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Developing Your Personal Brand for Career Changes

What is branding? Well, to brand yourself basically means to use your uniqueness to set yourself apart from others.

But why is it important for networking? Surely I need to have a job or a title to “brand myself”?

Au contraire. Branding can be done even now, while neck deep in a pandemic, freshly laid off or searching for a new role--with no title, no job, and seemingly no resources. Sit down and take a moment to think of all the things that make you unique. What experiences have you had that set you apart from the person down the street? What personality traits do you possess that others may not? What passions and interests make you jump out of bed in the morning?

But how does branding help with networking?

Branding helps potential employers know you’re the right person for the job. If a company knows what kind of person they want in a position, branding yourself to fit that position is almost like a cover letter to an employer. If a company is looking for a dependable, creative self-starter, and you’ve branded yourself as an Initiator, Creative, Adapter… know we’re talking! Think of branding as the bow or wrapping paper on a package that includes your cover letter, resume, network, and qualifications.

Some reflection questions to get the juices flowing.

1. Know who you are! What passions do you have? What are you interested in?

2. Know your target audience. Who are you trying to be seen by? What are they

looking for in candidates? What would make you stand out amongst your peers?

3. Know the impression you want to give employers. How do you want them to see you? How do you want them to feel after encountering you? Excited, calm, reassured, confident?

A Note on Social Networking for Branding

Know that you’ve developed your “brand”, if you’re taking it to business cards or Instagram, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Logo, Fonts, Color Scheme. Your brand is part of even your marketing materials! Pick something that reflects the brand you’re trying to create. If part of your brand is a Helper, you may want colors and fonts that represent soothing, healing, or peace. It’s time to get creative! And if in doubt, hire a graphic designer.

2. Develop quality content that reflects your brand. Consistency is key! If part of your brand is advocating for solutions, for example, create content for social media platforms that highlights this skill you have. I’ll repeat this again… GET CREATIVE.

If you’re feeling scared to put yourself out there, know that that’s “normal”. If you need help identifying your “brand”, your “market” or your “niche”, maybe now is the time for some career counseling of your own. Career counseling is more than just finding a place to work, it’s about developing and understanding the unique skills you already own to bring you closer to your goals (both life, love, and career!).

Remember… Get CREATIVE

You got this

Samantha Hoover, MS, LPC

Thorn & Rose Counseling, PLLC

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