How to brand yourself for the job you want
Are you trying to make a career transition or aiming to apply for roles just above your current position? It can be done, but there is a slightly different job hunting process. As part of the process you won’t just be telling potential employers about your current self and responsibilities but also your future capabilities. You need to re-brand yourself honestly, subtly but effectively on your resume, your cover letter and your online profiles.
But where do you even start? We’ve created this checklist of things to do in order to re-brand so you can achieve the job you want.
Evaluate your goals
It is important to explore what exactly you want to brand yourself as. What role or industry are you aiming to transition into? Discover this answer and then research the necessary qualifications and experience level that is required to be successful to shift over. This means you might have to undertake some extra study or seek out a mentor to give you insight and hands-on experience. Other times it can mean you simply have to expand your responsibilities in your current role.
Assess your current brand
Look through your existing resume and online presence and understand what you are currently representing. This is a huge help in determining what you need to change or steer away from gently. Our best tip here is to make a list of things you don’t want potential employers to focus on and a list of things you do want them to. This helps when editing your profiles and ensures you don’t leave anything out.
Write individual cover letters
A cover letter is the one place where you can directly tell your potential employer that you are aiming for a change. It is a good place to explain the ways in which you believe you could succeed in the position and add value to their company whilst being open about not having direct experience. Don’t be afraid to be honest. A 2018 study from Seek found that 84% of people involved in the hiring process would hire someone who recently changed careers. In addition, 61% of employers valued transferrable skills more than formal qualifications. This shows that majority of people understand the ability for people to switch careers without hindering their proficiencies.
Edit your resume
This is simply a must do task when re-branding. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Change your introduction to include transferrable skills. Write as if you are ready for the role. Instead of stating your current responsibilities, write about skills you have that will be detrimental to your success in the new role. Use words that indicate you are on a mission, and that you aspire to be in a position that allows you to use these skills.
- Don’t forget to add study or volunteer work you are undertaking or have recently completed that is relevant to the change in career.
- Make sure not to fudge any details… it will come out in the interview if you’ve lied on your resume, so don’t do it!
- Choose your wording carefully. Don’t use jargon from your current role. Write vivaciously and ensure you are showing the reader where you could add value to their organisation.
Do the same with your LinkedIn/Online presence
This is also very important. However, there are some precautions to take when dealing with an online public profile. You will need to make almost all the same changes as on your resume (except more broadly) but you should take your time. Doing this slowly is important so you don’t confuse people looking at your profile. Plus, most career transitions take time anyway. If done properly you will be able to change this as you take the necessary steps in your evolution.
Do note, if you haven’t openly discussed with a current employer about your desire to change careers or roles it can seem odd to see things changing on your profile. For example, you don’t want your headline to change drastically from one job to another… however, you could change it to personality/business characteristics that are admired in both your current position and your ideal position. You will also have to re-word your bio (as with your resume) and possibly the details of your job history to add relevant experience and transferrable skills. These sections are not often something your employer would check, nor are they usually published as updates.
In saying all this, our best advice is to confide in people you trust, including your manager, and discuss with them your interest in a career change. 51% of people in Australia consider a career change in their future according to Seek research, which indicates the normality of shifting jobs. Sharing your goals can be extremely helpful if you are seeking to move upward in the same industry. If you aren’t, it shows your employer respect through honesty and they may be able to connect you with people in their network who could aid the transition in some way.