Perhaps you’re struggling in a job search. You’re ambitious but underemployed, or worse – unemployed.
You’re not alone. Millions of professionals are trying to solve similar puzzles.
The good news is that you can rebrand yourself for a rewarding career. That is if you lay a foundation for liftoff with the right tools and fuel to turbo charge your career blastoff.
The Saturn V Rocket launch of December 7, 1972 – NASA
It’s important to understand the mindsets of employers. In this improved economy, many companies still have the same dilemma – they’re struggling to reinvent themselves to create profits. Of course, the businesses need to plan strategically to build a foundation for their sustainability.
Meantime, executives are picky. They want people who understand and implement their vision for growth. They only want to hire people who will be a good fit in their cultures – employees who will help propel them to become profitable.
Before hiring a person, they look for emotional intelligence. They research an applicant on the Internet. They read blogs and research social media. They require applicants to audition and take tests. You get the idea, right?
All of this means you must be proficient in career guerilla warfare – AKA self promotion – in order to stand out.
Here’s how to rebrand you:
1. Make sure you’re ready to rebrand.
Lay the proper foundations. Decide on what you want to do in your next career. That requires some thoughtful reflection and footwork – you must plan for your career change.
2. Develop a reputation as an expert.
Read and study applicable thought leadership. Sign up for white papers, reports, newsletters, and webinars. Stay up-to-date on current events, and read business sections in Sunday newspapers and business-pages about people who earn promotions. Follow successful people in your profession on social media.
Get published as a guest blogger. What’s even better, launch a professionally looking blog. It can be done cheaply. With any luck in using the right keywords, employers will find you. If you get an interview, share links to your blog with the interviewer. Blogs can be good platforms to demonstrate expertise, knowledge and organizational skills. In other words, have a presence in the room before an interview.
On media Web sites, comment on articles. E-mail the reporters who have a niche or beat to let them know you’re available to provide comments if they write stories in your profession or field. (If you need to review them, see the 25 best practices for better business writing.)
3. Review and enhance your social media.
You should have a professional presence on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But be careful what you share.
Employers want to know how you can help them grow and make a dollar. Mention your experience but be forward-looking. Emphasize an image of where you’re going – not what you’ve done. Help readers to visualize what you can become and the results they can expect from your performance.
Maintain a delicate balance: Keep your self-promotion factual but not ostentatious by using trite adjectives, such as calling yourself as an “expert.” (As for Twitter, when you’re ready, implement the 7 tips to tweet your way to a great new job – seriously.)
4. Find a need to fill.
Know your target audience for your new capabilities. Research prospective employers that will benefit, if they hire you. Determine their strengths and weaknesses. Know their marketplace. Again, find a need to fill.
As in tip No. 2, try to get published in publications that are probably read by the decision-makers.
5. Start networking.
Take a risk where others can see you. Go to association, chamber of commerce and LinkedIn meetings. Meet with people. Make friends by listening – make the discussions about them. Offer good ideas. Be part of the solutions. Volunteer to help.
Keep your dignity. Ask for suggestions, but never ask someone to help you find a job.
Note to ambitious young professionals: As a young person studying broadcast journalism in college, I learned an important lesson: Many executives love people who listen, and they love to share their vision and to opine.
How did I learn this? I’d telephone broadcasting executives asking them to meet for their advice on my career studies. Guess what? I got job offers at the end of the meetings.
After graduating, when I was stuck I continued the practice. I’d get great counsel, and sometimes I’d get a job offer on-the-spot.
As for interfacing with others, appearances count. Consider that in 98 percent of all conversations, there are opportunities to say one or more of these three phrases:
- Thank you
- You’re welcome
That goes for everyone — including with the receptionists at prospective employers — thoughtfulness is very important for rebranding.
True, these rebranding steps represent a lot of footwork. But they work and you’re worth it. By now, you’ve concluded that rebranding is a long race – a marathon. So keep it fun and good luck.
Oh, and after you land your dream position, continue to market yourself. This will ensure you don’t have to start from scratch in your next job search. It will also help to land promotions.
From the Coach’s Corner, more relevant tips:
5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application — To sail through the human resources filtering system, here are five online-application tips.
HR – Interviewers Give Higher Marks to Applicants Interviewed Early in the Day — Study has implications for HR professionals and job hunters, alike Interviewers often mistakenly give higher ratings to job job seekers – whom they interview early in the day – at the expense of other applicants. That’s one of the conclusions from research of 10 years of data from more than 9,000 MBA interviews.
Career Strategies: How to Get a C-Level Job — If you’re climbing the corporate ladder and have designs on a C-level job, a noted Stanford University professor has some excellent advice.
I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.