Retooling Your Career After A Layoff

How to brand yourself and get back on track

retooling careerIt was only a year ago that you were going a million miles an hour answering a gazillion emails and figuring out whom to blow off your call list. Now, you’re at home flipping the channels wondering how you’re going to make the next car payment on the BMW. The bedroom back at your folk’s house is starting to look cozy.

Stop worrying and start retooling. You are at a rest stop on the road to success. And, it’s time for you to slow down and ponder existential questions like who are you, what are you good at, what do you like doing, etc. so you don’t land yourself face down in your next gig. It’s time to brand yourself.

With the right personal brand, one that authentically reflects your core values, passions and talents you can become the Oprah of your chosen profession. But, to get there, you have to untie your ego from your former company and the title they bestowed upon you. They and it are not you.

You’re probably like most people who have been cut loose from the strong hold of corporate America. You fall all over yourself trying to answer the question “what do you do?” Personally, I never say, “I’m president of Big Fish Marketing.” What does that mean in the grand scheme of things anyway? I say, “I’m a brand advocate and published author.” Now, there’s a tagline that’s attention getting!

Remember that with or without a paycheck you still have value. Now is the time to put your flag in the ground and declare your specialty to the world (or at least the next person who interviews you). Specialists make the big bucks. Generalists are old news.

The next step is to define your dreams and put them into action. Forget following your feelingsā€¦ lead them to your stated mission! That means don’t take the first thing that comes along no matter how desperate you feel. After all, isn’t that how you got into this mess in the first place?

When you craft your dream don’t forget to consider who you’ll need to influence to make it come true. In marketing speak, we call these folks the “target audience.” And, the best way to appeal to them is to do a 180-degree turn, stand in their shoes and figure out what they want to hear from you. More than likely it’s how you’re going to save them or make them look good.

To find your target audience, comb the trade shows, attend conferences, show up at industry affairs and talk with your friends and family. After all, if you don’t get out, you’ll never get in. Make sure that you dress the part. Your packaging should reflect the soul of your brand. Eighty percent of all communication is visual, so if you don’t look the part you want to play no one will cast you in the role.

To stay on track, practice the holy trinity of branding: clarity, authenticity and consistency. If you tell others who you are and act the part long enough, you will become your desired brand. From MTV to Martha Stewart, the super charged brands never waiver or compromise what they are about. Neither should you.

Now is the time to get off the couch and let go of the remote and the emotion surrounding your company’s lack of success. It is not your own. Prove it by acting like a pioneer who got a few arrows in the back on the way to discover the new world. Keep striving for your mission and you’ll strike it rich by being you.

 

About Robin Fisher Roffer

Robin Fisher Roffer is president of Big Fish Marketing, an acclaimed speaker and media personality on the topics of career reinvention and personal branding, and author of Make A Name For Yourself-8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create A Personal Brand Strategy for Success.

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