This week I had several clients who requested my help as they position themselves for new careers. These clients were business professionals who were specifically looking to transition to a new job in the near future (like tomorrow), but wanted to overhaul their resume and professional portfolio as they solicit interviews.
While these particular clients were in a hurry to make moves and overhaul their marketing materials, there are actually many things a business professional can do while working at a job, to build his/her personal brand, so that they may have a smooth transition in finding a new job or shift to a new work industry.
First, let’s establish what a brand is. A brand is everything that you present to the world that leaves them with an impression of who you are and what you stand for. Your personal brand includes everything from your personal style (fashion, hair), to the way you communicate (your voice, presentation skills), to what you stand for (your values, beliefs), to what you actually deliver (what type of employee are you?)…A brand is the music album called you. (Yes, I personally love this last line, because it’s so true. Oh, now back to our regularly scheduled blog post!)
Are you working a 9-5 and want to position your brand for the next stop in your career journey? Well, below are 5 things you can do right now to prepare your brand for success.
1. Capture your work history in the moment. Sometimes we wait until it’s time to look for a job to update our resume. Don’t do this! Whenever I am responsible for mentoring a new intern on my team, I advise them to keep track of key responsibilities and important projects during their internship. You can do this by taking notes—while you are working—of memorable tasks and projects. Additionally, if any of your key work projects were filmed or recorded, or even highlighted in the media, save those files. Having the ability to visually tell your story at a later date is a plus.
2. Take advantage of free training. I still sigh slowly and wonder why I didn’t take advantage of free money. My first full time job after college actually offered $8,500 in tuition reimbursement. Since it was an advertising agency, there were actually cool classes such as improvisation that I could take, because that type of skill was relevant to our daily jobs. (In advertising, you are constantly pitching ideas to your clients so it is important to feel comfortable presenting and being able to think quickly on your feet.) If your 9-5 offers tuition reimbursement and/or free training and certification opportunities, don’t miss out. This boost in educational experience will only enhance your brand.
3. Volunteer to get the work experience you desire. I meet people all the time who want to transition to a new career, but they feel stuck. They feel that any new company and industry will be unable to view them in a light which separates them from what they have been doing at their 9-5. The way to work around this is to gain valuable experience in the industry you want to work in by volunteering. When I was working in advertising, I always knew that I wanted a job in the future, which involved public relations. However, I didn’t let my current status stop me from consistently working on my brand. For several years I volunteered as the Public Relations co-chair and chair of the Chicago Urban League Young Professionals (MetroBoard). Did I get paid? No. Did I love what I was doing? Did I establish my brand in this industry? Did I receive mentoring and resume bullet points? Yes! Yes! Yes!
4. Create an award-winning career at your current 9-5. Trust me, I realize that this is easier said than done, but even if you aren’t working at your favorite job, find ways to be a part of remarkable projects and committees that will stand out on your resume. At the end of the day, a new employer wants to know that you will be a valuable asset to their company and your work will contribute to the their company’s success. Thus, think twice before passing on those projects that “they don’t pay you for!”
5. Get your marketing materials in order. While every industry is different, there are key branding tools that will help tell your story. They include an updated resume; a personal business card; a LinkedIn profile or personal branding page on a site like About.Me; and a portfolio. Your portfolio could be in the form of a website, downloadable presentation or a printed booklet. In your portfolio you can include your resume, bio, references, recommendation letters, key career highlights, and photos/videos that visually tell the story of remarkable moments in your career.
With these five tips, you are on your way to giving your brand the extra shine it deserves and needs, to strategically move to the next stop on your career journey.
Wishing you all the best, Business Rock Stars!
Do you have ideas on ways business professionals can position their brand for a new career, while at their current 9-5? What are they? Leave me a thought below or tweet them to me at @bestrategicPR. #BeStrategic #business #professional #branding