How do you redefine yourself professionally, when you’ve spent several years getting it down pat the first time?
Timothy Brandt posed that question — sort of — to me and my Branding Yourself co-author Kyle Lacy last week on Twitter.
How can I start my IT bio when I received experiences from business positions?
For a long time, Timothy was the unofficial IT go-to guy for his office, department, and division, and has held that position for a long time. Now he wants to make it official and get into a Help Desk Technician position.
1. Start with a skills-based resume.
Most of us have been taught to write the chronological resume. But if you are switching jobs, like from pharmaceutical sales to the nonprofit world, or business position to technology position, focus on the things you do know. Use the skills-based resume, which lets you list your most important skills. List the 4 – 6 skills you’re best at and want to be known for, and list a couple of quantifiable accomplishments in each.
2. Start to think of yourself as that new position.
This is a mindset issue. Stop describing yourself as a “former _________.” Former means that you’re still thinking about it, and might go back to it one day. You’re moving on with your life, which means you’re a new _________. If it helps, say it to yourself in the mirror a few times each day. “I’m a Help Desk Technician. I’m a Help Desk Technician.” And yes, speak in capital letters if it helps you. (And when you go to networking meetings, introduce yourself as a new or aspiring professional, or even just say you are one. “I’m a new Help Desk Technician” gets you in the frame of mind to think of yourself this way.)
3. Identify an area of specialty in your new career.
Maybe you specialize in security or networking. Maybe in your new career, you’re making the jump from pharmaceutical sales to nonprofit fundraising. Whatever it is, make that your focus, and the area that you’d like to work on the most.
4. Now you’re ready to write your bio.
As you’re creating your new personal branding bio, you’re going to go through several versions in the weeks and months to come. That’s okay. You have to refine anything new you work on, so this is no different. You’ve written your resume and identified your strengths, you’ve recast yourself in your own mind as that new position, and you’ve even identified an area of specialty. Now you’re ready to write your bio.
Your short bio will go something like this: “I’m a new help desk technician who specializes in network security, as well as email management.”
Your longer bio will be a little more thorough, and will help people get a better understanding of what it is you do, and hope to accomplish.
“I’m a new help desk technician who specializes in network security, as well as email management. I realized I had a real knack for this work when I was the unofficial IT specialist for my last three employers. We didn’t have an official IT person, so these responsibilities usually fell to me, which meant I had to keep up on all the changes to the technology and the security issues we were facing.”
If you start by redefining yourself in your own mind, and recasting how you think of yourself, writing your personal branding bio should be a lot easier.
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, which he wrote with Jason Falls, is in bookstores and on Amazon now.