The 7 Tenets for Effective Branding™ - Tenet #3: Know How Thy Market Works
So, you've followed Tenet #1 and Tenet #2, and feel ready to head to the market.
If you decide that you want to "change lanes" and significantly shift functional-focus or industry-focus, you'll want to understand How the Market Works so that you choose the branding and job search strategies best fitted for your search.
And, this is where it gets tricky.
There are varying degrees of "changing lanes,"and never a cookie-cutter solution. Every situation is highly unique. To help guide your learning, I have included a couple of examples:
Let's say you have grown your career to become a top-performing sales leader for a $2B software company for the past 15+ years, and now want to step away from a pure-play sales leader role and transition into a sales enablement leadership role. As a "side gig" to your existing pure-play sales leader role, you've been involved in influencing stakeholders and building out sales enablement tools and processes at your existing company for the past 3+ years ...so, you actually do have some pretty good sales enablement experience here. You also want stay within the same industry. Now what?
This is what I would call a "smaller" change in lane.
Your best strategy is to have your branding redone and reshaped so that you are positioned correctly to align with your future goal. In this situation, you may get good traction by applying online and getting leads via LinkedIn, as you are looking to stay in the same industry and not make a significant change.
If this doesn't work, then it's time to hit the road with highly strategic networking or a "go direct" strategy to tap the hidden market---circumventing the gatekeepers.
Let's say you've been in the commercial, for-profit sector for the past 15+ years with progressive operational leadership roles. But now you want to get into non-profit or academia. Now what?
Your best strategy is to have your branding redone to support this transition and reshape how you are perceived by these distinctly different target audiences---as their hiring criteria is very, very different. So, the branding and your outreach needs to reflect this.
I also recommend investing in a full-fledged cover letter (or Letter of Intent), as this marketing document plays an important role in their selection process. The cover letter needs to state the "why" you want to make a transition and the "why" you want to be in academia or non-profit. If non-profit, you want to state why you are passionate about their cause.
Now, here comes the part you might not want to hear:
To make such a transition, if you are in The Messy Middle with 10+ years' experience, your best strategy is to network your way in. Posting to online job boards will not be your best strategy. To better understand the "why" behind this recommendation, scoot over to blog postings Part 1, 2, and 3 of the "Posting Online? Know the 3 Audiences Impacting Your Search" series.
You've been in PR and marketing (Marketing Manager/Director-level) for retail apparel companies for the past 12+ years. You've been successful, but are tired of retail apparel and want to transition into a new industry.
Which industry? You don't have a preference at this time: "just anything." Now what?
This is where I would recommend going back to Tenet #1 and ask yourself why do you want to leave the industry---what are you hoping to create? What are you moving towards with this decision (versus running from---which is a different type of job search, and not recommended).
And then start listing out industries that do interest you. Just "winging it" won't work in today's market when you are in The Messy Middle.
Have your branding updated so that it speaks to your target audiences. Know that it's highly probable you will need to network your way in. Why is this? To better understand these dynamics, refer to Part 2 of the 3-part "Posting Online? Know the 3 Audiences Impacting Your Search" series, where I discuss in more depth regarding how the search algorithms work against you in this type of job search-setting.
Hope you have found this helpful as you begin to plan your search.