Reinventing yourself isn't just for former child stars anymore (here's looking not-too-subtly at you, Miley). You could have a plethora of reasons for wanting to reinvent yourself at work: Whether you're done being in an entry level position, you fell in love with an unexpected department in your office, or you feel like you have so much more potential to offer that only a corner office could contain, there are a stack of reasons why you would want to start a change. But wanting to reinvent yourself is one thing, but actually doing it (and successfully) is a whole other.
Knowing you're ready for a change doesn't mean you know where to begin, and the whole task can seem a little daunting. Kind of like that moment where you stood on campus for the first time with your map, thinking, "Now what?"
While you might be growing in new areas and buffing your professional-woman skills, the trick to this process is to make those around you aware that you're doing it. You can't have a re-branding and not have anyone notice how much more you can bring to the meeting-room-table. Below are seven tips on how to begin to reinvent yourself at work, and how to let your coworkers know it's happening!
1. Understand How People View You
You might have some talents and qualities when it comes to your job that you weren't aware of, and highlighting those would be a great first step in your career reinvention. But how do you find those out? If you ask those close to you to describe you in three words, you can pull out what people notice about you and use it to your advantage. Those are your strengths; the things people count on you for. Now go buff them.
According to Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You and contributor to The Economist, "One activity I suggest in the course is the 'three word exercise,' in which you ask about half a dozen people, 'If you only had three words to describe me, what would they be?' This forces them to prioritize and cite only the most important, memorable things about you — a revealing exercise." You might discover people think you creative, ruthlessly organized, a fair leader — things you might not have necessarily given yourself credit for. You can use those qualities as the foundation to build your new image.
2. Learn New Things To Master
If you want to improve and rebrand yourself as more experienced and knowledgeable, you have to gain the knowledge and experience. Dan Schawbel, New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself, told Business Insider, "You can master new skills by reading books, learning from mentors, and by taking classes. 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."
Once you gather the skill you had your sights on, start transitioning your position to include that skill. Volunteer for jobs or projects that incorporate it, or offer up your expertise when brainstorming about it. It'll get you noticed.
3. Create New Professional Relationships
Chances are you have your clique in the office: They're the people you grab coffee with, vent in the bathroom with, and wait by the elevators for. But if you want to grow and change your image at work, you're going to have to open up that circle.
Schawbel told career-development site Levo, "Relationships play an essential role in your personal brand because they can help you discover new ideas and identify your strengths. Make it a goal to connect with at least one new professional and find a mentor. These connections can provide you with the guidance you need to create a stronger personal brand this year."
Face it, your latte pals aren't going to point out you might be slacking in one area, or could improve in another. Become acquaintances with someone your senior or in the position you hope to be, and pick their brain. Show an interest in their skills, ask how they got to their level, share your own knowledge in the industry — going outside your friend circle can prove to be invaluable down the road.
4. Find A Tribe To Pull Inspiration From
Looking to transition into a more boss lady role? Find a woman just like that and connect with her for inspiration, whether in real life, social media, or through a blog.
Jacquelyn Smith, career editor at Business Insider, suggest, "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."
Say you want to move to the marketing department — follow an inspiring social media strategist on Twitter. Reach out and make connections, whether they're one-on-one or you silently following them. Their information will help steer you in the direction you need to shift.
5. Take Your Appearance Up A Notch
Ever heard of the phrase, "Dress for the job you want, not the one you have." If you want a certain position or want to come across a certain way, dress for the part.
Schawbel offers, "Your appearance determines how people perceive you...You don’t have to make any drastic changes, but think about some ways you can make yourself feel better about your job search and the impression you make on employers."
That doesn't just mean buying a new supply of blazers. You don't have to go corporate, unless of course you want to. It just means start reflecting the type of person you want to come across as. Think of Andrea in Devil Wears Prada — once she started dressing like she understood the industry, the industry took her more seriously.
6. Use Competition To Become More Hardworking
There's always that one person in the office that kicks ass, whether it's producing stellar results, coming up with ace ideas, or just always being freakishly efficient. Find that person, and make it your life mission to be better than them.
According to Lindy DeKoven, Executive Vice President of NBC and contributor to Maria Shriver, "Such a scary thought: competing. Yet, like it or not, it’s part of the workplace and essential to building a career. Don’t avoid it. Embrace it. Get out there and compete wildly for the job you want."
Use some healthy competition to drive you to do your best, and then better.
7. Be Tenacious
Reinventing yourself at work is not something that'll take a week. But if you keep at it and keep proving your worth and growth, you'll get to where you want to be.
DeKoven said, "Women tend to wait their turn. We seem conditioned to want more, but accept less. But we must ask questions and say what we want. And we must not give up. Keep at it. Persistence does pay off."
If you worked hard to reinvent yourself, the last step is to not give up until that work has paid off. Keep on the path!