Four Steps to Build Your Brand for Your Next Career Move

Erin Horiuchi

December 14, 2018

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Building your brand is a never-ending process.

It starts in our youth, evolves as we progress through middle school, high school, and college. It is part of us when we express words of encouragement or empathy toward colleagues. Our brand is evident in how we carry ourselves in and out of the workplace. Our brands are always with us.

So wouldn't it make sense to use your brand as a tool in your toolkit as you prepare for your next career move?

Career paths are never as linear as we had hoped. Upwards of 70% of people work in a field that is not directly related to their bachelor's degree. What matters most is that our careers paths are always moving us forward. Sometimes we need support and a strategy to move forward and thrive in our current or next career.

Whether you're looking to change industries, functions, or advance in your role, branding makes a difference. Here are four practical steps you can take to build your brand.

Step 1: Your LinkedIn Headline Is Precious Real Estate

Your header appears directly below your name on your profile. Use it to position yourself by communicating who you are in less than 120 characters. Position yourself toward the audience that you want to be a part of. Use words that describe what you want to be associated with. Get specific. List qualifications, skills, passions, and strengths. This critica method helps recruiters use keywords and phrases to find you. Here are other ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Pro Tip: Keywords in your headline include educational achievements (CPA, MBA, PhD) and certifications. Convey your credibility. That way it isn't glossed over if a recruiter doesn't scroll down to your education or certification section.

Step 2: Build Your Digital Presence

As you build your brand, you also want to build your thought leadership. How can you do this? We've identified four steps you can take to develop your thought leadership, specifically. One of the most important ones is sharing content on your social channels.

Our recommendation is to start simple. Follow companies that are in your industry of interest. Then, re-share or retweet their content! For example, if you're transitioning into BioTech, you can share content from Gilead, Merck, or Pfizer to convey to your network the industry you're interested in and that you're following their presence in the news. So, what's the next step?

Start following influencers and leaders who are from those companies. Share their content and engage in their online conversations.

Pro Tip: Create original, engaging content!

Step 3: Participate in Communities

You need to solicit the help of your network. Facebook and LinkedIn Groups can help. Both social sites offer professional groups for digital marketers, entrepreneurs, startups, and much more! We previously wrote about the benefits of communities where you can interact with professionals who are in the industry, career, or role that you're interested in. Observe the trends they are following and the resources that they share. Familiarize yourself with the vocabulary they are used to.

Pro Tip: Give more than you take! Make sure you read posts and offer support and solutions where you can.

Step 4: Invest in Professional Organization Memberships

While professional organizations require an upfront investment in the form of a membership fee, you gain so much! The benefits pay themselves multiple times through networking opportunities—in person or virtual. Take advantage of local chapter meetings or monthly networking events. Many organizations offer webinars, mentoring, and coaching too. Joining a professional organization is a starting place to build your brand. You can also add this affiliation to your resume and LinkedIn.

Don't be afraid to ask for support from members. That can come in many forms. One way is you could seek out a mentor. Another way is to ask members if they know anyone in their network which works in the field that you are interested in. Approach it as you aren't asking for a job, but you are asking for an informational interview. Be willing to share your experience and open up your network too.

This article was originally published on MarketBeam.

Early in her career, Erin Horiuchi has been a change agent and supporter of women's advancement. At her previous company, she co-led the formation of Women at Kabam, a global employee resource group, and regularly organized networking lunches and professional development opportunities through speaking engagements. As a graduate student at Santa Clara University, she was co-president for the Women in Business, responsible for driving the organization's strategy, connecting with alumni, and providing social and professional development opportunities for graduate business students.

Erin is a marketing intern at MarketBeam, an AI-driven personalized enterprise social marketing platform that utilizes untapped executives' and employees' social networks to dramatically increase reach, elevate brand, and nurture leads beyond the usual corporate channels. She holds a BS in marketing and is pursuing her MBA at Santa Clara University with an emphasis in marketing and leading innovative organizations.

Connect with Erin on LinkedIn, or email her at [email protected]

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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