We all have a public image many of us have worked hard to cultivate. But sometimes, you want to change that image, or “rebrand” yourself. This is often done when someone wants to change careers or step into leadership roles. Regardless of the goal, when changing your image, you will need to persuade others to embrace the new you. Your personal brand is a reflection of how you “show up” in the world.
Here are some steps you can take when reinventing yourself.
Define your destination
Before you begin your rebranding effort, take the time to develop a plan. Start with research by reviewing industry trade journals, conducting informational interviews and obtaining a mentor. Next, build the skills you will need. For example, if you are a game developer who wants to move into video-game marketing, you may know the technology, but technical savvy won’t be enough for a new role. Asking yourself what new skills you’ll need to gain and decide how you’ll achieve them will get you closer to obtaining your goal.
Use your differences for your advantage
You have something about you people remember. When changing your brand, you can use this to your advantage. Ask yourself what value you provide, how you do it uniquely and you who you do if for. Form a picture about what you have to offer others and put it together to show the world.
Develop a narrative
You must develop a coherent narrative that explains how your past developed into your present and also illustrates the direction you are planning to take your career. The key to success is to focus on the value your prior experience brings rather than explaining your transition in terms of your own interests.
Now it’s time to put your new personal brand out there. Make sure all of your contact points such as your resume, LinkedIn and social media profiles are consistent with your new image. Reach out to people you know and ask for help in spreading the word about your change. Make meaningful contacts in your industry and ask for testimonials as you work with clients in your new role. The more connections you make, the more likely it is that your new brand will be known and recognized.
Owning your personal brand seems like it should be easy. After all, it’s your story and you created it, so you automatically own it. But ownership isn’t always that simple. To own a personal brand, you need to view it as a living entity, not as something you craft once and then never change. Creating, developing and maintaining your personal brand makes sense on an ongoing basis.
As you continue to grow as a professional your industry will likely evolve as well, and you may need to adapt accordingly. Your personal brand reflects how you portray yourself to the world. It can be the difference between getting an interview and getting a job, and it all depends on how you tell your story.