From Wall Street to WalMart: Finding Recovery in a Recession

From Wall Street to WalMart, Banker to Baker, Tech Worker to Teacher and Lawyer to Landscaper, the recession has forced millions of Americans to reinvent themselves as a means of survival. According to the Labor Department about 45% of the 6.5 million Americans who became unemployed in this downturn lost their jobs permanently. Furthermore, online career site CareerBuilder.com reports that 71% of those who have been laid off are looking for jobs outside their fields. This shift has created a revolution of personal brand reinvention like never seen before. But I am often asked the question how does reinvention lead to recovery?

If you have lost your job or are contemplating how to reinvent yourself in this recession there is some good news. First, when you can bring your skills to impact another industry or sector you build your portfolio of transferable skills which enhances your career prospects. Secondly, studies show that job movers who have traded in status-only positions for purpose-driven positions achieve a greater sense of life fulfillment and satisfaction.

So if you can define your recovery as the ability to be satisfied, using skills that allow you to transfer your success, irrespective of the economic environment, then you will find a way to reinvent your brand as a means to recover from this recession.

So here are five tips on reinventing your brand.

1. Match Your Skills With a Job Outside Your Field

You should always have a “Plan B” even if your job is secure. Start by creating a profession-to-skills matrix that matches each of your skills with a job in another field you could do today if you were laid off.

2. Take on a Volunteer Project in a Sector you Want to Explore

It is always easier to reinvent yourself after having some practice. Volunteer your time with an association or not-for-profit organization that will allow you to explore a new sector. It will be a free internship and great way to get some exposure to how you would perform in a new environment.

3. Create a Survival Based Budget

The most difficult part of recovering in the recession is often getting used to a new lifestyle and spending patterns. Create a survival budget that details your expenses on the top 10 items you purchase per week. Find an equivalent product, generic brand, or substitute frequency of use for each of those items. By doing this you will free up additional funds to adjust to your reinvented lifestyle.

4. Spend more time on the Internet Becoming an Expert

The greatest thing about the Internet is that it allows you to become an expert and to be known for something quickly without having to spend years studying a chosen discipline. To reinvent yourself online, make a plan to respond to 10 online blogs a week in the new field where you are looking to enter. You will become a known authority in six months and be able to assemble a portfolio of knowledge, articles, and insight that will make you marketable in your new environment or help you in your quest for a new job.

5. Invite yourself to Networking Events Where You Have No Prior Affiliation

Reinventing yourself sometimes means becoming a “new fish” in a “new pond”. Seek out networking opportunities that will allow you to meet new people, talk about new topics, and learn about new opportunities. When you create these types of opportunities you will become much more comfortable reinventing yourself and discover that your skills are just as relevant, your brand is even more marketable and you are on your way to a full recovery.

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