Companies do it, non-profits do it, even governments do it: rebranding. But did you know that rebranding yourself might be a smart career move?
Think about it: you’re a different person now than when you just finished college. And even if you’re just a couple of years into your career, you’ve developed significantly since that first entry-level job. You have more experience, different priorities, maybe even a different worldview. And the further you progress in your career, the more your experience, skills, and workstyle evolve.
But now ask yourself, does your reputation reflect the professional persona you’ve become? Does your appearance support it? Is your online presence in synch with who you are? What about your professional memberships and alliances?
It’s a fact that though most people in your professional network will know your name and maybe even remember what your picture on your LinkedIn profile looks like, very few will be aware of the full breadth and depth of what you offer professionally. There’s a huge difference between being an app developer and being one of the developers that created the Google+ app, right?
If you want to take your career to the next level, you need to rebrand yourself. You need to make it easy for peers, colleagues, and employers to see your experience and recognize the value you can add to their projects and/or companies. In short, you need to make them want you.
Tips for rebranding yourself
Rebranding yourself isn’t simply about getting a new haircut or changing the way you dress, though both can be important. It’s about bringing your strongest points to the forefront and using everything you have to support them. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Determine what your strongest points are. As Alex Simon points out in his Careerealism article titled “4 Signs It’s Time to Rebrand Yourself,” you should consider yourself a package of strengths and skills. Are you technically proficient in your field? Are you a great leader who knows how to make strategic decisions? Or are you an innovator who’s always on the cutting edge of developments? Make a list of your strongest points.
- Pinpoint what your unique value proposition is. There are literally millions of other workers out there with great technical skills, awesome leadership abilities, and innovative ideas. So why are you special? Maybe it’s because you possess a unique combination of technical skills that few other people have. Or perhaps you’ve proven time and again that you stay cool even under the worst possible pressure. Or maybe your drive to innovate positions you at the absolute frontier of developments in your field. Define why an employer should choose you over all of those other people with similar skillsets.
- Represent your brand. From how you dress and compose emails to how your social media accounts and web page look, you should represent your brand. Update all of your social media accounts with recent photos and an current résumé. List any new certifications, degrees, or licenses you’ve earned. Review your professional memberships, and join any other associations that add to your credibility. If you can, work with a graphic designer to create new business cards and update your website’s graphics.
- Prove your value. As Dorie Clark points out in her Harvard Business Review article titled “Reinventing Your Personal Brand,” you need to prove your worth. On your social media profiles and website, list high-profile projects you’ve worked on, as well as testimonials from supervisors and clients. Note any articles you’ve written for trade publications, and any other activities you’ve done, such as speaking at conferences, conducting workshops, etc.
It’s critical to note that you should be completely authentic in your rebranding. If you create an image of yourself that’s not truthful, then you’ll have a hard time living up to it. Plus, most people instinctively know when someone’s not completely honest. So resist the temptation to embellish the truth and instead, be confident in who you are. Remember: life is a journey, so if you haven’t yet achieved something, there’s still time to do so.