Career Reinvention: 5-Step Action Plan for Changing Job Roles, Industries or Professional Goals

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There are times in everyone’s career that you feel like running away and starting all over again, and I’m here to say that you can do it!

I’ve successfully reinvented my own career four times including being in radio, television, professional sports, high tech, and now a successful entrepreneur and business owner.

Now one of the things I get asked most often is, “Can I reinvent my career without taking a step down in salary?” Every time I’ve reinvented my career, I’ve received between 20 to 45% increase in my salary. So you can move into a NEW career AND INCREASE your salary.

So let me share with you my five step action plan for reinventing your career AND getting a salary increase…

  1. Find your passion. What gets you excited? What gets you jazzed? The first step in reinventing your career is to identifying where you want to go. In which industry would you like to work? Advertising? Finance? Health Care? When I wanted to stop being a disc jockey, I knew that I wanted to go into television. And after a successful career in television, I then set my sights on getting into Corporate America. I wasn’t sure what kind of job role I wanted (or could get!), but the first step was determining the industry where I wanted to work.

    If you’re not sure where you want to go then start reading trade magazines, industry publications, on-line job sites, even classified ads in your local newspaper. The key is to figure out what lights your fire and inspires you.

  2. Identify your transferable skills. These are skills that transition from industry to industry or from job role to job role. Examples include: managing projects, teams, clients or budgets, as well as negotiating contracts, or proposing and implementing ideas that generate money, save money, or help the company be more competitive.

    Other transferable skills include personal characteristics such as demonstrating leadership or risk taking, training or mentoring team members, being goal driven, results oriented, a problem solver, or having the ability to influence senior managers. These are great skills to have, and they transfer from industry to industry. All kinds of industries and companies value employees with these types of skills and characteristics.

  3. Matching your transferable skills to job roles. Read job descriptions posted on CareerJournal.com, CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com, as well as the classified ads in industry magazines, trade journals, and local newspapers. If you want to work for a specific company then check out their website’s on-line job postings. Learn the skills and qualifications required for various job roles.

    Match your transferable skills to those jobs you want to go after. If there’s a gap between the required skills and the skills that you currently have, then look for ways to gain that experience such as taking on an extended assignment in your current job, freelancing, consulting, or even volunteering.

    Also, attend industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Talk to people who work in the industry to learn about their career path, responsibilities, and advice for how to break into the business.

  4. Blow up your resume. The first thing I always did before I transitioned into a new career was blow up my resume. Trying to piece together a resume that highlighted the skills I used to get my last job with the skills I need to land my next job is like trying to weld together Lexus parts on a BMW. It doesn’t work. You need a brand new resume.

    Showcase only those jobs, responsibilities and successes that relate to the job you want. The hiring manager doesn’t care about every job you’ve ever had. They just want to know if you can do their job. You may also want to get a professional resume critique to help you customize your resume and identify your transferable skills.

  5. Attitude is the key ingredient! I’ve found that getting a new job really boils down to two things: confidence and passion. I’ve never walked into an interview having met all of the job requirements. In fact, for the television interview, I lacked the two biggest requirements which were a minimum of two years experience in television, and a tape to show my TV work.

    To compensate, I focused on my transferable skills which were being highly creative and a solid copywriter. That got my foot in the door for the interview. But to get the job offer and beat out the other 4 job candidates, I was passionate about the company and the job! I also told the hiring manager that I absolutely knew that I could do the job!

There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you transition into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job. When it comes to reinventing your career, it’s not just your talent but your attitude that counts!

PARADE Update: Make Those 20 Seconds Count

PARADE Update: Make Those 20 Seconds Count


Meghan shares the same challenge that many job changers in today’s market are facing. That is, her career history includes such a wide variety of industries, job roles and responsibilities, that she’s not sure how to market (or position) herself to potential employers.

The biggest mistake I see job seekers making is writing their resume and including every job that they’ve ever had and every skill that they’ve ever had. However, most hiring managers don’t care about all the different skills you have and tasks you can perform – they simply want to know – can you successfully perform their job?

So to position Meghan in the best possible light to hiring managers, and help her stand out from competition, I’m working with Meghan on the following –

Step #1 – Creating her personal Career Success Blueprint™. This includes her identifying three (3) primary areas of responsibility she wants to have in her next career. She’s also identifying her “must have” conditions about the company culture, management style and working conditions. These may include a baseline salary, flexible hours, telecommuting, professional training and development, a clear career path, autonomy, growth company, etc.

Step #2 – Assessing the job market. Meghan needs to understand what kind of jobs are available that also align to her personal Career Success Blueprint™. She’ll need to review on-line job boards, industry magazines, company websites, and business periodicals to get a clear understanding of what the “hot jobs” are, and what the requirements are for those jobs.

Step #3 – Customizing a polished and professional looking resume. Hiring managers, on average, only take about 15-20 seconds to review a resume before determining whether or not to interview the job applicant. Therefore, it’s critical that Meghan’s resume showcases her in the best possible light. I’ll teach Meghan how to create a resume that highlights the right key words, and makes her stand out from the competition.

Step #4 – Developing a personalized job search strategy. Now that Meghan will have a keen focus on what she wants in her next career, as well as a top notch professional resume – now she’ll be ready to seek out those job openings. I’ll help her create an on-line and off-line targeted job search strategy, as well as give her my exclusive networking techniques to help her get more referrals, recommendations and job leads.

PARADE Update: Getting Started: Sherri Thomas and Meghan Olesen

With nearly one in 10 Americans looking for work, the job search is tougher than ever. PARADE chose five unemployed people looking for work and paired each with a career counselor. Below is the first update from Sherri Thomas, Career Coaching 360 for the PARADE series “The Job Hunt“.


Getting Started: Sherri Thomas and Meghan Olesen

Meghan Oleson and I had our initial consultation this week so that I could better understand her career history, goals and vision, as well as share my strengths as a career coach and areas of expertise. I’m impressed with Megan’s young age (she’s 30 years old) and her ability to successfully transition into a variety of job roles and industries including being an executive pastry chef, marketing specialist and entrepreneur.

She has many wonderful strengths and passions, plus a wide range of transferable skills that we can tap to help her reinvent her career!

The first question I asked Meghan (and all my clients) is how best I could help her.
Option A) Help her find a job RIGHT NOW.
Option B) Help her create a career vision, action plan and transition into a meaningful and inspiring career (this approach takes more time, thought and focus – but the result is having a thriving career with more options, more stability and more passion!)

Meghan chose Option B.

This means that over the next several weeks, I’ll be giving her my exclusive steps to create her personal Career Success Blueprint™, as well as helping her create a simple but powerful career action plan that includes a job search strategy, networking techniques and a polished and professional resume to build a powerful personal brand, increase her marketability, and stand out from her competition.

After Meghan determined that this is the direction she wanted to go, then it was time for her first assignment – creating her personal Career Success Blueprint™. The first step is for Meghan to define her career vision. This includes three (3) key skills or responsibilities that Meghan wants to be known, recognized and paid for.

Envision yourself one year from now in a career that motivates and inspires you. What are you doing? What kind of responsibilities do you want to have? What kinds of projects and initiatives do you enjoy doing? What kinds of teams do you have a passion to lead? For her first assignment, Meghan is drawing a Venn diagram (three circles that connect to each other) and inside each circle she is writing one key skill or responsibility that she desires in her next career move.

With so many talents and strengths, I’m excited to see what she’ll choose … :)

Interview Tips for Recent Grads

If you’re a recent college graduate (or even if you’re not), check out my most recent interview on NBC Phoenix Channel 12 with tips to set yourself apart from the other applicants and help you land that first job – even if you don’t have “experience”.

Setting the Bar Higher in Your Career

If you drew a graph to show your career path, would it be a nice, straight arrow that starts from the bottom left corner and goes consistently upward to the upper right? No? Listen to the Career Coaching 360 podcast by Sherri Thomas, “Setting the bar higher in your career. Don’t settle for having a mediocre career.”

If you enjoyed this podcast episode “Setting the bar higher in your career”, subscribe to our Career Coaching 360 podcast RSS feed. Career Coaching 360 podcasts will be available on iTunes once it has been reviewed by the iTunes store.

The Key to a Successful Job Interview

Your message needs to be crystal clear during a job interview. A resume is a logical, factual and one-dimensional piece of paper. But when you meet with a potential employer face-to-face you can bring your message to life and make it more powerful and memorable. Whether you are networking with a potential employer or sitting in a formal job interview, you have a limited amount of time to get your message across. So, telling a great career success story is critical.

The key to a successful interview is pre-selecting stories that demonstrate you have the right experience and knowledge to perform that job successfully. Talk about past experiences, results, and accomplishments that relate to the new position. Summarize each story by giving an overview of a particular situation or challenge, the expectation or goal, your specific contributions and the result of your contributions. Practice your stories out loud, over and over again. You must be able to talk about your experiences and successes confidently.

Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, so you need to be polished, professional and confident.

Is Your Resume Getting Results?

Take a look at your resume. Is it getting you results? Today’s job market is extremely competitive – having a good resume isn’t good enough. Many clients bring me their resumes complaining about not getting interviews and about how there just aren’t enough jobs out there. In reality, millions of people will get new jobs this year. So, why aren’t you one of them? The answer may be because your resume is not sending the right message.

Your resume must prove you are a clear, focused and results-driven individual who can provide the value the company needs. Employers or new clients want to see the value and the results you provided in your last work environment, so state your accomplishments in terms of dollars, percentages and numbers. How have you impacted the bottom line? Highlighting your skills is critical, but stating specific results of your accomplishments will get you the job interview.

To ensure your resume is giving the right message, I encourage you to have it professionally written, or at a minimum, professionally critiqued. The result can not only give you the edge for getting an interview, but it can help you get a higher starting salary. This can mean tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your career! A resume coach may also provide great insight about the skills and qualifications valued within the industry.