Switching careers is truly a leap of faith – faith in both yourself and your passion for an industry. Though it can be daunting to know how to establish and rebrand yourself, you’ll ultimately be successful if you stay true to your personal brand, make a clear transition, and utilize your resources to establish yourself as an expert. Here are the most important aspects of the rebranding process.

Make the Transition Clear

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for professionals to cycle through industries, but it’s still as important as ever to make the transition clear to the public. When networking, make sure to convey the connection between your former work identity and your new endeavor. This adds credibility, creates a mental link, contributes to your professional brand, and sets you apart.

Also, be sure to clearly define the essence and goals of your new venture. It’s important that both new and old contacts have a clear view of your ambition; if they perceive your confidence in publicly leveraging your knowledge and experience in your new venture, they’ll be more likely to promote you, or even become future clients themselves.

Utilize Your Resources

A great way to make your transition public is to establish yourself as an expert through social media. When it comes to rebranding yourself, it’s imperative to make one unified leap and commit to your new profession wholeheartedly. Don’t just stop at changing your LinkedIn page title. Make sure your new industry, career goals, and personal information are consistent across the board: This means you need to update Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media presence you deem fit for your industry.

Next, go to work establishing yourself as a respected subject matter expert. Facebook and Twitter are both great for facilitating effective, intellectual conversations. By doing your research first, you can immediately demonstrate the extent to which you’ll add value to your new industry.

In addition to writing your own posts, articles, or blog, you can also share or retweet those of others. Add intelligent comments and brief reviews. Update your status with industry theories or ideas that particularly intrigue you. Also, be sure to “like,” follow, and interact with companies with similar backgrounds. By monitoring the posts of these organizations, as well as those of your peers, you can watch for opportunities to post your own conversation-starting ideas. By interacting at this level, you’ll soon see your status rise in the industry.

Build Your Brand

Once you’ve publicly and wholeheartedly committed to your transition, the work has only just begun. With constant access to online resources, the best advice I can give is to never stop reading or stop learning. Study everything you can about your new industry, but don’t be afraid to do your homework outside of it as well. You never know what insights can be applied across the board, especially in today’s highly integrated business landscape.

Because passionate people inherently live and share their passions with others, it can be invaluable to identify a mentor in your new industry. If you’re willing to learn from his or her experiences, insights, and drive, you’ll immediately gain a perspective that other industry newcomers may not.

Finally, be sure to join industry-specific organizations. Participate in conferences and speaking engagements every chance you get.  The more you can emphasize your personal brand in front of industry leaders, the better! Also, apply for awards in your industry as you become eligible – they give you instant credibility and will open many doors for networking with leaders in your field.

Your Brand… On Paper

When it comes to applying for positions in your new industry, it’s imperative to be concise, professional, and specific. This is where your professional brand really comes into play. Make your résumé uniquely you, via its layout, wording, or organization. Include only the job experiences that pertain to your current profession, and add links to your personal blogs and social media pages only if they are specific to your new industry.

Next, don’t overlook the importance of a good cover letter. For each job application, write a new cover letter that highlights your qualifications for that particular position. Because your cover letter is your first impression on your potential employer, it would behoove you to be specific in your professional goals, explaining why you would be an asset to the company. Describe a trait that sets you apart from all the other applicants. Ultimately, your cover letter is the gatekeeper to your résumé. If your cover letter doesn’t exude passion or set you apart, why should a hiring manager turn the page to read your résumé? Make him want to find out more about you.

While transitioning industries can be intimidating, you can be successful if you are able to translate your passion into a public image as an expert in your field. Do your homework, utilize your resources, and always look for ways to join in conversations with industry experts. You’ll be established in your new field before you know it.