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Candidate Branding

Write your next chapter and then become it

There is a point in everyone’s career however long or successful, when it is time for change. There are many reasons also, and many candidates refer to stagnation, lack of opportunities and even that their present employer doesn’t value them. The list goes on and on but there is no need for you to lose hope. This can be a sometimes scary but definitely exciting opportunity for you. The first thing to do is take a step back and start visualise that you are taking back control and it is entirely up to you, what you will to do next.

When you are pulling together a list of pros and cons don’t rush it, consider your dreams and what is going to make you excited about your next chapter but without raining on your parade before we get going, also factor in any practical constraints such as location, salary and experience. Notice that I didn’t say education! Companies are more than ever prepared to substitute good experience and a solid record over qualifications, so don’t lose heart if you didn’t manage to get that PHD.

Career Crossroads & Designing The New You

Then it’s time to give yourself a branding make-over and start to become your future self. You are in luck because there is a plethora things you can do to become the new you, without needing a head transplant. We now have the internet at the tip of our fingers and are empowered by social media.  Did you know that recruiters and hiring managers now scan the internet and social media when they are vetting candidates? It’s a fact, you just would if you could and so they do!

Think about all of your social media interactions with the world, when you tweet, post a picture to Instagram or post to Facebook. Is it the image that you want to send to future employers?

Updating your security settings can be helpful in some cases, but everyone has a personal life that they want to keep only for friends and not for the eyes of potential employers.

Think about the content and if you might reflect points of view that could put off a proportion of employers. Everyone has different opinions and, in most cases, that is quite healthy and acceptable, but in a more than ever polarised world, it is sensible think first and tweet much later!

I know people that lambast their own industry and it’s leading figures and at the same time hope that same forum will be a source of work. It’s unlikely, think about it, if you were American and you put MAGA at the top of your CV, you might just alienate a good portion of your potential employment base.

Going Face On Face Off

The number 1 place to start with your branding is likely to be Linkedin. Whatever you think of it,  Linkedin has become the go-to professional social hub and it is as important as your CV in many cases.

Start to join groups that are related to the subject matter of you next career and build your network and relationships around it. While you are interacting with related pages, people and groups, you are going to learn a lot about who it is that you want to become.  Pay attention, all of the information to prototype and deploy the new you is there!

You can start to gauge the distance between who you are now and where you want to get to and consider how you bridge that gap. You are now your own public relations consultant and you have to decide how best to sell yourself.

Start to lean your CV and your Linkedin profile into the new career that you want. Drawing out the related skills and experience and perhaps leaving out those bits that might not be so helpful, like the time you washed lettuce as a kid to save up for a new bike.

Remember, if you write a CV for the things you can do with your eyes shut and arms tied behind your back, that’s exactly the job that you will get so focus on the new you and the next challenge.

Have Self Belief

Strong personal branding needs self-belief and if you don’t have it, start the journey towards it. Connect and surround yourself with people that have admiration and respect for you personally and professionally, tell people what you know and start to mentor others. Teaching others will reinforce your own knowledge, create your own narrative, become a story teller and tell people who you are. Emerse yourself in the new you and before long, you will be contributing to those Linkedin pages and groups and giving other people this same advice.