Four Steps To Prepare Yourself For A Career Change | Personal Branding Blog - Stand Out In Your Career


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  • Four Steps To Prepare Yourself For A Career Change

    When you want to change careers — to a new field, a new industry or both — your personal brand can feel like a ball and chain weighing you down.

    It can seem like your brand does is HURT your plans to change careers, rather than helping you achieve your goals.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Four transition steps

    With a few simple exercises, you can re-mold your personal brand from a ball-and-chain holding you back into the motor driving your career transition.

    Step Number One: Answer the Why

    You’ve heard me talk about stories time and again. Well, its because they are important. People communicate and learn via stories and you’re going to need a great one to guide your newly reshaped personal brand.

    Start by asking yourself some questions:

    1. What interests your about your new field or industry?
    2. Are there specific aspects of your new potential career that motivate you?
    3. What experiences or conversations have you had that make you think this is what you want?
    4. What about you will help you be successful at your new venture?

    Once you’ve got the answer to those, write out 2-3 sentences that describe the “pull” of getting into your new career.

    Now that you’ve got the honest, transparent version of your statement, run it through what I call your “marketing filter” by asking yourself… What would my potential boss want to hear about this?

    Once you’ve thought about that, write down your one-sentence, hyper-compelling reason why you want to make the change.

    Step Number Two: Describe How Your Past Supports Your Future

    Take a few minutes and think about how all the things in your past have helped shape you into the person you are today. Now consider how this past – and especially your work history – will help you succeed at the future.

    Write down a list of at least three things that will help you succeed in the future in each of these categories:

    • Characteristics or Personality Traits
    • Skills
    • Achievements
    • Interacting with People

    Get outside of the box while you are thinking about it: if you are a tax lawyer, you’ve no doubt learned how to manage stress, intensely tight deadlines, and prioritization skills for the tax season. If you were in sales, but now want to get into advertising, you have on-the-ground knowledge of what makes people buy — and what keeps them from doing it.

    This is your new list of transferable skills and a blueprint for selling yourself to potential employers.

    Step Three: Build a Network

    We’ve all heard its not what you know, but who you know — you are MOST likely to get hired through a personal connection.

    Not only will building a network help you find opportunities, but it will also help you ensure that the career change is what you want, and the organization you work for is aligned with your ambitions. After all, a career change to a field or a company that isn’t a good fit is not what you want at all!

    To make networking happen, follow these steps:

    • Send an email to your close friends and family asking for referrals or introductions in your new field or industry, they’ll be happy to help!
    • Make a list of 10 people in the area you want to focus on and reach out to one per day for the next 2 weeks asking for an informational interview
    • Find 3 networking opportunities in your new niche — events, classes, parties — in the next month and attend them all.

    Building a network, although sometimes intimidating is more than worth the effort.

    Step Four: Show the Skills / Do Some Work for Free

    Its time to get down and dirty — to show the skills that you’ve got.

    You can do this by finding a way to display them: creating a website with your graphic design work or calling up the hiring manager and “closing the sale” on an interview.

    Or, you can do this by offering up some free work. Trying to break into copywriting? Find something at your dream company that you can improve, do it, engage them with it, see where it goes. If nothing else, you will develop a portfolio of work for yourself in your newly desired career!

    You can also reach out to a non-profit, charity or club and offer to do the same work for them!

    Bottom line, if you follow these four steps, you will have a killer personal branding story for your career change.

    That story will power you into your latest, greatest and most joyful success yet.

    Good luck and happy career-changing!

    Author:

    Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.

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    Posted in Career Development, Job Search, Networking, Personal Branding
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    2 comments on “Four Steps To Prepare Yourself For A Career Change
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Marc Miller says:

      Rebecca,
      Really good advice with one major exception. I tell my clients to never ask for an Informational Interview! What you ask for is “advice”. More importantly you ask for A-I-R or Advice, Insights and Recommendations. When you ask for an “informational interview” it means you are looking for a job. Many hiring managers will run and not look back. On the other hand when you ask for advice. It is a complement and you will rarely be turned down.

      I wrote a blog post last year on this topic.
      http://careerpivot.com/2011/strategic-networking-asking-for-a-i-r/

    2. avatar
      EXPERT

      Great tips. I think these four tips are also applicable for those who plan to change status : from an employee to be an entrepreneur.

    2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Four Steps To Prepare Yourself For A Career Change"
    1. [...] a recent post from Personal Branding Blog, Rebecca Rapple guided her readers through four transition steps to ease into a new career without [...]

    2. [...] Your personal brand will need to be re-evaluated to go along with your new goals. In “Four Steps To Prepare Yourself For A Career Change,” Rebecca Rapple advises job seekers to have a personal branding story for their career [...]

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