviews to bridge
any gaps and try to find job shadowing opportunities. These are very helpful at communicating to
potential employers that you’re serious and committed to success in your new
endeavor—and they will give you the keywords you need for your new resume.
Think about how corporate brands market themselves. They are everywhere, and you should be,
too. Use every opportunity you can get
to establish your presence. You’re the
product in the job search and you need to figure out what you offer that a new
employer would want and find ways to tell them about it.
Utilize Your Network
Everyone you know needs to know about your plans for a
career change and you should provide a brief comment or two about why the new
career is a great fit (this comment should highlight your best attributes and
be concise, focused, and memorable).
Keep up with your network through phone calls or email. You never know where your next opportunity
might come from and someone in your network might be the key you need to unlock
Take Advantage of Online Resources
Don’t limit yourself to your real-world network. Use your online one, too. Facebook and Twitter are fantastic places to
post about your plans and what you’re doing to make it happen. Or if you can find a way, be a guest writer
on a blog with an article about your job shadowing experience. Also make sure all online photos of you are
professional and consistent.
You’d think this would be covered under online
resources, but LinkedIn deserves its own spot.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for any career changer to
have a professional profile
on LinkedIn with a summary that talks about who you are and
what you want. LinkedIn is a
tremendously valuable resource for you in terms of the research you can do on
specific companies, the groups you can join to make new contacts, and the
discussions you can participate in to establish yourself in a new field.