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How to Reinvent Yourself in a Changing World


7/25/2011 3:06:15 PM

By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

Change is inevitable. And if there is one thing the recent recession has taught all of us, it’s that no job lasts forever. While cutbacks and layoffs have occurred across the board, some industries have been harder hit than others. It’s no secret that the biotech industry has seen massive layoffs. A June 2011 article in the New York Times pointed to drug company research outsourcing to India and China as a leading cause, spurred by significant loss of revenue due to patent expirations. Whatever the reason, thousands of intelligent, educated and experienced professionals are without employment. If you’re among them, whatever your industry, it may be time to reinvent yourself and your career.

1. Take time to think.
Reinvention doesn’t happen overnight, it takes significant time. If you’re unemployed, you probably have the time. If you’re currently working, but feel your job is in danger, make taking the time a priority. There are lots of questions you need to ask yourself before you begin your reinvention. Questions about where you are, where you’ve been and where you want to be in the future. Give yourself an hour or two each day; you can even think about it during your commute. Write down your thoughts.

2. Ask yourself what you want.
Now is the time to dream, and dream big. There are no right or wrong answers, as long as you answer honestly. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Is it in the same industry? Do you want to change industries? Have you always dreamt of living somewhere else? Do you dream of owning your own company or do you prefer to work for someone else?

3. Ask yourself what you need.
Do you need to make a certain amount of money to satisfy your financial obligations? Do you need to work certain hours to facilitate caring for your family? Do you need a certain level of responsibility to maintain interest in your job? Do you need to be challenged within your position? Do you need to make a difference in the world or in the lives of others?

4. Analyze your strengths.
These are the things you do well, the characteristics you posses, which will serve you regardless of industry or position. Do you have excellent leadership skills? Are you organized and precise? Can you master complex tasks under stress? Does everyone like you? Are you persuasive, eloquent or fearless? Consider these “transferable skills.” It is these skills that will make your reinvention possible.

5. Evaluate your options.
Maybe you’ve lost the passion for pharmaceutical research that you once had. You feel like your work is no longer making a real difference. You may want to reinvent yourself as a teacher, or look for work with a venture-backed start-up where you feel a greater connection again. Regardless of your industry, you have lots of options. Make a lateral move to a different department. Make an upward move in a related industry. Take a step down and into a job that fulfills a lifelong passion.

6. Package your new self.
When you’re ready to start applying for new positions, don’t do it with your old resume. Hiring managers don’t care about every job you’ve ever had or even everything you did at your last job. They do care about whether or not you can do the job they’re hiring for. Construct a resume that highlights your transferable skills and makes it easy to see what your past successes mean for their company.

Reinvention can be scary. It can also be one of the most invigorating things you’ve ever done. The key is to be open to all the possibilities, including the less obvious ones. A difficult time in your current industry can be just the push you need to reinvent your career and make a positive change.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - July 28, 2011.

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