5 tips for career rebranding

Changing careers can be difficult and daunting. Here are 5 quick tips for making a career change and rebranding yourself professionally.

non management career paths
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Are you stuck in a rut at work? Bored? Feel like you’re on a career train to nowhere?  Need a change?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re not unlike many professionals I come across in my work. People get busy with the routine of their jobs and sometimes wake up years later and wonder what happened to the time, realizing they’ve been going through the motions without enjoying what they’ve been doing. Other times, people stick with a profession they are not passionate about because it is just the path of least resistance. It’s hard to choose change, and it’s even harder to bring about change.

Recently, I mentored someone through the SMU Digital Accelerator program – let’s call him John – who was very successful in choosing to rebrand himself and change both industry and function. John was with a large IT staffing and consulting company for a long time, and had taken a role in IT infrastructure project management to gain broader management experience and increase his promotability. John realized one day that he really wanted to get back to his early-career roots of UX and to a role where digital transformation was important, but his company had him locked on another career path. Through soul searching, self-assessment, and self-reflection, John knew he needed to make a change. He successfully rebranded himself, focusing on his core strengths and interests, and he landed his dream job with a large financial services company doing exactly what he wanted to do: delight customers with an incredible user experience.

Although John had to go outside of his company to find the career he wanted, sometimes the right opportunity can be within your current employer, so don’t be afraid to explore options internally.

Whether looking to change career paths within or outside of a company, here are five tips to keep in mind as you prepare to make your move.

  1. Know thyself. Take the time to step back and really understand your strengths, weaknesses, interests, and drivers. Consider taking an assessment to help give you insights into what makes you tick. Working with John, we used a Hogan Personality Assessment, but there are many useful tools out there.
  2. Research suitable career change options until you find ones that line up with your interests and drivers. Get an informational interview or two with people who are in those careers. You’ll be surprised how much people are willing to share – both good and bad – about their jobs.
  3. Understand what skills you bring to the table for the career you want to pursue, and brand yourself accordingly. It’s likely that you have a lot of skills that would translate to the new role – the key is to make sure those are highlighted and that your professional brand aligns with your career interests.
  4. Understand what skills you may not bring to the table, and work to develop them.  This can take time, and sometimes it may require formal training.  Understand that it may take a while for you to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to make the transition.  And, while you’re developing those skills…
  5. Network, network, network. Get plugged into relevant associations, professional networking groups, or even nonprofits that align with your desired career. Start getting to know people; help people when you can and they’ll help you when you’re ready to change careers.

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