Wherever you are in your career, there will come a time where you will need to reinvent your skills. If you’ve been looking to inject new life into your professional journey, read on.
Having a career is much like running a business with you at the centre of the show. In order to stay relevant, marketable and on top of your game, you will have to keep reinventing yourself, your attitude, your skills and your abilities. Something that we don’t think of often is that we have to look at who we are, as much as what we know in order to grow and develop.
If you’ve been looking for some new ways in which to spruce up your career, and give yourself a new professional lease on life, here are some ways in which to do so.
How to reinvent yourself professionally
1. Challenge what you Know
Go beyond the textbook, your training, what you learnt at college or university even at the beginning of your career. There comes a time in any person’s career when you have to challenge what you know. Ask yourself if your skillset and knowledge base is enough for the career that you’re in. If not, it may be time to enrol in a part-time course to skill up, attach yourself to an apprentice or even consider different career choices.
2. Increase your Networking Efforts
So you’ve sat in the same building for over three years, but in all honesty, you can’t say that you know anything about the person down the hallway. Not that you need to know what they’re eating for lunch, but rather that your combined skills or knowledge may lead to innovation or opportunity. Have an informal coffee meet up, exchange ideas… networking helps in the professional setting.
3. Give your Social Media Pages a Make-Over
We are living in the digital age, whether you would like to acknowledge this or not. Something you may not always pay attention to are your social media pages and profiles. Bosses, peers, people in the know are always watching and can gain insights from your social media profiles. What impression do people get when they look at your social media profile? Having said that, it isn’t just another person’s impression that matters, it is also important to know how to present a favourable impression of yourself online. Find ways to develop your social media presence as it will stand as an online portfolio of sorts.
4.Dress for Success
There’s just something about a person who looks the part and acts the part. No matter how comfortable you are in an environment, how you look and how you present yourself has the power to determine your professional experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to look like you’re stepping off the fashion ramp, but have neat nails, neat and well-tailored clothing, fresh hair and an office-appropriate wardrobe. Grooming well for the workplace is the ultimate courtesy that you can extend to your own development.
5. Step up for Training and Skills Development
Listen carefully for opportunities in your current environment. Bosses and managers are often speaking about skilling-up and going on training courses to improve different sectors of the business. This is your moment to speak up about your passion and strategically position yourself to improve your workspace and add value to your environment.
6. Be Interview-Ready at All Times
Your life should always be an expression of who you are and what you stand for. If for whatever reason, you feel as if it is time to explore other pastures, it helps to be ready to explore that opportunity at the drop of a hat. Try to keep your CV and portfolio updated at all times, so that if an opportunity comes up, you can easily strike while the iron is hot and apply for the job.
7. Think of yourself as a Brand
The first step toward others taking you seriously, is that you take yourself seriously first. Take the time to build and nurture your social media presence, blogs and other media. Find ways to position yourself as an authority on a subject. It may not seem like it now, but the efforts that you put into brand-building today, will lend you an air of trust and authority tomorrow.
8. Know your Strengths and turn them into Skills
You may need to enlist the help of another person in order to evaluate this. Take the time to sit down with a trusted colleague or manager and find out about their impressions of you. You may even need to have a bit of career counselling in order to get focused. The perspective that you gain from another person will help you understand where you could do with some development.
9. Engage a Mentor
We are never in a position to know it all. There are always new horizons to be explored, new information to be absorbed and most importantly people we can learn from. Mentorship need not be a dying art. Look for people in your immediate environment who you aspire to be like from a personal and professional point of view. Connect with them and if you can shadow them on an ongoing basis.
10. Filter out Negativity
Reflect on the nature of the thoughts that go through your head on a daily basis. Are you guilty of perpetuating negativity? On a basic level, you need to first address your own mental chatter to see if you are the one who’s putting yourself down. If not, examine the people who are in your life. Get ruthless about your time, and anybody who is putting a drain on your energy, as this will eventually filter into your professional life. Also get into the practice of positive affirmations and positivity, so that you are able to build your own self-confidence.
Building and maintaining a solid career is something that calls for energy, patience, maintenance and a good deal of observation. Whether you are at the starting stakes, in the middle of your career or winding down, you can always find the presence of mind to inject new life and vigour into your career.