After months of contemplation and research, you’ve finally decided the time is right for you to take that next big career step. Whether that step is switching to a similar role in a slightly different field, or an entirely new role in an uncharted discipline, transitioning to an unfamiliar job is certainly a time of change. A career shift is not just an opportunity to create a new professional path; you also have the freedom to update your personal brand to utilize your potential in your freshly chosen career.
Clean Up All Social Media Profiles
LinkedIn, a social networking site designed for professionals, is a great way to create and maintain connections, providing you use the platform correctly. If you already have a LinkedIn profile, then it’s imperative you spend some time making it relevant to the career you’re pursuing. Search up professionals that are already in the industry you want to be in, and see what kind of experience helped them get to the positions they’re in. It’s also a good way to keep up with current events in the industry you’re trying to break in to. Every industry has its own unique “buzz words”, and including such terms in your profile and cover letters will help you stand out to hiring managers. However, only include keywords that have a relevant connection to your previous experience; stuffing your resume with irrelevant terms will likely result in your application being tossed in the trash.
On the topic of cleaning up your LinkedIn, it’s also important to make sure all of your other online profiles are clean as well. Even if you have strong privacy settings in place, it could be a good idea to delete any content you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see. Reaching out to your current network is a great way to find opportunities in a new field, and you never know who might be able to help you get the job of your dreams. You don’t want a slightly offensive post from 2012 to hold you back from realizing your fullest potential.
Seek Out Professional Feedback
As you make your career transition, it’s important to know what you can improve on professionally before entering a new field and role. While you’re still in your current role, seek out some professional feedback from both your managers and coworkers. A big step in upgrading your professional brand is being aware of what you excel at, and what you can work on. Even if you’re looking to drastically change careers, hearing constructive criticism or praise on a personal level from people that have worked with you for a long time will make it easier to answer behavioral questions in an interview, in addition to helping you build a stronger personal brand in your next role.
Know How to Look the Part
Different career fields typically have different standards when it comes to what is appropriate office attire. If you find yourself in an office that allows jeans and you’ve been wearing a full suit and tie for the past twenty years, you’ll have some adjusting to do, and vice versa. Before you make a career switch, it’s a good idea to look into what “dressing for success” looks like in your new industry. Even in the most casual settings, you should always dress in business professional attire for an interview. After you’ve gotten the job, you can relax a little bit, however, one should always err on the side of professional rather than casual for the purpose of maintaining a strong personal brand. Wearing ripped jeans that still have evidence of last weekend’s BBQ will not only make you seem less professional, but could hurt your chances of getting promoted.
When it comes to presenting yourself, clothing isn’t the only way to maximize your personal brand. Ladies looking to upgrade their professional image should go for a clean and natural makeup look in the office. Women that prefer a heavier face full of makeup should by no means stop applying it if that’s what makes them more confident, however, one should try to avoid the darker tones that are typically associated with a night out. Gentlemen looking to upgrade their look should make sure their facial hair is trimmed neatly with appropriate products for their preferred beard type. Showing up to work with wild, unruly facial hair or shaving cuts will distract from an overall strong professional brand.