Feeling stuck in your career? On one hand you want to move into a more inspiring job, but on the other hand you’re afraid of losing your salary, or worse yet, that your new dream job turns out to be unstable and you find yourself suddenly unemployed?
Whether you’re a marketing guru in the high tech industry or a project manager for a Fortune 100 company, you’ll eventually hit a fork in the career road and ask yourself, “If I leave my current job will the risk be worth the reward?”
Personally, I’ve re-branded my own career four (4) times and each time with a higher paycheck. I’ve learned that there are three (3) critical challenges with re-branding and the strategies you need to overcome those challenges –
Does re-branding mean a salary decrease?
As a leading career coach, the #1 biggest question I get asked is, “How can I re-brand myself without decreasing my salary?”
Each time I re-branded myself, I received a 15-34% higher paycheck. A client of mine, Matt, also just reinvented himself from a TV production manager to a high-tech production manager and received a 15% pay increase.
So how can you do it? First, choose a higher paying industry. Some industries pay higher than others. For example, healthcare and high tech industries typically pay more than the media and construction industries. When I switched from a marketing role in television to a marketing role in the finance industry, I received a 29% salary increase.
Next, you’ll want to target the higher paying companies. There are companies within the same industry that pay more than others so do some research and find out which companies have the highest wages. Finally, some job roles pay higher than others. For example, when I re-branded myself from being a marketing project manager to a technical project manager I received a 34% salary increase. Do your homework and research high paying industries, companies and job roles on sites such as GlassDoor.com and Salary.com
What if I fail?
I understand fear. Each time I thought about re-branding myself I got scared. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown.
The secret is learning how to set yourself up for success. Use your job interviews as an opportunity to learn about the company’s culture, management style and anything else that’s important to you such as telecommuting, professional training or advancement opportunities. By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to learn if the new job would offer you the right challenges and the right environment where you could thrive.
Also, just because somebody wants to hire you doesn’t mean you should automatically accept the position. Many times, I’ve taken myself out of the hiring process because either the job or the company weren’t a good fit. You don’t have to accept a job offer unless you want it.
What if I don’t have the right stuff?
Moving into a different career requires that you have different skills and experience. So if you don’t have the skills or experience, then you’ll need to invest in yourself to get it.
If you’re seeing that your dream job requires an advanced degree or certification, then invest in yourself and go get it. If you need some kind of specialized expertise or experience, then get it. I joined the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association (an outside volunteer position) to strengthen my marketing and leadership skills which gave me the experience I needed to land a Fortune 100 job. Another time, when a company didn’t have the budget to send me to a training conference that I knew would help me land my next dream job, I paid my own way.
It’s your career. Take ownership and drive it where you want it to go. Invest your time, money and energy to get the training, education and experience you need to re-brand yourself. Don’t wait and think that you’ll find a hiring manager to “take a chance” on you. That’s a pipe dream. You need to step up and invest in yourself – and then the job offers will follow!
There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you re-brand yourself into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job. When it comes to re-branding yourself, it’s not just your skills and experience but your attitude that counts!
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” was named “Best Career Book” by the Indie Book Awards. Her first book, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand” has been #3 on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360, Sherri teaches training professionals, managers and executives how to change, reinvent or advance their career. Sign up for her new 3-part free video training series “15 Clever Ways to Get More Job Offers” at CareerCoaching360.com
Do you dream of doing something different in your career?
Something more meaningful, purposeful and more satisfying?
There are times in everyone’s career that you feel like running away and starting all over again, but when should you actually DO IT?
Many professionals stay in unmotivating and unfulfilling jobs because it’s safe. It takes minimal effort, the bills are getting paid, and it’s relatively easy to blank out and be a zombie for 8 hours a day. There is minimal risk and minimal effort. But there is also minimal reward.
Personally, I’ve re-branded myself four times in my career and I have learned three (3) of the biggest challenges with re-branding and the strategies to overcome those challenges –
Does re-branding mean a salary decrease?
As a leading career coach, the #1 biggest question I get asked is, “How can I re-brand myself without decreasing my salary?”
Each time I re-branded myself, I received a 15-30% higher paycheck. A client of mine, Matt, also just reinvented his career from being a manager in the TV industry to becoming a manager in the high tech industry, and he received a 15-percent pay increase.
So how can you do it? First, choose a higher paying industry, company or job role. Some industries pay higher than others. For example, healthcare and high tech industries pay more than the media and construction industries. Also, some companies within the same industry pay more than others. Additionally, some job roles pay higher than others. For example, a technical project manager position pays higher than an HR project manager position.
Do your homework and research high paying industries, companies and job roles on sites like GlassDoor.com and Salary.com
2. What if I fail?
Each time I started moving my career in a new direction, I got scared. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown.
Learn how to set yourself up for success. Use the interviews to learn more about the company’s culture, the manager’s managing style and the co-workers’ challenges. By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to learn if the new job would offer you the right challenges and the right environment where you could thrive. Just because somebody wants to hire you doesn’t mean you should go work for them. If it’s not a good fit, then remove yourself from the interview process.
3. What if I don’t have the right stuff?
Moving into a different career requires different skills. So what if you don’t have ALL the skills required? Step up and invest in yourself.
If you’re seeing that your dream job requires an advanced degree or certification, then get it. If you need some kind of specialized expertise or experience then get it. I joined the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association to learn about marketing and build my leadership skills which got me the experience to land my first job in marketing.
Invest your time, energy and a little money to get the training, education and experience you need to re-brand yourself. Don’t wait and think that when the perfect job opportunity comes along – then you’ll do it. By then it will be too late. Do it now so that you’re ready when your dream job comes along. No excuses. Just step up and do it.
There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you re-brand yourself into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job. When it comes to re-branding yourself, it’s not just your talent but your attitude that counts!
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com
A few years ago, I woke up one morning after being laid off and realized that I had to start taking more control of my career by becoming more proactive and less reactive. Through a journey of trial and errors, I learned a lot about how to build my personal brand after a layoff, customize my resume and tell my story to hiring managers.
I went on to work for 3 Fortune 500 companies, and had a 6-figure salary and status I never would have dreamed of. In my new book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” I reveal the success strategies from myself and 13 other professionals and executives who bounced back after a setback. Below are a few of the strategies from the book about how to get hired after a layoff -
1. Telling your story to hiring managers.
The best approach is to always say something positive about your previous position. Talk about how it was either a great company, or how much you enjoyed your role and responsibilities. Make sure that you always have something positive to say about the experience, that you truly believe it and that you are genuine when you talk about it.
Also, if the lay-off had been due to company down-sizing, follow up by saying something like, “Unfortunately, the company went through tough economic times and my position was (cut, outsourced, or whatever.) If the lay-off was due to lack of performance, like the time I was hired at an Advertising Agency where I was expected to do the job of two people, then you can say something like, “I didn’t realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn’t fill both of their shoes.”
2. Customize your resume.
You’ll need to customize your resume for every job you go after. Create a new section on your resume called, Freelance, Consulting and Short-term Positions, and put any of your short term job stints into this section. This way, you’re able to show that you’ve had long term employment with 3-4 companies, plus a few other gigs!
Whenever a potential employer asks you about any of the positions in that category, you can say something like, “I worked there for a few months and really enjoyed it! I learned such and such“, or “I contributed by doing this or that.” Make sure that what you say is always positive, and focused on what you learned or how you contributed.
Also, be sure to focus on results. Instead of writing about responsibilities, you’ll need to write about results you achieved or goals you had met or exceeded. Substantiate everything you write by adding dollars, numbers or percentages. This will show potential employers that you’ve had a history, or pattern of achieving quantifiable results.
3. Securing job leads, referrals and recommendations.
Today, the majority of new employees got their new job because they knew someone inside the company who could give them a positive referral. This means you’ll need to set aside any feelings of insecurity, and reach out to connect with your network. I always called up past employers, managers and customers to catch up with them and let them know that I was ready for the next chapter in my career. I got out in the world and networked and socialized. It helped me build my confidence, practice telling my story and helped me learn about career opportunities.
You can prepare for interviews by practicing your story out loud, and be sure to talk about what you’ve learned and how you added value to other organizations. Ask thoughtful questions to the hiring manager. Be confident in your strengths and abilities. Show that you’re grateful and appreciative for the opportunities you’ve had in your career.
Networking can happen at any time. One of my clients entered a golf tournament and got paired up with a VP of a large retail corporation. They both shared stories about their golf game and career. After the 18th hole, my client handed the VP his business card and said, “If anything opens up in your organization, let me know. I’d love to join your team.” Four weeks later the VP hired him.
With the right story, resume and attitude you can get hired again. Decide how you’re going to tell your career story and tell it in the most positive way possible. Practice saying it out loud so that you sound confident, believable and genuinely authentic during your interviews and networking opportunities.
Your new career is out there waiting for you… you just need to go get it!
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. You can download three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com
You are the “story teller” of your own career.
Every day, people are making judgements and assumptions about you based on what you’re telling them. So if you’re sending the message that you’ve been short-changed, passed over or stepped on in your career, then people will see you as someone who doesn’t have much value in the workplace.
However, if you send a strong, clear message that you’re a key contributor with some big successes under your belt – others will be more likely to give you job leads, job offers and bigger career opportunities.
Here are a few tips to help you frame your “career story”…
Stop being humble.
Being humble can be a career killer, or at its very best, a career stifller. Yes, it’s a nice quality to have, but if you never talk about some of the successes you’ve had with your professional network, then you career is sure to sit on a shelf for the next 10 years.
I had lunch yesterday with one of my best friends from college who went on to become an Emmy winning TV news reporter and now advises Corporate leaders as a Media Strategist. He mentioned that he’s ready to expand his business, but he’s not the type of person to brag about himself. This is a man who has interviewed 3 U.S. Presidents (Carter, Clinton and Bush Jr.) How would organizational leaders ever know to hire him if he doesn’t “put himself out there”?
Talking about your accomplishments builds your credibility. It lets people know what you’re good at, what you can accomplish, and what you have to offer. It makes you stand out from the crowd. If you want to get noticed, then you’ll need to learn how to talk about your achievements, not in an arrogant kind of way, but more in an “I’m a key contributor who gets big results” kind of way.
Write down 2-3 of your biggest achievements over the past three years. Now, practice saying out loud in a sentence or two how you contributed to those successes and what the impact was to the organization. For example, “I was the technical lead for a new internal tool that was launched on the SAP platform. The tool is now saving the company $100,000 a year.” Or, “I was the Creative Director on the marketing campaign for the xyz product which helped the company gain 3% more market share.”
The key to getting more job offers, leads and opportunities is leaning how to talk about your successes. Nobody will know what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them.
2. Frame your story in a positive way.
One of my favorite chapters in my new book, “The Bounce Back” gives strategies on how to frame your story to hiring managers after you’ve been laid off or experienced a career setback. Managers, Sr. leaders, customers, and hiring managers create their perception of you based on what you tell them. So if you talk about your career in a positive, confident way – then they are going to think of you as a positive and confident employee.
For example, earlier in my career I was laid off and then hired as the Regional Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 company. I believe that a large part of the reason I was hired was because of the way I told my story to the Vice President (who hired me and became my direct manager.) During the interview, I talked about how the company that laid me off was a great company and how much I loved my role and responsibilities. I truly believed in what I was saying and so my tone was very genuine. Then, I addressed the reason for my layoff which was, “I didn’t realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn’t fill both of their shoes.” The VP called me the next day to tell me I was hired.
Everybody has setbacks in their career. Everybody!! The key is to frame your career story in the most positive, honest and confident way possible.
3. Don’t take yourself out of the game because you fumbled.
It happens to all of us. Whether it’s a job interview, a big presentation or the perfect networking opportunity – sometimes, we just freeze up. It happens, and it happens to everyone. The key is not to beat yourself up. And don’t shy away from future opportunities to give a big presentation or go on job interviews. The lesson is to learn from the situation and then do better next time.
Continue looking for opportunities to step into the spotlight and tell your story again and again. If you flubbed up a presentation, then go ask the team leader if you can present again with some new data that you just received. If you fumbled an interview, then send an e-mail to the interviewer providing a little more clarity on your experience or area of expertise. For me, I wrote to the TV reporter and tee’d up a few more tips out of the book to share with her viewers, and right now we’re scheduling a follow-up interview.
Sometimes a do-over isn’t possible, and if that’s the case, then just get on with looking for your next opportunity and be ready to strut your stuff. Don’t let a negative experience stop you from moving your career forward. Get out there, find your voice and share your career story with confidence. Your next career opportunity is out there – you just have to go find it!
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback“ also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. Sherri’s gift to you is (3) THREE FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com