How to reinvent your personal brand after a career change

career change

Carlii Lyon Public Relations founder Carlii Lyon. Source: supplied.

They say there are two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. I would like to add a third: change.

We may not like to admit it when times are good, and we forget the fact when times are bad, but it is inevitable that life keeps moving and everything changes.

This includes our career path as we grow and evolve, learn new things and develop new passions. According to career statistics, the average person will change careers between five and seven times in their lifetime. Whatever the reason or amount of times we start something new, with social media a constant factor in our lives, any change of direction is now on show for all to see.

I was reminded of this recently after working with two very different clients, who were changing careers and reinventing their personal brands. Both were on very different paths and both were concerned about what their existing network, including friends and family, would think of their new direction. One client was a business strategist with a defence background launching herself as a travel photographer; the other was a well-known jewellery designer who had decided to pursue a career in hypnotherapy.

On the road to reinventing their personal brands, I suggested the following three steps.

1. Find the link

Acknowledge your past and ensure it is part of your story going forward.

Even if the only link between your past career and future endeavour is you and your personal experience, your honest insight is powerful, and if communicated effectively via storytelling, it offers a great opportunity to connect with not only your existing network but also an entirely new one.

2. Ensure your story is consistent, both in person and online

A simple Google search will help you discover if there are any gaps in your story online.

Ensure you are communicating the change on all personal platforms so the message is consistent.

Like a new outfit or hairdo, a new photo online in many ways is a digital representation of change and can help communicate your new journey visually.

3. Educate your current network

Take the time to share your change with your current network both personally and digitally. This can be in the form of a simple phone call, a personal email, or as elaborate as a launch party.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, one of the biggest assets in anyone’s life is a generous network. Both my clients were fearful their existing networks would react in a negative way. I assured them it is much better to have a handful of true fans than be popular for all the wrong reasons.

It is human nature to worry about what could go wrong, but the truth is, you might be delighted by an overwhelmingly positive response. You will never know until you put yourself out there.

Strategies on how to reinvent your personal brand are plentiful but there is one factor that will ultimately determine success: self-belief.

I know it sounds cliche, but when you believe in yourself and your new direction, you carry a certain energetic conviction that is not only powerful but which leaves a positive imprint on all who encounter it.

I came across a quote online not long ago and it really sums up the point perfectly: ‘Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.’

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