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Book Review: Reinventing Yourself

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Career change is one of the most difficult things to do in your professional life. Yet, it has become an urgent imperative for many as the financial industry consolidates and downsizes. We are now in an era of rapid job turnover, and frequent change in industry business models. Steve Chandler, author of Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be concludes, "...at some point you'll need to reinvent yourself professionally..." as this is "a new era of faster-moving professional trajectories, shorter tenures at jobs and the ability to instantly communicate your message across the world."

The great value of Reinventing Yourself is its systematic approach. Each chapter has a step-by-step process for the reader. There is an Appendix worksheet, "Your Professional Self-Assessment," which allows the readers to see themselves as others would, and follow up with an action plan that presents a new professional image that ends in a satisfying new career direction.

The first step in personal reinvention is "understanding that [your reputation] and identifying any gaps between the current reality, and where you want to be in the future, is vital to beginning your reinvention process." Reinventing You then goes on to the next steps, which include "Research Your Destination" and "Test-Drive Your Path." Properly-structured information interviews, volunteering, joining committees and boards, publishing articles, organizing speaker panels, having a mentor, and belonging to professional societies are among the practical applications of this process.

Finally, you need to develop a "compelling story that explains your transition." This is not easy, and has risks—as shown by the awkward, often embarrassing, public image reinventions by recent political candidates. But, it can be done. The book has a number of real-life stories and examples which point the way, and give extra creditability to the book and its message.

When creating your story, you need to "show what makes you different "in a crowded marketplace." You need to "understand what you have that they don't," as hundreds of resumes pour in for each job opening. This is especially true for upper-tier senior people. Often this group, with great resumes, has problems even getting a job interview.

My late mother once advised me, "Don't get comfortable." These days the world won't let us get, or stay, comfortable. Every financial professional should read Reinventing You, and start moving.

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