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Five Ways to Reinvent Your Professional Self

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In this tumultuous economy many people have changed careers by
necessity and others, by choice. This is the perfect opportunity to
take charge of your destiny and reinvent your professional self to
reignite your career and your life.

There are five essential self assessment strategies to pursue for your
professional reinvention. These steps will empower you with confidence
and help you discover what you really want so you can market yourself
and achieve your career goals.

1. Consider What You Value - Take the time to get quiet with
yourself and determine what you value. Values are the biggest
predictor of career satisfaction. Rank the things that are most
important for you in a career such as: flexibility, security,
autonomy, salary, work/life balance, etc. The values list is endless
and only you can articulate what is important for your work
environment. Values also change over time so what you want in a
workplace now may be very different from the job you held 5 years ago.

2. Rediscover Your Interests - Knowing your interests can help
you unlock your passion when choosing a career. Interests are the
biggest predictors in career selection since we gravitate towards what
we like. Are you a hands-on doer, an investigative thinker, or one who
likes to create or invent? Perhaps you are interested in helping
people or enjoy organizing data and information, or maybe you enjoy
persuading and influencing others to achieve a goal. Your interests
may lead you to a brand new career or entrepreneurial opportunity.

3. Embrace Your Personality - Personality refers to your unique
patterns of mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral
characteristics. Your personality preferences play a big role in the
types of work you may like or dislike.

  • Where do you draw your energy? Do you prefer to focus on the
  • external world of people and actions or are you energized by ideas and
  • feelings of the inner world?
  • How do you perceive information? Do you focus on the realities

  • of the present or the possibilities of the future?
  • How do you make decisions? Are you guided by objective,

  • analytical reasoning or subjective, personal values?
  • What is your need for order in life? Do you prefer to be
  • organized and planned or spontaneous and flexible?

Know thyself and honor your inborn personality type to help you find a
career that matches your natural tendencies.

4. Scrutinize Your Skill Set - A skill is an ability, based on
training or experience, to do something well. The goal is to discover
what they are and market them with humble confidence to make you
attractive to employers who value these skills in the workplace.
Skills fall into three main categories:

  • Transferable Skills - taken from job to job and important in
  • many career sectors. Examples include: communication (verbal and
  • written), critical thinking, analytical, leadership, project
  • management.
  • Specialized Knowledge - these are skills relevant to a

  • particular job or career field. Examples include: operating laboratory

  • equipment, computer program proficiency, and foreign language ability.
  • Adaptive Skills - these are personal competencies you bring to
  • the professional environment and often the most sought after by
  • employers. Examples include: motivation, initiative, integrity,
  • flexibility and resilience.

5. Develop Your Brand - You must showcase your strengths and
define your "special sauce" in this competitive job arena. Market your
unique combination of passions and talents and develop your story
about why this is a valuable commodity. If you need a jump start,
query people in your circle of trust and ask them what makes you
special. Ultimately you are in control of your personal brand but
gathering input from others can be a great point of departure.

Take the time to get quiet with yourself and discover what you value,
what interests you, how your personality plays a role in your career,
and inventory your skills. You can't plan your career road map until
you know here you want to go and it begins with self reflection.
Developing your brand will help you play to your strengths to identify
opportunities where you will thrive.

Whether you are looking to reinvent yourself in the same industry,
transition to a new career, or develop your own business, this is your
opportunity to clean the slate and design a new professional you that
plays to your strengths and feeds your soul so you can take control of
your career and your life. Let the games begin!

Caroline Dowd-Higgins pens a career transition blog called "This Is
Not the Career I Ordered" (www.notthecareeriordered.com). She is also
the Director of Career & Professional Development at Indiana
University Maurer School of Law.

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