Actor Dennis Quaid, known for a successful career rebound in the 1980s, once said, "If you're going to stick around in this business, you have to have the ability to reinvent yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously."
Although he was talking about the movie industry, the same can be said for anyone making a career change or conducting a job search. It's important to follow your dreams and passions, but you might want to consider some ideas to reinvent yourself if you're finding it difficult to secure employment or are underemployed.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Avoid overthinking. Don't spend the majority of your time analyzing all your options and barriers. Simply plan and identify three options that you have interest in pursuing. Look for work related to what matters to you, and understand that you can always change your mind. You should begin to focus your goals and objectives on achieving these interests. Invest time in becoming familiar with your chosen industry by researching trends, products, organization culture and the skills required to succeed.
Set goals. Being organized will be key to your success, as committing to overhauling your career can be overwhelming. Your goals should be specific, reasonable, measurable and relevant, as well as have a time line for completion. Commit yourself to work on your job search daily. Rely on whatever motivates you, be it friends, family, music, etc., to stay focused. Take it one step at a time and, before you know it, you'll be working in your career of choice for a competitive wage.
Identify mentors. These are people who can provide you with consultation, as well as support and encouragement. You want someone who will be honest with you and assist in mapping out your written plan. Ideally, this person will have worked in the area in which you seek employment. Look for someone who has experience and can offer some wisdom.
Write it down. It is common knowledge that if you write a goal down, you're more likely to accomplish it. Consider the adage, "If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail." It's not easy and cannot be done overnight, but commit your ideas and goals to paper. Seeing your written plan will serve as a constant reminder and motivator for you to accomplish what has become a daunting task — the job search in a still-tough economy.
Don't think that you will be able to reinvent yourself as radically as some reinventions you see on television shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Your key ingredient will be commitment. You owe it to yourself to stay committed to your job search and take it one day at a time and ask yourself, "What I can do today?"
I hope you take a deliberate approach to reinventing yourself and becoming more assertive in your job search in this new year. Also, take advantage of the new opportunities before you. I'll be leading a free career workshop on setting goals from 9-11:30 a.m. Feb. 18 at Coffea at 385 Rose Street. I encourage you to join me.