We’ve all heard stories of the miserable banker who decided to start fresh by opening her own bakery or the sales rep who successfully moved over to the marketing department. But, since your previous experience tends to shape the opportunities available to you, how can you truly reinvent your career?
Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert and New York Times bestselling author of “Promote Yourself,” says it’s actually possible to reinvent yourself on a daily basis. “It’s an easier process than it has ever been because nowadays you can control perceptions online and brand yourself based on your current interest, not past hobbies, if you so choose.”
Based on what the market is paying, your strengths, and your passions, you may need to adapt and reinvent yourself regularly so that you remain fulfilled, happy, and relevant in your professional life, he says. “Reinvention allows you to become more valuable, while others are left with jobs that are becoming obsolete.”
Here are three easy ways to reinvent yourself at work:
Choose a skill or topic to master, and let people know about it. You can reinvent yourself by changing your focus area, investing time to master it, and then letting people know about your new skills and insights.
“You can master new skills by reading books, learning from mentors, and by taking classes,” Schawbel says. Then, you let people know about these skills, not by bragging, but by actively seeking projects in the company where you can display them through your work.
Learn about new career paths by researching online and asking people that you know. Once you find one where you can leverage your skills, start positioning yourself online using LinkedIn and other networks, so that people see your interest and contact you with opportunities.
“The online world is all about the law of attraction,” he says. “How you present yourself on social networks and websites will either attract or repel opportunities.” You always want to brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have. In order to do that, you need to use keywords on your sites that reflect the career you want to establish so that you become known as someone who is focused on that area.
Start networking with people in other industries and professions so that your reinvention transition is smoother. This way, you will know people who are in the career that you’re interested in and can learn about what skills they have that you require. “For instance, you can ask someone you meet how they like their current career, how they broke into the industry, and the skills they have developed at their job. Then, you can aggressively develop those skills and leverage that contact to secure a job.”
Outside of your day job is the perfect time to acquire these skills and develop this network — and once you feel prepared, you can leverage the network to secure jobs.
“While you’re trying to establish yourself in a new area, remember to keep focused on doing your current job well so that you can get a good reference from your current employer should you decide to pursue something else,” Schawbel concludes.
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