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
One year from now, do you want to be doing the exact same kind of work you're doing today?
If not, then there are a few things you need to START doing, and a few things to STOP doing…
Stop going with the flow.
Stop working on mundane projects you can do in your sleep. Part of the reason you’re feeling under-utilized and under-valued is because you’re under-challenged. We weren’t meant to take a job and then stay there forever. We’re meant to stretch, develop, grow, bounce. Look for ways to step up and flex your professional muscles. When you stop learning and growing, your career will stall.
Stop taking setbacks personally.
Everyone experiences career setbacks. Everyone! If you’ve been a victim of a layoff, a demotion, a project that failed or didn’t get accepted then get over it! Hanging on to feelings of rejection, embarrassment or anger isn’t helping you. You only think other people care about your setback, but seriously, they’ve moved on and you need to, too. It’s not the setback itself that is holding you back, but how you’re internalizing it.
Stop being “small.”
If you think that being humble and shy will help you be successful, think again. When somebody offers you a big juicy project or a spot on a high profile team – grab it! Saying things like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’d be the best choice for that,” or, “I don’t know if I have the right experience to do that” will keep you sitting on the bench. You’ve got to step up, be bold and put yourself out there (especially if the new opportunity scares you!) Yes, finding new opportunities means taking risks – big bold risks that you won’t be able to take if you’re playing it small.
And here are a few things you'll need to start doing…
Start talking about what you want to do.
Start describing the types of responsibilities and the kinds of projects and teams you want to work on. If you don’t have a crystal clear vision, then at least start talking about the type of work you enjoy doing. By simply having these conversations with your manager, colleagues, and those in your network can lead to new career paths and opportunities.
Start claiming your space.
Put your expertise out there by showing others you have something to say through presentations, articles, coaching others and speaking up in meetings. Don’t be a shrinking violet, but instead, have confidence, be bold and voice your technical opinion. So what if someone may not agree with you – that just makes it a more interesting conversation. Successful executives and professionals constantly put themselves “out there” – that’s why they’re successful. Don’t shy away or back up, but instead step up, speak out and claim your space at the table.
Start charting your course.
Go find people working in different industries and job roles. Ask them about their responsibilities, education, training, challenges and career paths. Get connected to those who inspire you. Give yourself permission and time to explore all possibilities. That doesn’t mean that you have to accept every opportunity that comes your way, but you at least owe it to yourself to learn what else is out there so that you can get ready for your next career move.
Successful professionals aren't successful because they let things “happen.” Instead, they make things happen in their career. They figure out what they want, take some risks, stretch, grow, fall down, learn and bounce. Don't let someone else take the wheel on your career path. Step up and make things happen. It's your career and your year!
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 LISTfor 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. Right now you can download three FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com