In a Building Your Own Brand workshop I recently facilitated, a participant told me she wanted to apply for a new role in her organization. She is currently an administrator and now wants to move into project management or marketing. She applied for roles outside her department before and was unsuccessful. She worried that the hiring managers and decision-makers only see her as an administrator, and she asked what she can do to change their perception of her.
Others’ perceptions of you have a lot of power over your career path. Therefore, you need to take this power back and learn to shape the image you want them to see. To do this, you need to enhance your personal brand. Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Take initiative. Find out who the hiring managers and team members are in the department you’re targeting and create opportunities to meet them. You can introduce yourself to these people at your next company social event, or in group training, or even set up a one-on-one meeting over coffee.
2. Update your online presence. A small act like adding your picture to your LinkedIn profile can go a long way! Find best practices for communicating with others through LinkedIn and other social media here.
3. Be prepared. Plan what you want to say to hiring decision-makers before you meet them, and be forward about your interest in joining their team. And practice! Say it out loud – talk to your dog, your significant other, or even to yourself in front of a mirror.
4. Recruit supporters. Ask for references and referrals from colleagues and your manager. Find a mentor, inside or outside your organization, who took a career path you’re interested in. If you’re vying for a more senior role, enlist a coach to build specific skills like communication.
5. Ask for feedback. If you don’t know how others see you, ask them! Once you know what others see as your strengths and weaknesses, it’s much easier to build your brand. Ask your colleagues and managers to fill out this assessment to get you started.
Try out one, two, or all five of these ideas to quickly and easily change your image. You’ll be amazed at how much power these small actions have. Good luck!