The average Baby Boomer has held eleven jobs from ages 18 to 46, according the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but it is estimated that Millenials are expected to have as many as 20 jobs in their lifetimes! In a climate ripe with unemployment, underemployment and a strong desire to “do something that makes a difference,” many professionals find themselves switching careers out of necessity or desire.
While moving from sales manager to marketing manager would require a simple explanation to current business contacts, what happens when you change industries/careers completely? How do you update your personal brand from certified public accountant to mommy blogger?
When Nicole A. Thomas transitioned from owning a successful massage therapy business servicing celebrities and world-class athletes to earning a Masters in Public Administration and an MBA in Marketing to become Communications Specialist for FedEx Global Citizenship, she knew she had to separate her former persona from her new brand. “People still referred to me as ‘Nicole the Massage Therapist’ to the point where I thought ‘massage therapist’ was my last name. I realized to my clients and the community, I would always be their therapist, unless I took conscious steps to rebrand myself.” Thomas started using her full name, including her middle initial, to differentiate her new personal brand.
Make a clean break and minimize brand confusion by retiring your former brand. “I removed myself as an expert from the community conversations surrounding massage therapy and I retired the website and digital assets of the old brand.” While Thomas acknowledges it was an emotional process, she recognizes that the move has allowed her to focus on building her brand as a creative marketing and communications professional.
Rachel Parker’s transition from senior copyrighter for a Fortune 500 energy company to owner of Resonance Content Marketing was anything but easy. Parker shares that she had to learn to be assertive. “I quickly realized that I’d never survive as ‘that quiet, hard-working girl in the corner.’ If my business was going to make it, I had to put myself out there.” Parker began the work of sharing her new brand, as an entrepreneur, via her blog, social media, a podcast and public speaking.
Don’t forget to stay connected with your current network of contacts! You’ve spent years building a strong personal brand and relationships. Do not assume that you cannot be of service in your new role. Inform connections of your new position and ask if you can be of assistance. You may be surprised to find that they, or someone they know, may need your services or insight.
This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.