How to Reposition Your Brand when You Switch Careers

01272016 Reposition

In today’s workforce, it is rare that you will stay in your same position your entire career. You will move into other positions and even other companies. When you do, your brand will shift along with the move. For example, you start as a customer service representative in the call center. After 3 years, your department’s manager sees that you are really good at your job so you get promoted to customer relationship management (CRM) assistant in the market research division. Although you are in the same department (customer service), you are no longer talking with customers every day. You are now processing customer data to generate effective marketing campaigns. There are a lot of changes here. Not only have you been promoted but your new job is vastly different from your old job. Your professional brand has shifted and you need to reposition yourself for your new job. Below are my tips:

Pivot on your competitive advantage. In branding, competitive advantage is called your brand promise.

You must now discover what you do well on the new job. Using the CRM assistant as an example, your competitive advantage is that you can spot outliers in the data because you’ve spoken with the actual customers. This background knowledge helps you know that certain transactions are not in the correct group.

Over the course of my career, I have repositioned my brand five times (thus far). I have had to reposition my brand when I relocated from Cleveland to DC; promoted from economist to Program Analyst; became CAPM certified; transitioned from the public sector to private sector and, moving from employee to employer. Each time, I have to rely on a new competitive advantage to reposition my brand for greater success.

Identify what to keep, what to let go

Some things in your past career don’t work in your current career. For instance, in the call center, your key metric is reducing churn (telephone attrition). Now that you are the CRM assistant, you are responsible for data integrity. Although keeping people on the phone and making the sales were important as a sales representative, these skills are no longer important now.

Grow your new network without alienating your current network

The important thing here is to look at the overlap. Remember, your network is your net worth. For instance, both the customer service representative and the CRM assistant work in customer service and track customers. Therefore, if the CRM data is showing irregularities then you could still leverage your call center connections to discover why. Whenever I transition jobs or sectors, I always keep in touch with my former bosses and coworkers. You never know when you might need a favor or an unbiased professional opinion.

Hopefully these tips will help you reposition your personal brand because you deserve the best career! Check out more personal branding tips and positive change management strategies at my website is http://positivitychange.com/

 

This Week in Positive Change Management : Personal Brand Strategy Tips

01242016 You are the brand!

Developing a personal brand strategy is essential towards career advancement. Even before you walk into the office for an interview, your personal brand proceeds you. Here are several tips towards creating a dynamic personal brand strategy.

Your Competitive Advantage is Your Foundation

Your competitive advantage is the one thing that you do better than anyone else. It is also the foundation towards building your personal brand strategy. You must discover then market it to employers to guarantee landing that job offer that you cover. The main question you must ask yourself is what sets you apart from everyone else? (I discuss competitive advantage steps in my article here: http://bit.ly/1ZXCRzH)

Know your target market (companies that would benefit from your talents)

This is a critical step. One of the biggest mistakes that people often make is being everything to everyone. Well, you cannot do this which is why I stress knowing your target market. Once you’ve discovered your competitive advantage, research which industries are best suited for your talent. For instance, if you are a fashion designer, you wouldn’t apply for a construction job. You must know which industries complement your competitive advantage in order to successful craft your strategy.

Know how you want to position your brand

Brand positioning is another critical component. How are you marketing yourself? Are you entry-level, mid-level or senior-level? These are just the basics. We can drill deeper down into a category. For example, at the senior level, are you vying for a director, vice president or chairman position? These three different jobs require three different brand positioning strategies. That’s why you cannot be general here because you will get too many jobs that are not great fits. These generalities also waste a lot of your time sifting through these numerous positions.

Develop your pitch

Whether you like it or not, you are always in the business of selling yourself. Developing your pitch is your way to communicate your personal brand strategy. Your pitch should be in between 15-30 seconds long and include these four factors:

  • who you are,
  • what you do,
  • what you are looking for and
  • how you can solve a problem

Own yourself and your content

In the 21st century, owning your name domain is essential towards controlling your personal brand strategy; but, there are so many people who don’t own it. You must have your own platform to control what kind of message you want to transmit. Although social media is free, you don’t want to be at the mercy of Twitter, LinkedIn or any other sites to communicate your message. Go to Name.com, Domain.com or GoDaddy.com to search your name. If it is available, then buy it. Next, buy a self-hosted WordPress site not anything with name.wordpress.com! That’s unprofessional but more importantly, WordPress controls your platform. Go to WordPress.org, BlueHost or HostGator for self-hosting sites. There are many others.

I would also recommend that you start blogging on your site. Part of crafting your personal brand strategy is positioning yourself as an expert. Blogging about your professional expertise is a way to get noticed. Create content that supports your brand positioning. Write articles around your competitive advantage. The majority of my articles center around economics, brand management, change management and project management. For example, I publish my articles on my blog first before posting it on LinkedIn and Medium. There are so many people naively posting on LinkedIn who don’t have their own platforms. You cannot control your message when you don’t own yourself. LinkedIn owns all of your copyrights when you publish there first.

Develop a comprehensive brand marketing strategy

In marketing there are 4 Ps : product, price, place and promotion. Here you will create a comprehensive brand marketing strategy in order to capitalize upon all available opportunities. Once you have completed all of the previous tasks, doing this is fairly easy. Here is my 4Ps:

  • Product: you
  • Price: current or future salary
  • Place: Anywhere or your preferred region
  • Promotion:
    • In-person
    • Online: LinkedIn, social media, blog, website, podcasting

You are the product. The price is your current or future salary. If you are going for a promotion, research salaries through sites like Glassdoor.com, so that you aren’t lowballing yourself. You can also look at professional organizations because they keep salary profiles. For place, you can market yourself in a specific region or be open to relocation. Your strategy will change based on this. With promotion, you can sell yourself online as well as in-person. Always have an in-person component because you need to meet real people because it will be they not the computer algorithm that hires you.

New Positive Change with Carla Airing This Friday

Blogtalkradio

As previously announced on www.carlarjenkins.com, this week’s Positive Change with Carla will air on a special day. It will air Friday instead of Thursday. The new episode ‘Evaluating Your Annual Personal Career Brand Performance’ will delve into how to use your most recent performance rating to map out this year’s work performance strategy.

Check out the Blogtalkradio Positive Change with Carla episode link here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/missphenomena/2016/01/22/evaluating-your-annual-personal-career-brand-performance

This Week in Positive Change Management : Getting out of the Middle

01182016 No More Middle

This is the time of your when people start looking at how they can have a better New year than last year. Oftentimes, receiving a promotion is at the top of the list. Well, there are certain things that are holding you back. I have four tips that you will get out of the middle and ascend up the corporate ladder.

Focus on your brand and not just a job

Unbeknownst to me, I focused on my brand early and I professionally benefitted from this. When you define your personal career brand, I looked at how my transferrable skills fit in with other positions. It is an egregious error to only identify yourself as your job. This is dangerous because you become confided to that box. Had I been so narrow to only economic jobs, I would still be a GS-11 economist. Once a layoff hits, then you are through. Identifying your transferable skills repositions yourself as a brand because you can work in other areas.  Your career brand transcends your job.

Obtain certification

Certification distinguishes you from the rest. Take my field, project management for example. Earning your PMP certification separates you from everyone else. PMP requires a certain amount of work experience. You don’t see many young or middle-tier professionals with PMP certifications. Furthermore, obtaining certification means that you are a self-starter. This gets you noticed internally and externally.

Expand your network vertically

The one reason why you’re stuck is because all of your networking friends are at the same level. You know everyone you’ve started with me but nobody one or two levels above you. That’s horizontal networking and that’s problematic when you truly want to advance. Find a professional organization and attend the formal functions (Christmas party, annual charity ball, etc.). These events have the board members and senior officials. Once they know your name, they can become your mentors and sponsors guiding your career upward.

Get out of career inertia

I broke out of career inertia by leaving my first fed agency. I saw career inertia upfront. I left my economist position to grow. Although disgruntled, many coworkers stayed because they were comfortable. Now this year, my formal agency is moving out of state. Those same coworkers are going right along with the agency even though they hate leaving DC. Career inertia sneaks up on you. You start getting comfortable then make excuses for your fear. Getting out of the middle means putting yourself in motion.

These four tips will help you lay the groundwork towards realizing this year’s career ambitions.

5 Ways to Convert Your Dream into Reality

01182016 Dreams to reality

 

What is your dream?

Whatever it is, everyone has one. It seems intangible like it will never happen but you hold close to you because your dream makes you feel like you are alive. When life gets mundane, it is the one thing that keep you going. Having a dream is commendable but it would great when you convert this dream into reality. Here are 5 ways to do just that:

Believe that you can accomplish it.

Believing that you can bring this into fruition is the first step. Don’t keep your dream inside. That’s irresponsible especially since you have the tools to actually bring it to reality. Currently, you are doing something different than your dreams. Now you can take baby steps towards shifting towards your dream.

Break down your big dream into smaller dreams

Oftentimes your dream is so big, it paralyzes you. Instead break down your very big dream into smaller dreams. I recommend creating a milestone list for your dream’s journey. For example, your big dream is home ownership and it takes 2 years. Break it down into smaller steps. Use the mortgage loan qualification process as a milestone list. It will guide you through the home buying process. More importantly, commit to writing it down keeping a dream journal if necessary to stay on track. Having a journal lets you not only keep track of your progress. It also chronicles your transformation.

Drop the deadweight in your personal and professional lives

Friends hold you back. The mistake that people make is that friends are temporary. There are 7 billion people on this earth. Certainly you can find some new people to support you.

Start shifting your behavior to support your new dream.

Bad habits are very hard to change. You can’t own a home if you’re buying the latest virtual reality gear over putting that money away in the bank. Write down your daily routine for one week. Look at your time wasters. If any of them are counterproductive, write down ways to eliminate them.

Detach yourself from the end result.

Be flexible. You may arrive at your goal quicker than expected. The result may even be different than your original dream. I have an example of this:

In late 2005, I decided I was sick of working temporary jobs and wanted to realize and be an economist. I majored in it during undergraduate and I needed to work in my major. It was dream. It was one thing to major in economics but working as an economist validated my dream. I applied for Cleveland State University’s Masters of Arts in Economics program. Initially I thought I would earn my MA degree in 2007 then start working as an economist. However, the Commerce department hired me as an economist in May 2006 and I only spent one semester at Cleveland State University. That experience taught me to be flexible.  Although I hadn’t completed my MA in Economics (yet), I had realized my dream of being an economist.

Bonus: Don’t fear being first.

As a dreamer, you will be the first to do something. Don’t fear, do it anyway. The fear of the unknown can’t zap your dream. On my journey, I have been the first person: 1) with an economics degree, 2) intern with the Washington Center on Internship at my college, 3) earn my MBA, 4) travel to a foreign country and not be in the Army, 5) earn my PMP certification, 6) live in Washington, DC and 7) make over $100,000. At some point, you will be first when pursuing your dream. Do it anyway!

New Positive Change with Carla airing this Tuesday on Blogtalkradio

Blogtalkradio

 

Per www.carlarjenkins.com, Project Management Mondays will air Tuesday, January 19, 2016 due to the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. The two topics this broadcast will discuss are new 2016 PMP exam changes and PMBOK 4.2 developing project management plan. Check out the Project Management Institute’s link here: http://www.pmi.org/certification/exam-changes/pmp.aspx. Check out the Blogtalkradio show link here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/missphenomena/2016/01/19/new-2016-pmp-exam-changes-and-pmbok-42-developing-project-management-plan

Thrive not Strive

01132016 thrive

 

Strive: 1:  to devote serious effort or energy:  endeavor <strive to finish a project>

2:  to struggle in opposition:  contend

Thrive: 1:  to grow vigorously:  flourish

2:  to gain in wealth or possessions:  prosper

3:  to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances —often used with on <thrives on conflict>

A lot of people call themselves strivers but do you really want to schlep through life? Do you really want ‘to continuously struggle in opposition to something’? Or do you want to ‘progress towards a goal’? Thriving is much better.

Ways to Thrive

Evaluate your current personal and professional routines looking for small ways to tweak them.

Examine your current personal and professional situations. Where are you? Where can you improve? Write them down then divide them into smaller parts. Find smaller ways to make a bigger impact. One strategy is called the 1% improvement. Instead of trying to make the big leap, just make small changes to your personal and/or professional routines. These small little things can pay big dividends.

For instance, what if lunch costs $10 a day and you pack your lunch every day for one week. This small change saves you $50 this workweek. During a 4-week month, this small change will save you $200. That’s a small change leading to something big. That’s a great example of tweaking your daily routine in order to thrive.

See yourself as world-class.

It’s hard when you’re stuck in the muck and mire, trying to pay your bills. You are caught in survival mode. You just want to get through the workday, get home and take care of your children; and, then do it all over again. However, you have to view yourself as more than a widget. You’re contributing something unique to the workplace. Playing to your strengths is a way to thrive in both your personal and professional lives. Read your original position description and look at why you were hired. This is one way of finding your competitive advantage. Do one thing showcasing it at work. You can do a presentation or demonstration of the new product or service. These are two ways to display your professional uniqueness. Once you own your uniqueness, you’ll start seeing yourself as a world-class contributor instead of someone who fills a cubicle punching a clock! Remember, companies are resourceful. They don’t waste money hiring duplicates.

The difference striving and thriving are small tweaks that will payoff huge. Commit to making these small changes so that you will have a bigger year!

This Week in Positive Change Management : Proactive for Positive Change

01122016 Be Proactive

This is the second full week of January where many people start sliding on their New Year resolutions. However, you must stay diligent and proactive on making positive change. We here at PositivityChange know that you are committed towards manifesting positive change. Here are resources that will help you keep your resolutions during week 2 and beyond.

American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resolution.aspx

LifeHack: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/7-steps-for-making-a-new-years-resolution-and-keeping-it.html

WikiHow: http://www.wikihow.com/Stick-to-a-New-Year’s-Resolution

Bankrate: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/9-ways-to-keep-your-new-year-s-resolutions-1.aspx

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2015/01/01/11-easy-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions/#2715e4857a0b5602b36dc328

PhraseMix: http://www.phrasemix.com/blog/5-steps-to-achieving-your-new-years-resolutions

Fitday: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/3-simple-steps-for-keeping-your-new-years-resolutions.html

 

Project Management Mondays Coming to Positive Change with Carla Radio

Blogtalkradio

 

I am happy to announce courtesy of http://carlarjenkins.com/ that I will debut the Project Management Mondays radio series on Positive Change with Carla. The debut show will air Monday, January 11, 2015 at 6pm. The inaugural episode will cover developing the project charter and my journey towards becoming a Project Management Professionally-certified manager. Check out my show link here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/missphenomena/2016/01/11/developing-project-charter-and-my-journey-to-pmp

This Week in Positive Change Management: Setting CLEAR Goals

01032016 CLEAR Goals

 

There is a new way to do goal-setting that has come about due to agile methodology that has permeated the global work environment. It is called the CLEAR method. CLEAR stands for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable. For those unfamiliar with the word agile, the agile methodology has come onto the forefront in the late 1990s. Agile derives from the software industry. There are four agile platforms:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Here is the Agile Manifesto for reference: http://agilemanifesto.org/

Below is the CLEAR method’s break down for each letter:

Collaborative – No man is an island and teamwork makes the dream work. Collaborative is necessary because we’re in a global economy. Virtual teams spanning across the globe magnify the importance of collaboration.

Limited– Just focus on one thing at a time. By focusing on what’s immediately in front of you helps keep everything in perspective. Worry about the present. The future will take care of itself. For example, there are 5 phases in the process. Instead of focusing on the finish line, clear the 5 hurdles first. Each phase represents 20% completion. You can’t get to 100% completion without progressing through the 20%,40%,60%, and 80%.

Emotional-Buy-in is important towards goal completion. When people are on the same page, it makes work easier.

Appreciable-The Merriam-Webster definition for appreciable is ‘large enough to be noticed or measured.’ In this case, appreciable means disseminating big goals into smaller more manageable pieces. Appreciable is equal to the project management concept of decomposition. You use decomposition to subdivide the work breakdown structure into smaller parts called work packages. Focus on peoples’ strengths are necessary when assigning work packages. The goal to being appreciable is to create synergy from the bottom up in order to bring added value once the goal is complete.

Refinable-Done is better than perfect. Be flexible and add more information once it becomes available regardless of where you’re at in the process. The goal is to deliver the best project. If the customer demands change, get the required approval and change them.

The CLEAR method’s five steps enable people and companies to be more flexible, resilient and able to meet demands in the global economy.