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Personal Branding for a Second Career

Your personal brand can help ease the pain of transitioning to a new career by reminding you that at your core, you’re still you and need to be your authentic self. Your reinvented self may be wearing a new outfit, but in all that you do, no matter what you call yourself, you are still you.

Your personal brand helps you identify those core pieces of yourself that you want to express and use in the world.

Your biggest obstacle in launching a second career may reside in your own mind. Shift your mindset and build your confidence. Head into your second career knowing it’s a new season. Start out expecting great things. Turn your negative thoughts into the positive actions you can take to get to where you want to be.

Here are tips to prepare yourself for the necessary changes:

  • Starting now, think and talk differently about yourself and your future.

  • Don’t use age as an excuse not to get the job you want.

  • Focus on what you’ve gained from your wealth of experience and what you have that younger applicants don’t.

  • Target companies that value the skills and experience of seasoned professionals by seeking out industries known for hiring older workers.

  • Research smaller companies in your area, which may be more open than larger companies to hiring mature workers. Reach out to the owners and managers directly.

Accept the fact that you’re competing in a marketplace very different from what existed in the past. Learn about today’s workplace, accept it, and leverage it to your advantage. Work to better understand generational differences.

For example, keep in mind that mature workers are generally seen as loyal, dependable, hardworking, and honest. Also know that mature workers are considered not to be tech savvy and energetic.

Use the positive assumptions to your advantage and be proactive about addressing the negative assumptions. For example:

  • Are you current with technology and social media? Update your skills and education where needed. Show your prospective employer that you’re a lifelong learner.

  • Are you current in your appearance? Yes, it matters. If you think you’re not, meet with an image consultant and follow that person’s advice.

  • Does your energy come across, or have you put a few extra pounds on that slow you down? Now is the time to join a gym and get the help you need.

You may have to do something you’ve never done — personal sales and marketing. You can be an amazing talent, but if nobody knows about you, it doesn’t matter! Especially if you’re starting over in a new industry, you have to raise your visibility as an expert in your new niche.

Convince the people you meet that you’re an undiscovered source of talent. Expand your own thinking about your capabilities, and announce your abilities to the world.

Make sure that you’re communicating your unique personal brand value in everything you do by

  • Crafting your online profile and identity

  • Reconnecting with and/or building your network

  • Connecting with local groups and associations

  • Seeking out volunteer opportunities

  • Speaking, writing, teaching, and consulting

Here’s the great news: Studies show that most workers who change careers at older ages say they enjoy the new job more than the old job. So look at this time of change as a new opportunity to follow the dream you’ve always wanted to achieve.

Ask yourself how can you combine your wealth of experience, knowledge, and personality to deliver something that the younger workforce can’t. Brand yourself to stand out, regardless of your age.

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