This section is designed to help you begin reinventing yourself. If you are seeking a new career, the skills inventory below, courtesy of Frederick G. Thompson, takes you through the process of assessing your skills, matching them to new fields, and marketing yourself. Thompson is an adjunct professor at University of Virginia Darden School of Business and founder and principal of the Communications Collaborative, a marketing and brand consultancy.
Take an inventory of both hard and soft skills your current and/or past career experiences have required.
The inventory process is also an opportunity to evaluate what position requirements you don’t enjoy or you’re uncomfortable with. Remember, the job transition process is intended to help you identify and secure a new position that is not only suited to the skills you already possess but one that will be more enjoyable and fulfilling.
The goal of the inventory process is to record—or inventory—a list of skills and talents that will demonstrate to an employer in a new job category that you are qualified to fill a position in that category.
This is not an easy process. For some individuals, it will be intuitive, but others may have a lot of uncertainty as to how or where a given skills inventory might best be applied. Fol- lowing are some guidelines that will help you match skills with a desired career transition target.
Once transitioning job seekers are confident that their newly inventoried skills are aligned with the skills their new career area requires, they are ready to take the third and final step— actively seeking positions in their chosen transition field. This process is complicated, of course, since the candidate in most cases has never actually worked in the new field and must “market” his or her suitability for the new position based largely on skills carried over from previous positions. Here are some guidelines for making this important phase of the transition process more successful.
Personal branding is an important part of reinvention and much more than a simple “look at me” tactic. It’s how you’re perceived by others and a shortcut to people understanding what you’re about. Here are fifteen questions to ask yourself, provided by William Arruda, motivational speaker, author, and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, the global leader in personal branding.
Branding is based in authenticity. It’s not spin. It’s not pack- aging. And it’s not about creating a false image for the out- side world. You need to know yourself—truly know yourself—to build your brand. That means you must get clear on your goals, values, passions, mission, strengths, and differentiation. These questions will help you uncover your brand.
So how do you get your personal brand off the ground? Here are eight tips to do just that, along with a brief introduction from Stacey Ross Cohen, CEO of Co-Communications, cofounder of College Prime, speaker, and author.
Many of us hit midlife and crave a career change but are stumped on how to begin. The solution: personal branding. In short, personal branding differentiates you from the crowd and is about the marketing of you. Although it may seem brands “just happen,” those who actively craft their own brand and deliver their standout value reap many benefits—career advancement, business opportunities, and more.
Start by defining yourself. Determine what you do well, what you love to do, and your identity and vision. Then own it. This all starts with a self-audit to pinpoint your purpose, strengths, values, and passion. It’s essential to crystallize your uniqueness—or competitive advantage—and why you’re a worthy investment. Equally important is understanding your audience: what they need, how they function, and what drives them to take action.
Why should your target audience employ you? What’s your value? What makes you stand out from the host of other applicants? You need to stress your value and strengths. But avoid tailoring your brand too much to the audience. Make your brand about you first.
Networking is face-to-face marketing. Don’t focus on how many people you meet networking—focus on meeting the right people. Building relationships is the core of effective networking.
Maintain a consistent voice across different channels. Ensure your LinkedIn, Twitter, and other profiles are up-to-date and in harmony.
Always seek feedback. Ensure your brand is clearly articulated and know how to deliver on your brand and make it grow.
Reputation management is key. The digital footprint one leaves across the internet is the encapsulation of his or her personal brand.
Your tool kit should include but not be limited to: social media, blogging, volunteer work, and speaking at industry conferences. Consider all touch points, like email, phone calls, and mailed greetings. To stand out, develop a resumé with keywords and customized infographics along with powerful business cards and headshots. And create and share content that will position you as a thought leader.
Remember: you are the product. Gauge your brand behavior and ensure you return phone calls and emails promptly. Not delivering on promises can wreak havoc on the integrity of your personal brand.
Part of reinvention is crafting a compelling story when you are pitching yourself on a sales call or a business meeting or networking. Here are five things to keep in mind from Precious Williams, the founder and CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious, a media training, elevator pitches, sales, and branding company.
Creating the Perfect Power Pitch
Keep your ideas clear, concise, and brief. A brilliant idea means nothing unless you can deliver it in a few moments of raw power. The more concise you can be, the more effective you will be. When you have written the content of your presentation, take the time to map out how it will be delivered. When practicing your presentation, attempt to replicate the actual delivery as closely as possible.
Storytelling is an essential aspect of sales pitches. It paints a picture of what life could be like with your product. Use your story to dramatize, build engagement, and elicit emotional responses to seemingly emotionless objects and catch the attention of your audience.
Pitching is about having the charisma, allure, and passion to get other people excited about what you’re presenting. Be cautious not to take it overboard to the point where you seem arrogant. A good technique for increasing your energy level is to add about 50 percent more energy than you feel comfortable with.
Understand that objections are usually nothing more than a mechanism that we use to get comfortable with what others are proposing before we agree with it. When people have an interest in what you are saying, they will certainly have questions. By formulating skillful and persuasive answers to these tough questions, it will help you demonstrate the array of abilities and traits that investors want to see.
Your product may come with many wonderful features for customers to explore. Obviously, a lot of time and effort went into creating it. However, prospects are truly most interested in what your product can do for them. How exactly does your product solve their biggest problems? How much money will they save by using your product? And will using your product free up their time or improve their lives?
Be consistent, reliable, and follow through on your word. Continue to follow up until you either get a yes or a definite no. Do not interpret a lack of response or any other kind of message as a no.
You can assist your reinvention and rebranding by ensuring you have a healthy lifestyle. Here are some facts to get you thinking about your own health and wellness, courtesy of Dr. Marion Recktenwald, founder of Thrive with Marion and Aging with Joy.
Did you know that:
Optimized and carefully targeted movement—when supported by other healthy lifestyle factors—can be the biggest blockbuster medication for body and brain at relatively low or no cost and without negative side effects.