If you’re looking for a career move but you’re finding it difficult to transition, it might be that employers are overlooking you due to personal branding issues. The best way to overcome this hurdle is to re-brand yourself, then embark upon your transitional job search.
“We are all familiar with the word “brand” in a business sense, but in the modern business environment branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. This is especially true for job seekers who are looking for new career opportunities,” explains ManpowerGroup South Africa’s MD, Lyndy van den Barselaar.
“What do you hope for people to associate with you when they think of your name? Is there a certain subject matter in which you want to be perceived as an expert, or are there general qualities you want linked to your personal brand? These are the kinds of things you should be considering when thinking about your personal brand. Once you understand the dynamics around how you’d like your brand to be perceived, you can begin thinking strategically in terms of its creation.”
Van den Barselaar suggests following these tips for a successful career re-branding effort:
Assess your skills and your career goals.
Do your skills and career goals match? Identify where you need to improve your personal brand image to fit your new career goals, and where you need to improve upon your skills.
“Remember that while you may consider a new career path, you will not see your experience the same way as potential employers do. By re-branding, you can change the way you present yourself and the language you use to describe your past experience, to ensure that it matches your new career goals in the best way possible. An honest assessment of yourself is the best place to start,” says van den Barselaar.
Look at your CV
Your CV is an important reflection of your work experience, but it’s also a reflection of your career goals. Change the language on your CV to reflect your new brand image and career goals.
“It may be a good idea to look at how you can update the format of your CV to better match your new career goals, and start to move away from the usual Word Document or PDF. You might even find ways to incorporate your specific talents and skills sets in creating the CV – such as through video,” suggests van den Barselaar.
Assess your outward image
The way you dress, and the image that you adopt has a reflection of the type of person and employee that you are. Make subtle changes to your dress code to reflect your career ambition, drive, and goals.
“While skills, experience and work ethic are most important when it comes to advancing your career, your outward image is incredibly important in making a first impression – a prominent factor in finding a new job,” says van den Barselaar.
Speak to your leaders
Ask your leaders what they view your strengths are and where there are opportunities for growth.
Do your work habits reflect your career goals? A little feedback from your leader can help you identify your blind spots and give you a better picture of what other potential managers and leaders may see. You can then establish a plan to work on improving areas that are holding you back. Your leader should be able to help you establish career goals and achieve them through an on-going career conversation.
“Career transitions can be a difficult time, but they are much easier if you begin them with the end goal in mind. Know your career goals, make sure your personal branding matches up to your goals and your skills, and present yourself with confidence to employers ready to have a career conversation with you,” concludes Van den Barselaar.