Read “Reinventing You” to Create Your Next Chapter

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reinventing yourselfThe other day I had a really sad meeting.  I was doing a favor for a friend and agreed to meet with a guy who was networking to find a new job.  We met in person at a coffee shop.  He showed up dressed in a suit and he had copies of his resume.  He did everything perfectly – if — if,  it was 1998.

Nothing about this meeting was working.

I came away committed to referring him to a client, friend or a fellow business owner who was looking for help.  But I just couldn’t get to the information that I needed to make the referral. What was he capable of that set him apart? How did he differ from all the other unemployed job seekers?

We finished the meeting in about an hour or so, but I have been thinking about it ever since.  What has changed so drastically since the last century?  Why is a process that worked perfectly in the past so out-of-touch with today’s work environment?

One of the ideas I came up with, but hadn’t been able to articulate, was an observation that today’s job market requires that everyone in it be branded in some way. A person has to be known for what the employer or the customer can count on them for.

Reinventing You Shows You How to Brand Yourself Successfully

In this insightful book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, branding expert Dorie Clark (@DorieClark) offers a step-by-step guide to help you assess your strengths and develop a compelling personal brand.  The goal is to ensure that others recognize the powerful contribution you can make.

It’s all abut reinventing yourself and how you present yourself to others.  The book runs just over 200 pages and even contains an appendix with a professional reinvention self-assessment.

Clark takes you through the “New Branding Landscape” so that you understand exactly what kind of environment you’re playing in.  Then she walks you through understanding where you are now, what your destination is going to be, and how to pick up any skills that are missing.  From there she shows you how to leverage those uniquenesses that set you apart, creating a new story for yourself, introducing your new self to the world and, finally, proving your worth.

Throughout the book you’ll find stories of people going through the process that will lend context to Clark’s process.  Another feature of the book that I really like is that she has these “Try This” boxes inside of every chapter. They give you homework or skills to practice.

Here is just one example from the chapter on Researching Your Destination:

  • Make a list of people you think are doing the most interesting things. this could be anyone from famous business leaders to your neighbor who lived in Bangkok for a year.
  • Salt their bios online.  You can usually find them on the “About” page of their company’s website, but you may also have to do some detective work.  If they’re well known, read news articles to familiarize yourself with their progression.
  • Identify Patterns.  If every person you admire is a Rotarian, maybe you should think about joining.  If they all raise money to fight breast cancer, you can build a solid network by pitching in.
  • Brainstorm a list of goals based on your idols.  Think big: Visiting at least 50 countries, getting your own radio talk show, raising a million dollars for charity – whatever appeals to you.

This book is targeted to executives and business owners at any stage of their lives who want something different and better for their careers.  In the foreword to the book Clark quotes Longfellow, “We judge ourselves by what we are capable of doing, while others judge us on what we have already done.”  This book is focused on uncovering what you’re capable of doing — so that you can do it.

Dorie Clark Is An Expert Reinventor

As a marketing strategist, clients like those at Google, Yale and the National Park Service counted on her to help them reinvent themselves.  But what makes this book so powerful (I think) is the fact that Dorie has gone through this process herself a few times.

Her first brush with reinvention happened on the event of September 11, 2001 when she got laid off from a reporting job at a weekly newspaper after barely a year on the job.  After one of the most tragic events in our history, she had to find another job.  She did some freelance work, always intending to stay in journalism, when she got the opportunity to be the Press Secretary for Robert Reich.  From there she launched her consulting firm.

The defining factor for her was understanding that today’s audiences aren’t paying attention.  They simply have too much to do and are overwhelmed with their own issues.  And that means a successful reinvention has to connect what you do well with what matters to your audience.

It’s this journalistic law of writing, paying attention to who your audience is and what matters to them, that has made Clark a successful branding expert.  If you are in the process of reinventing yourself or feel you need to do something to make  yourself stand out, this book is a vital guide well worth picking up and following.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."