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Changing Careers: Tools For Success

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Business professionals today are on the move.   Some are seeking a more fulfilling career path after initially settling for that seemingly good job offer. Some are on the move involuntarily due to a corporate restructuring or downsizing. Others are on the move in order to achieve balance and happiness with their family. The causes are varied and numerous. But a common thread is that these professionals are leaving a comfortable environment and facing a rapidly changing job market where competition is stiff and success is enhanced by knowledge and preparation.

In answer to the dual questions of: What do I do? and Where do I start? Here is a partial list of tools to sharpen when navigating this transition:

  1. Develop your personal inventory. Achieving success in your search for a fulfilling career begins with understanding who you are. What are your personality characteristics? What are your personal strengths, your transferrable skills, your knowledge, your interests and your values?   What do you know about yourself and how do others see you? Begin with a brain dump and conversations with friends and family. Write it all down for reflection and later organization.
  1. Identify your personal brand. Before starting your resume, you must define your target position and how you want to be known. This step adds strength to the foundation of your personal inventory by now highlighting those strengths that are relevant for your target position.   What value do you bring to an organization? Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager.   Show how your strengths are a match for the requirements of the target position.
  1. Finding the target. For those who are feeling stuck over defining their target role, position or career, there is a path forward. It begins with getting in touch with your passions, interests and personal motivators.   Then explore options. Give yourself a timeframe to explore without feeling compelled to make a decision.   Start broadly then drill down. Many tools are available to aid with this exploration.
  1. Crafting your resume. Your resume isn’t a job history. It is the tool that sells you into the role that you are targeting.   That’s why developing your resume is not the first step to be taken in a successful career transition. It requires some pre-work (see #1 to #3). The top part of your resume (after the identifying header) is the most important for capturing attention. Stand out with a strong branding statement or profile that includes your hard and soft skills most relevant for the position. Follow this with your professional experience that emphases accomplishments rather than listing job duties.  Be aware of the importance of incorporating key words, capturing attention through the use of bullet points, and editing for appropriate length.
  1. Network. Candidates today must be proactive in finding the opportunities that fit their target and be prepared to initiate contact and to market themselves.   It is not sufficient to limit your job search to open positions posted on line. Many positions are simply not published. They are filled through connections, introductions and networking. It is important to be assertive here. Identify resources. Reach out to make connections that could lead you to your targeted position or company. Use informational interviews to learn about careers, positions and companies.
  1. Be strategic with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world and a key networking and research tool. It is also the first place that a potential employer will go to learn more about a candidate. It allows corporate and agency headhunters to avoid advertising an open position.   Having a complete and appealing profile is an important initial step.   Then actively use this tool to search for opportunities, research companies, make connections and set up job notifications.
  1. Prepare for the interview.   Success! You have passed the initial selection hurdle and landed an interview.   To prepare, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager you are about to face and address these questions that are on the top of his/her mind: 1) Do I like you? 2) Do you have the skills, knowledge, experience we need? 3) Will you fit in with our culture? 4) What value will you add?

It’s an ever-changing world for job-hunters and career seekers. Partnering with a coach will accelerate your success by providing structure, staying up-to-date on trends, identifying and tapping into resources, and by supporting you in navigating obstacles and limitations, both real and self-imposed.   Contact me today for a complimentary consultation.







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