Today, I spoke to Chris Perry, MBA, who is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, an ambitious entrepreneur and a career search and personal branding expert. Chris is the founder of Career Rocketeer, its partner efforts, including Launchpad, and other online career services and communities, such as MBA Highway. He launched all of these services as an entrepreneurial effort to better serve the growing unmet needs of career seekers–both students and professionals–during these technologically dynamic and tough economic times. Chris offers career search and personal branding workshops and presentations to a variety of audiences. I included him recently in 100 Personal Branding Experts To Follow on Twitter in 2010
Mohammed: Do you think that “Personal Branding” will be the next big thing in career management?
Chris: Yes, I do. But I think it‘s important that we remember that the process of personal branding (a.k.a. reputation building, marketing yourself, networking etc.) has been around forever. It’s just that it wasn’t until much more recently that we gave it a catchy title and began to explore and “standardize” its various best practices online and offline for both job seekers and professionals.
Mohammed: I see a lot of students are taking the wrong path in their college studies and many of them have started to complain about and regret their academic choices. As a career expert, do you suggest that they change their specialization now or graduate and work in something they are passionate about?
Chris: The undergraduate degree basically tells an employer that you’re trainable. In most cases, it really doesn’t matter what you majored in at college, just that you went there and that you graduated. I majored in French during college because I love languages, but I realized that I wanted to work in marketing. And so, I got some more marketing experience via internships and part-time work, went for my MBA in marketing and brand management, and now am where I wanted to be in my career.
Only you can ultimately decide whether or not you should change your concentration in college; however, I would recommend that you change your concentration in college only IF
A) The change doesn’t negatively affect or overly-lengthen your academic career
B) The new concentration would provide you with specific skills that would be requisite for your chosen career path
C) You are miserable in your current concentration
D) There are no graduate schools, certification programs, volunteer opportunities, internships or jobs that could help you obtain the credentials and experience you may need to change career direction after college
Your passion will show in your interviews and on the job and will get you where you want to be much faster.
Mohammed: What is the most important thing to focus on when you want to change your career?
Chris: The most important thing on which to focus when changing careers is your personal brand, as that is something on which you will continue to rely for the rest of your life. Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
1) Why am I pursuing this new career path? What is my motivation and how does it relate to my personal brand?
3) What about my personal brand can I leverage to get this new career opportunity?
Brand Word: Take control of your future and position yourself and your personal brand for growth and the opportunities you want before others do it for you! You have to establish and communicate a personal brand with your goals in mind and with room to grow. Unless you’re completely content in your current position or at your current level, don’t pigeonhole yourself as a big fish in a small pond or you’ll outgrow it with few places left to go. Brand yourself to be a big fish in an ocean of opportunities and communicate and exude that brand in everything that you do to effectively pursue your career dreams and goals.
Spotlight: Career Rocketeer, your Career Search and Personal Branding Blog, is proud to announce the “launch” of its new print publication, Launchpad: Your Career Search Strategy Guide (Volume 1). Launchpad is YOUR ultimate career search strategy guide, published quarterly with exclusive articles by the top career experts in the industry. This volume’s featured career experts include: William Arruda, Meghan Biro, John Crant, Maria Elena Duron, Hajj Flemings, Phil Gerbyshak, Meg Guiseppi, G.L. Hoffman, Jessica Holbrook, Tory Johnson, Pete Kistler, Jennifer Kushell, Liz Lynch, Mike Michalowicz, Chris Perry, Brent Peterson, Phil Rosenberg, Jacob Share, Carol Tuttle and Tim Tyrell-Smith. JOB SEEKERS: Want your own copy of Launchpad? Buy now on Amazon.com!