Reinventing You: How to Build a Brand While Job Hopping
The previous generation had about two to three jobs in a career, so they didn’t need the skill of reinventing themselves. Today it’s not unusual for people to change jobs a dozen times which means that now reinvention is a matter of survival. How can we bring something new to the table every time we change jobs? How can we reinvent ourselves as painlessly as possible? The multi-talented SC Moatti responds to these questions.
SC Moatti, the bestselling author of Mobilized, is a visionary in the field of product management. She has 12 years of experience building products in companies such as Electronic Arts, Yahoo, Nokia, and Trulia.
She’s also the former executive of Facebook and the founder of Products that Count, online community of Product Managers and Innovators. At the moment she does early-stage investing, lectures at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she’s a board member at Opera Software.
“Reinventing yourself is a mindset.”
In the online event, she talked about building a brand while job hopping. Because Millennials change jobs more often than the previous generations, it is important for people to know how to rebuild themselves. The key points in her presentation were how to reinvent yourself professionally, three easy steps to raise one’s profile and tips for effective and efficient networking approaches. “Reinventing yourself is a mindset” Moatti stated.
She continued by saying that the world is tough. It’s tough for companies because they have to reinvent and rebuild themselves. In the past, they needed to change every seven to ten years, but now reinvention is needed every three to five years.
It’s not only the company that needs to reinvent itself it’s also the business. It’s tough for the individual also because now that the company changes the workforce has to change as well. “People have to reinvent themselves a dozen times in their career.”
How to reinvent yourself professionally?
Moatti compared the process of reinventing yourself to the process of growing a company or a product. She uses the same tool for both of them. First, you define success and set your goal, and then you map everything to a funnel.
Set your goal
The first step is thinking of your next opportunity and setting the goal to who you want to be in about two to three years. Moatti suggested that you see yourself as a product that has many skills and many roles. Being realistic about the goal is important because even though you may have a lot of different skills, you need to learn more.
Refining the goal will get you the job you want. When you’ve learned the skills, you need to meet the people who are hiring or who are Product Managers themselves and network. A common mistake that Moatti advised to avoid is to not settle for less than your goal. “Don’t settle for a company you’re not excited about. Set the aim high and stick to it.”
Map it out
The second step is to map everything, that leads to achieving your goal, to a funnel. Are there any skills that could be transferred to accomplish the goals? Are there any people in the network that you could talk to to get close to the goal? What are the companies that interest you? All this will go into the funnel.
But…there is no funnel
Now here comes the difficult part; there isn’t a funnel for reinventing yourself. There isn’t a plan to follow. All opportunities are serendipitous. They come and go, and they can’t be planned. “What you really want to think are disruptive and innovative ways to construct your career to reinvent yourself,” Moatti said.
Hooks – The art of reinventing yourself
She continued by saying that “one way that will help you in the process is making yourself attractive to the type of role you want to have by being creative and innovative.” This she called a hook. She gave an example from her own life. Some time ago she wanted to start a company, but she didn’t have the right people to start it with.
To find a person to co-found a company with she set up an organization called Founder Dating in Silicon Valley that connects people that are looking for co-founders. With the help of the organization, she got herself a partner and helped many other people find theirs as well.
Another way to make yourself more attractive is volunteering. When you volunteer at organizations like Products That Count you can connect with people, network and create opportunities. You may very well find your next job there.
After you’ve done “the art and science of reinventing yourself,” you need to let things happen for you and according to Moatti’s words “let it go.” Just let things happen to you.
Three steps to raise your profile
If you want to raise your profile, there are three fairly easy steps to do it. The first is joining the conversation by curating news, hosting people from the company you respect or retweeting interesting content related to product management. Moatti suggests retweeting one interesting thing every day.
The second is to shape the conversation by commenting, moderating and tweeting own opinions. Give your own contribution to the conversation. You can do this by writing an article once a month and being in one panel every month.
The last step is to drive the conversation. You can do this by taking stands, writing and speaking about your field. Write a book and give talks and eventually, you will become the thought leader in your field.
Questions from the followers
How do you “let it go” when you’re very ambitious?
You make letting go your target. I understand that a lot of people are ambitious and they work 24/7 trying to reach their goals but at some point it becomes counterproductive. Sometimes you have to let time do its work. Just make that a goal to let it go. Think about what are the things you can do to let it go.
I have one personal example. What I use to help me are like hobbies. They are things that require enough attention on my part that I let go of the thing, my goals because I have to focus on that hobby. A good example of that is playing chess. If I want to win at chess, I better pay attention to where I put my pieces. I forget about my ambition and my goal because I need to win the chess game. Another hobby example would be horseback riding.
What would you say are the best ways to communicate my PM skills in a 10-minute conversation at a networking event?
At a networking event, my recommendation is to build a connection to the person you’re talking with. Don’t show them your resume. Talk and see if there’s a good fit, for example, if you get along with the people you’re talking to that is a good sign. At this point, it is likely that they feel the same about you. Then you might want to follow up with them after that to go through the interview process but.
In the beginning of a networking event to build a connection, you can talk about your love for car racing, for example, and if the other person loves that too then, you can talk about the last time you went to a car race. After that you can continue talking about your experience and history in product and that you would love to chat with them about working at their company.
Thinking of yourself as a product helps you look at the situation from a different angle. Every product needs branding and so do you. The brand of a product doesn’t stay the same for long periods of time and neither should yours either. There isn’t one way or even two ways to reinvent yourself but there are plenty of roads for everyone.