Positioning Your Personal Brand for Relaunch: Step Three - How?

This post is the fourth in a five-part series on relaunching your personal brand inspired by a recent post in the Franklin University Back to College Blog. As a review, the first two steps in aligning your personal brand with career change opportunities are:

  1. Recognize reasons a change is desired (Why)
  2. Study your options (What)
The third step in relaunching your personal brand addresses the key question of "How do I get there?" You may have realized that conditions are favorable to make a move (why) and have explored different opportunities for the next chapter in your professional life (what). Now, the challenge is identifying the skills, training, or other requirements needed to compete in your newly chosen category. In some cases, the conclusion drawn at this step in the process is that relaunch is not feasible due to education requirements or cost to acquire needed training. But, if you are able to overcome potential time and money barriers, there are three actions you can take to move closer to being ready for a new beginning in your career:

  1. Become a "fan" of your chosen profession - Just as sports fans passionately follow their favorite teams and players, become a close observer of the industry or profession in which you wish to work. What are the current trends? Who are the thought leaders? Which companies and executives are up and coming stars? Know thy industry!
  2. Learn... and continue to learn - This directive overlaps with becoming a fan of your new industry or field. Learning can occur formally through college degree programs or industry certification programs. Formal learning should be complemented with self-study in the form of reading industry publications and blogs as well as watching webinars on topics related to your new profession.
  3. Network with other professionals - Acquiring knowledge is important, but it is not enough to position you to compete for opportunities in a new profession. You must get to know the people who are working in the industry now. If the concept of networking is intimidating, consider this simple definition: Networking is about helping other people. Do you like helping other people? Networking is a means of helping others by sharing information, exchanging ideas, and supporting one another. Become involved in networking digitally through networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn has groups for just about any industry you can imagine, and if there happens not to be one, no problem- start a group yourself! Similarly, Twitter is an excellent resource for connecting with other people. Use the Twitter hashtag search feature to look for industry-specific conversations taking place. Of course, do not overlook traditional face-to-face networking opportunities. Social networking sites expand our networking capabilities, but they should not be viewed as a replacement for personal interactions.
Step Three is the most difficult part of the career relaunch process, and it is at this point where many relaunches are aborted. Why? It is because the first two steps do not require a high level of commitment and resolve to complete. But, when we get to the step of equipping ourselves for change, the barriers to relaunch identified in the introductory post of this series (comfort, risk, and time investment required) are too great for many people to overcome. If your objectives for change are clear and you have done your homework to explore options that fit your capabilities, the chances of coming out the other end of Step Three prepared to relaunch your personal brand are significantly enhanced.