How to Use Your Personal Brand to Switch Careers

Your brand is what you’re known for and what you’re known for knowing. Use that to your advantage in making a career transition.

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You’re not in the job market — you’re in the opportunity market.

As such, branding is no longer a novelty; it’s a necessity. It’s the price of admission. And it’s got nothing to do with dressing for success, company logos or flashy Web sites.

Branding is the best version of you.

Branding is how people experience you.

Branding is how people experience themselves in relation to you.

Branding is what you’re known for, what you’re known as and what you’re known for knowing.

Think of it from an algebraic perspective: Your brand is the coefficient, and the goal is to make that number a little stronger every day. That way, when a new job enters the equation, you’re prepared to multiply the hell out of it.

Here’s how to use your personal brand to pave the way for career transition:

    1. Develop a predisposition to compromise. Meeting life in the middle doesn’t make you weak or small — it makes you human and malleable. And if you’re starting over, I can’t think of two more appropriate adjectives to describe your ideal state of being. Ask these questions: What if you adapted your skills to a more vibrant industry? What if you repackaged your talents into a volunteerism lifestyle until the economy shifted? And what if you gave away your talent to the market until they were ready to pay for it? Remember: Don’t commit solely to one course of action — cast a wider net. Learn to live larger than your labels, uncover new territory for personal and professional expansion and profitable use of everything you are. Will you accept the flux of life — then learn to ride it?
    2. Quality can’t be your sole signature. People need to fall in love with your process as much as your product. Because if they don’t love the person doing the work as much as the work itself, starting over is going to take forever. My suggestion: Articulate the portrait of the person you want to be. Start serving people from who you are — not who you pretend to be. As you extend your brand into the marketplace, consider branding your service, your language and your honesty. That’s what will get you noticed, get you remembered and get you the job. What gives your personal brand its power?
    3. Make creativity a conscious priority. Readers often ask me how I decide what to write about each day. My answer is simple: “I don’t — I just listen for what wants to be written.” That’s how creativity works: It’s a process of surrendering. And if you plan to start over, that’s the smartest attitude to maintain. Opportunity never stops knocking — you just stop listening.The secret is to lock into the right frame of mind to pursue opportunities as they arise, to maintain the emotional willingness to open yourself to new possibilities. For example: Examine the smallest revenue centers of your business. Then ask, “With some reinvention could this become a brand-new business unit?” Who knows? By giving your artistic voice another outlet, you might activate a market segment that just can’t wait for your arrival. Remember: Creativity isn’t an entitlement — it is nurtured by constant cultivation.
    4. Create a network of human healing. In the book, “Who Gets Sick,” Blair Justice revealed how beliefs, moods and thoughts affected health. In one particular study, his research found that social support protects your health by reducing the intensity with which you look at and react to stressful events. What they failed to mention, however, was that you don’t realize how strong your support system is until the world on top of it collapses. And trust me: You don’t want to wait for that to happen.If you plan to start over, plan to create a network of healing to keep you alive in the process. Because without support from your loved ones, the road less traveled will become very winding. The point is: Success never comes unassisted. Your personal brand can be an island. Ask for help early and often. And believe that the people who love you most want nothing more than the opportunity to come through and show you so. Do you live in an atmosphere of encouragement and expectation-free support?

Remember: Branding isn’t a novelty — it’s a necessity.

As you make the transition through the opportunity market — not the job market — remember that if you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.

Let me ask you this: How do people experience you?

Scott Ginsberg Scott Ginsberg

Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of nine books, an award-winning blogger and the creator of NametagTV.com. He's the only person in the world who wears a nametag 24-7 and advises companies on how to leverage approachability into profitability.

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