Before you get started, one vital consideration is whether your current reputation aligns with your professional goals. If not, it may be time to change your personal brand. Although it can be one of the most challenging things you can do, it can also be one of the most important.
Today, we’ll look at one example:
I was a teacher before entering b-school but now I’m interested in sports management. How can I change my brand and make that known to others?
If your personal brand is intrinsically tied to your “teacher” persona, such that people have a hard time imagining you in a sports leadership role, it’s time to make a change. There are two possible ways to do that:
1. Evolve your existing brand: let’s say your perceived brand is very tied to your inherent desire to teach. You can take your investment in imparting information and helping others find new ways to do things and use that to your advantage – shift your brand from “teacher” to “leader,” focusing attention on your ability to impart information in a way that helps others learn and, in turn, helps companies grow.
2. Wholesale overhaul: if the brand people associate with you has more to do with your status as a nurturer, or a lover of children, it may be time to rebrand. You may have to make a concerted effort to redirect people’s perceptions about you by shifting focus away from your prior career and towards your aspirations. Now is the time to start investing in different opportunities. See below for our suggestions!
- Classes: sports management, marketing, you name it – get all the experience you can in these specialized classes, where you’ll gain the knowledge to build up your brand. This includes cross-registering in relevant classes!
- Topic selection for group projects: starting a business in a new ventures class? Brainstorm ideas related to sports! By choosing a topic that fits with your brand, you can gain experience working with classmates and getting their perspective on certain topics, even at this stage.
- TA a class: related to your interests!
Extracurriculars (on and off campus)
- Case competitions: get tangible experience in the sports industry, and get noticed by fellow teammates, competitors, and judges too!
- Student leadership: taking up a role in a sports business-related organization, or even student government, can indicate that your interest in sports and leadership (in a context that is different from education).
- Campus volunteering: see some needs on your campus which relate to your brand? Help with coaching the basketball team, help out with Admit Weekend by volunteering yourself as a student interested in sports, etc.
- Community volunteering: look for chances to get involved or even create local events, such as coordinating a sports clinic or inviting a speaker panel of athletes for the community.
- Your resume: even if it means leaving off a “Teacher of the Year” award, using that space to write about the annual sports marketing conference that you organized can make a difference in the way recruiters perceive you.
- Choose what you talk about: do you often talk about your teaching experiences, or are you sparking conversations about sports? Consider being more intentional in what you chat about, even in casual conversations.
- Reading when you’re in student lounges: what you’re reading will send a message about what you’re interested in.
- Hobbies you pursue: what do you do in your spare time? Try out a new sport, or go to games for your local teams.
- Social media: whether it be LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, what you post can impact the ways others perceive you. Share content that’s relevant to your interest in sports, and others will catch on that you’re truly interested in it.
After re-evaluating your current activities and taking the steps to rebrand yourself, use our personal branding exercise to figure out if you’re on track to projecting your new brand!