There’s a lot of buzz in the media and social media about reinventing yourself for career advancement and job transitions. Is reinventing yourself really necessary? The plain truth is ‘yes’.
There are signposts everywhere that we need to continuously reinvent ourselves: Layoffs. Restructuring. Constant decline in sales. Bypassed for promotions or projects. Friction with your boss or colleagues, for no fault of yours – a sign that you don’t fit”.
In a recent interview with Marty Avery, a Human Resources Consultant in Ontario, she outlined, “In the current marketplace, we have to evolve. We have to constantly make ourselves relevant to the marketplace. We need to think of the process of reinventing ourselves as a continuum – moving from easy steps to harder ones. It’s a matter of degrees – we, either, learn a new skill, get a new certification, try our hand at public speaking, manage new types of projects. Or pursue something aspirational.”
20 Steps You Can Take To Prepare For Change
1. Take Stock, regularly. Document and remind yourself regularly of your interests, skills and personality traits.
2. Also take stock of what you like and what you do not like about your current position. What type of managers working style do you prefer – too much autonomy or too little autonomy?
3. Plan & research the market. LinkedIn is great resource. Look for opportunities in unusual places. Read a lot about what HR people are looking for.
4. Marketing Material. Create resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, start a blog (the latter, if relevant). Create some introductory material – business cards, a one page personal flyer. Help others to help you. Communicate clearly who you are, what you are interested in and what type of opportunities you are looking for – and what you are not.
5. Get known. Get curious. Network. Start where you are comfortable. Know what makes you special. Get curious about opportunities. Get curious about what makes others great.
6. Prepare for interviews: Write and rehearse speaking about your strengths, weaknesses, unique value. Learn how to tell those STAR stories of how you make the organization or business healthier financially, culturally. Research and arm yourself with good questions. Nothing sinks interviews like no questions.
7. Follow up. Let everyone know how you are doing with your re-invention.
8. Ask for help. People want to return your kindness to them and will agree to help.
9. Create a good environment, physical and mental. Create physical spaces where you can work uninterrupted and increase social interactions. Use local libraries, coffeeshops. Also important is to create a mental space. Sometimes this might require a professional guide. Look for them in public services, library resources, YMCA, etc.
10. Surround yourself with Champions. Surround yourself with people who see more and better potential in you. Limit exposures to others who don’t support you.
11. Start an Advisory Group. Start a small group – it can include your mum, dad, siblings, in laws – people who will hold you accountable.
12. “Show off, it will pay off.” Develop a modest way to show off your value. It’s hard to toot your own horn. Particularly for South Asians, who are taught about humility, which is a good thing, but not when you need to market yourself. Know when and how to speak up.
13. Work ethic. Expand your already great work ethic to be more participatory. Know how to ask relevant questions in meetings, not after. Get empowered to do this.
14. Canadian experience. Choose your first job carefully. Volunteer and offer to take on projects that will help you build or complement your current skill set.
15. Leverage your “biculturalism” or “triculturalism”. Take inventory of the invisible pieces that are a part of you that can offer real value. They offer unique opportunities. For instance, food businesses, wedding planners, capital fund managers and many more – need to understand unique cultural sensitivities, be able to speak to a unique customer profiles, have their messages translated to various languages. This type of knowledge can be incredibly valuable in the job market.
16. Find Mentors or coaches – of all ages, stages in careers, gender. Listen purposefully.
17. Volunteer. Chose organizations or programs that are outside your community. Many organizations support volunteering program with paid hours – use the opportunity.
18. Lean into Your Passion.
19. Commit & Focus. Make the time to pursue your passion.
20. Deadlines and Accountability. Create deadlines to complete tasks.
And finally, if you chose to hire a career development professional, hire someone who is aligned with your vision. As Marty sums it up, “Dreams require loft. Dreams require people who can keep you buoyant.” Surround yourself with people and things that will help you thrive.