Are You Ready For a New Career?

Are you thinking, “I need a new job!”
Are you thinking it every day?

Do you dream of starting a fresh, new career where you feel challenged, fulfilled and energized? Where you can flex your professional muscles and be valued for your expertise? Or maybe reinventing yourself into an entirely new job role or industry where you’re doing something completely new and different?

Maybe you’ve been pushing away that thought because it seems impossible, or overwhelming, or maybe because you simply don’t know how to change your career?

I’ve successfully reinvented my own career four (4) times and I fully believe that life is way too short to stay in a meaningless job where you’re unfulfilled, unchallenged and under-valued.

As a leading career coach, the #1 biggest question I get asked is, “How can I reinvent my career without decreasing my salary?” Each time that I reinvented my career, I received anywhere between an 8% – 32% salary increase. A client of mine, Matt, just reinvented his career from being a manager in the TV industry to becoming a manager in high tech, and he received a 17-percent pay increase.

So how did we do it?

Reinventing your career means repackaging your skills, qualifications and successes so that you can transition into a new job role, company or industry. It takes a strong vision, a solid plan, and someone who can coach you through your transition, but yes, it is possible! Below are four steps I take with my clients to teach them how to reinvent their career –

  1. Identify your transferable skills.

    If you’ve been working for at least five years, then you have 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, helping a company generate revenue, save money, or gain market share.

    Other transferable skills include personal characteristics such as demonstrating leadership, mentoring or training others, risk taking, 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.

  2. Match your transferable skills to job roles.

    Read job descriptions posted on Indeed.com, CareerJournal.com, CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com, as well as business journals and industry-specific websites. 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.

    Then, 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, or if you’re in between jobs then try freelancing, consulting, or 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, key skills, and advice on how to break into the business.

  3. 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 needed to land my next job was like trying to weld together Lexus parts on a BMW. It doesn’t work. You need a brand new resume.

    Hiring managers don’t care about every job you’ve ever had. They just want to know, Can you do their job? In order to get noticed you’ll need a clean, polished and professionally written resume.

  4. 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 reel to show my TV work.

    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 skills and talent but your attitude that counts!

Want a little help transitioning into your new career?
Check out my services for personal career coaching packages, resume development and interview coaching.  Potential clients can request a 15-minute complimentary consultation by writing to Tim@CareerCoaching360.com

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and award-winning author of the “BEST CAREER BOOK of 2012” by Indie Book Awards for independently published book authors for her book “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback”.  She also authored, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand– which is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. Sherri is the President and Founder of Career Coaching 360 which provides resume help, interviewing support, and personal career coaching packages for executives and professionals who want to change their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

 

 

3 Clever Ways to Create More Career Opportunities

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Who is really responsible for your career? 

Who is the decision maker?

Who is the driver? 

You are. 

If you’re in a career that fills you with small-ness, resentment, anger, boredom, regret or frustration, then it’s time to ask yourself two questions… “How much longer will I accept this situation?”  And, “What can I do to change it?”

Well, I can’t help you answer the first question, but I can give you some ideas and suggestions for the second question.  😀

I believe that we are all the architect of our own career and we each have the ability to create a career that gives us meaning, purpose and joy.  In order to do that, you must become a rainmaker for yourself.  In other words, you must master the art of creating and identifying career opportunities. 

There are three kinds of opportunities you’ll need to master –

1.  Banked opportunities. 

These are opportunities that land in your lap and you say, “Yes, please!”   These are gifts that you willingly accept and cash in such as a new job, promotion, higher paycheck, or an opportunity to lead a bigger, higher profile or more exciting projects and teams. These are the opportunities you’ve worked so hard for, and then one day, they plop down in your lap.  These are the most popular and eeeeeasiest kinds of opportunities to receive. 

2.  Deflected opportunities. 

These are opportunities that land in your lap and you say, “Nope.”  An opportunity comes knocking and without blinking an eye, you’ve all-too-quickly assessed that you’re too busy, too inexperienced, or too unworthy… or that the assignment is too big, too intimidating or too off-your-radar to accept it. 

Twice I turned down a promotion when I was a disc jockey at a radio station in Monterey, California to become morning show host because it terrified me and I didn’t think I was good enough.  I made a deal with my mentor that if the General Manager asked me a third time, I would take the promotion. Fortunately, he did.  And fortunately, I did.  What a wonderful, beautiful, awesome experience it was. 

Three times I foolishly turned down a volunteer position on the national council of the American Marketing Association because I didn’t think I had time.  I finally accepted, and that amazing position turned out to give me the leadership skills and marketing expertise I needed to land my 6-figure job at a high tech Fortune 100 company.

Stop selling yourself short and wasting your opportunities by saying “no” because they don’t fit in your ridiculously tight career box.  Open up the top of your box. Give yourself breathing room to stretch, grow and learn.  Maybe the universe does have a better plan for you.  Maybe the universe is your biggest cheerleader and trying to give you opportunities to advance.  Stop saying “no”, and re-train yourself to say “yes.”
     

3.  Hidden opportunities. 

These are opportunities that are there for you – but you must go find or create them.  These are the most missed opportunities of all.

Today, I’ve been working at a Fortune 100 company for 13 years and recently my department went through a grueling re-org.  My boss left the company, her boss left the company and many of my peers left.  My world was crumbling. I found myself in quicksand and sinking fast.  The only way I could find another internal job and get the recommendations I would need in order to stay with the company, would be to reach out to my internal network and ask for help.  It felt embarrassing to send out a note asking for help.  But after I did, within 48 hours I received 2 job offers, 3 leads, and 2 letters of recommendation.  I wouldn’t have received anything if I hadn’t reached out and asked for help. 

In my recent book, “The Bounce Back”, Cindy Hoyme talks about how she reached out to her network when she needed a new job.  Within 3 weeks she had 4 job offers. Would she have had those job offers if she hadn’t asked her contacts for help?  No.  She possibly, may have found other job leads, but without the recommendations from her network, it’s highly unlikely she would have been hired.

Vid Vidyasagara talks about how he went from being a stagnated, under-challenged project manager to becoming a Sr. manager by asking if he could join two high-profile programs.  Would he have received a promotion had he not volunteered for bigger, higher profile projects?  No.

A client of mine, John, created and sold his vision of a new career path for him and his team to Sr. leaders where he works, and now he’s on his way to more promotions, advancement and a higher paycheck.  Would this have happened had he not met with Sr. leaders?  No.  

Hidden opportunities are around us all the time.  ALL THE TIME.  They just require a little extra work.  They require that you to do a little hunting and digging to seek them out. If you’re looking for a job have you reached out to your network to ask for job leads and recommendations?   If you want a promotion have you stepped up to take on more responsibilities and lead higher profile projects?  If you’ve reached the top of your career path inside an organization have you tried negotiating with Sr. managers to create a new or extended career path?  

Never let your career stall. Instead, step up and take control.  Go find your hidden gems.  Go collect all those opportunities that are yours to find and keep. Get your BOLD on, and start mastering the art of banked, deflected and hidden opportunities.  Once you do, your cup will runneth over 😎

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of the award winning book “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – which is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. She is also President and Founder of Career Coaching 360 which provides resume help, interviewing support, and personal career coaching packages for executives and professionals who want to change their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

 
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Time for a Career Shake-Up

 

Think you don’t have any career options?  Think again. 

Every day you are making choices.  Every day you make the choice to work for the company where you are, to work for the boss you have and to work on the projects you drive.  Every day you’re making decisions about your career.

So how can you get “luckier” in your career and make different choices? 

Several years ago I was in a frumpy little career working for a bad manager at a bad company and feeling very under-utilized, under-challenged and under-valued.  I decided it was time for a major career shake-up so I started doing a few things differently and began making my own “career luck.”  Now, for the past 10 years I've been working at a Fortune 100 company as a global program manager (in addition to being a leading career coach, ), and I’ve learned that creating change is simply a step-by-step process…

  1. Know what you want. 

What’s pulling you toward your career right now?  What’s pushing you away? 

The first step in getting into a more fulfilling career is to sort through the logic and emotion of everything going on in your job right now.  Make a list of what all the positive things are that you’re getting in your job such as a salary, benefits, doing purposeful work, working for a company you love, working for a manager you respect, being in an environment where you can constantly learn new things, etc.

Now make a list of things you dislike about your job such as little or no career advancement, limited visibility with leaders, feeling unvalued or unappreciated, being under-challenged, etc.

Now, look at both lists.  Are you still feeling that you need a career change? Is there anything you can change on your “dislike” list?  Many times it’s difficult for us to come up with solutions on our own so try brainstorming possibilities with a few people you trust such as a mentor, manager, department managers or colleagues.

What’s in your control that you could change?  How could you change it?  Who could help you? 

2.  Shake things up internally. 

If you like your job, but just wish one or two things would change – then see if you can make it happen.  There are probably parts of your job that you enjoy, and parts that you don’t.  Identify what those are and then have a heart to heart talk with your manager. 

Try saying something like, “I am really enjoying my job, but there are a few things I’d like to see if we could change.”  I once said to one of my managers something like, “I’m really not sure how much value I’m adding to the research project, but if you gave me those 4 hours each week, I would use them to create a new leadership initiative.”  I then went on to explain the new initiative and how it would benefit me, the department and my manager. Ten minutes later he told me to, “Go for it!”

I once asked another manager if he needed any help with the budget and told him that I wanted to learn about managing the department’s finances.  He gave me more financial responsibility and taught me everything I wanted to know!

Other great sources to help you shake things up internally could be your manager’s manager, other department managers and anyone who has, or has had, a responsibility that you would like to have.  Two key things to remember are –

  1. You are the only one who can make a change happen.
  2. You cannot make a change by yourself – you need the support, wisdom and mentorship of others.
  3. If you can’t get what you want internally – go external. 

Sometimes our career requires big bold changes.  If you’re unhappy in your job and you can’t get what you want inside your current organization, then it’s time to explore external opportunities.

The first step is to simply start exploring possibilities. Talk to others who are in the industry or job role that interests you.  Ask them what a good day looks like, what a bad day looks like, if they have any special training or education, and how they got their job.  You can learn a lot about different career options simply by talking to others.

After you identify a job role that you are really interested in, the next step is to start exploring job openings.   Let your network know that you are ready to take the next step in your career and ask if they could send you any job leads, referrals or recommendations.

Also, search the job boards on company websites where you want to work.  Be sure to set up Job Agents on Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com so that you’ll receive weekly job openings in your e-mail box.

Whether you make a few small changes in your career or one big bold change, you owe it to yourself to have a career that lets you do meaningful, purposeful work and makes you feel valued, appreciated and energized.  You really can create more luck in your career – you just have to get in the driver’s seat and make it happen! 🙂

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of the award winning book “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – which is on AMAZON's TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. She is also President and Founder of Career Coaching 360 which provides resume help, interviewing support, and personal career coaching packages for executives and professionals who want to change their career.

For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

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Is It Time to Re-Brand Yourself?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you dream of doing something different in your career? 
Something more meaningful, purposeful and more satisfying?

There are times in everyone’s career that you feel like running away and starting all over again, but when should you actually DO IT?

Many professionals stay in unmotivating and unfulfilling jobs because it’s safe.  It takes minimal effort, the bills are getting paid, and it’s relatively easy to blank out and be a zombie for 8 hours a day.  There is minimal risk and minimal effort.  But there is also minimal reward.

Personally, I’ve re-branded myself four times in my career and I have learned three (3) of the biggest challenges with re-branding and the strategies to overcome those challenges –

  1. Does re-branding mean a salary decrease?

As a leading career coach, the #1 biggest question I get asked is, “How can I re-brand myself without decreasing my salary?”

Each time I re-branded myself, I received a 15-30% higher paycheck.  A client of mine, Matt, also just reinvented his career from being a manager in the TV industry to becoming a manager in the high tech industry, and he received a 15-percent pay increase.

So how can you do it? First, choose a higher paying industry, company or job role.  Some industries pay higher than others.  For example, healthcare and high tech industries pay more than the media and construction industries.  Also, some companies within the same industry pay more than others.  Additionally, some job roles pay higher than others.  For example, a technical project manager position pays higher than an HR project manager position.

Do your homework and research high paying industries, companies and job roles on sites like GlassDoor.com and Salary.com

2.  What if I fail?

Each time I started moving my career in a new direction, I got scared.  Fear of failure. Fear of change.  Fear of the unknown. 

Learn how to set yourself up for success.  Use the interviews to learn more about the company’s culture, the manager’s managing style and the co-workers’ challenges.  By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to learn if the new job would offer you the right challenges and the right environment where you could thrive.  Just because somebody wants to hire you doesn’t mean you should go work for them.  If it’s not a good fit, then remove yourself from the interview process.

3.    What if I don’t have the right stuff?

Moving into a different career requires different skills.  So what if you don’t have ALL the skills required?  Step up and invest in yourself.

If you’re seeing that your dream job requires an advanced degree or certification, then get it.  If you need some kind of specialized expertise or experience then get it.  I joined the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association to learn about marketing and build my leadership skills which got me the experience to land my first job in marketing.

Invest your time, energy and a little money to get the training, education and experience you need to re-brand yourself.  Don’t wait and think that when the perfect job opportunity comes along – then you’ll do it.  By then it will be too late.  Do it now so that you’re ready when your dream job comes along.  No excuses.  Just step up and do it.  

And finally…

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 re-brand yourself 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 re-branding yourself, it’s not just your talent but your attitude that counts!

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

Would you leave your safe, miserable job for the chance at something better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In doing research for my newly published book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback”, I interviewed over a hundred professionals who bounced back successfully and discovered that each one was successful because of the decision to take action.

There’s a great story in the book about an NBC-TV emmy award winning Sr. News Reporter.  

He loved his job but after 20 years in the same job role, he wanted to advance into a news anchor position. When his boss told him it wasn’t going to happen, he took action.  He walked away from his successful job and paycheck, and started a very successful media communications and coaching business, AZFreelanceTV.com

Another story came from a single mother who had been successful in the healthcare industry for 10+ years. 

She had a good job and a good paycheck, but she wanted more challenge and a bigger paycheck.  So she set her sights on a new job role and enrolled to go back to school and get an advanced degree. 

She talks about how her boss was completely unsupportive and wouldn’t accommodate her schedule so that she could take a night class on Wednesday nights. He tried to demoralize her by saying things like, “Stop bragging about going back to school.  You’re no better than the rest of us.” So instead of allowing an unsupportive manager squish her dreams, she took action. She quit her full-time job to take a part-time job so that she could get her degree. Today she’s living her dream.

Would you leave your safe, miserable job for the chance at something better?

Just because you get hired in a job, doesn’t mean that you have to stay there forever. Your drive and passion can change over time, and with that, may come the need to change your career. Career changes are hard, but a key lesson from the bounce back achievers is that YOU need to drive your career.  Decide what you really want in your career and then go after it!  Don’t let someone else determine what you can and cannot do.  It’s your career – own it! 😎

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas

    

Want a more exciting career? Then stop playing it so safe

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Want an exciting career?  Then take on something that scares you.

A few years ago I was working in a cube living a very small life.  I worked with a handful of colleagues on 1-2 projects, had 1-2 customers and reported to 1 manager.  Small life. 

I had been doing the same kind of marketing work for several years and was good at it. My customers were pleased, my boss was satisfied, and I was receiving successful performance reviews with the normal 3% annual pay raise.  It wasn’t that anything was really wrong with my career.  It just wasn’t satisfying.  Boring.  Dull.  Lifeless

I was under-challenged. Under-motivated.  Under-valued. My career was blah.

When my big marketing project finished, my boss asked me to lead a technical project.  It was so far out of my marketing comfort zone that I would have had to take a plane to get back into my comfort zone.  It terrified me.  Everything in my bones told me this would be a mistake.  But there were two interesting components of the project –

  1. Nobody in the department had ever led a technical project before.  I would be the first.  I loved that! These opportunities didn’t come around very often working in a department of type A scary-smart men.  The thought of me being the first person in the department to do anything got my heart fluttering. 
  2. Two project managers had been on the project, and both had failed.  That’s right, failed.  That meant the probability that I would fail was higher, but it also meant that expectations were low, and the risk was low.  Plus, it also meant that if the team and I were successful the glory would be that much sweeter.

Game on!  I accepted the challenge. 

I walked in every day for the next 5 months shaking in my boots, but firing on all cylinders.  I was in the game, all day, every day.  Five months later, the project launched successfully and I was put into the IT department’s “Hall of Fame” for project management.

Want a more exciting career?  Then go stretch yourself. 

Stop playing it so safe.  Stop sitting on the bench and go get in the game.  Change positions.  Change teams. Change sports.  Do whatever it takes to start tapping into those hidden skills and talents that you don’t even know you have. You’re capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.  😀

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback“ also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.   Right now you can download three FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

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Feeling stuck in your career? Challenge yourself to change…


Nothing is worse than the feeling of being helpless in your career.  Helpless.  Hopeless.  Stuck.

The notion that you don’t have any career options is a myth.  Every day you are making choices.  Every day you make the choice to work for the company where you are.  You make the choice to work for the boss you have.  You make the choice to work on the projects you drive.  Every day you’re making decisions about your career.

So what can you do if you don’t like your company, manager or projects?

I’ve been making a 6-figure income working for a Fortune 100 Company for the past 10 years, and also working as a leading Career Coach (yes, I’ve been busy :)) and I’ve learned that creating change is simply a step-by-step process and that even with the small steps can come big rewards –

1.      Know what you want.

What’s pulling you toward your career right now?  What’s pushing you away?

The first step in getting un-stuck is to sort through the logic and emotion of everything going on in your job right now and make a list of what all the positive things are that you’re getting in your job, such as a salary, benefits, doing purposeful work, working for a company you love, working for a manager you respect, being in an environment where you can constantly learn new things, etc.
Now make a list of things you dislike about your job such as little or no career advancement, limited visibility with leaders, feeling unvalued or unappreciated, being under-challenged, etc.

Now, look at both lists.  Are you still feeling that you need a career change? Is there anything you can change on your “dislike” list?  Many times it’s difficult for us to come up with solutions on our own so try brainstorming possibilities with a few people you trust such as a mentor, manager, department managers or colleagues.
What’s in your control that you could change?  How could change it?  Who could help you?

2.      Shake things up internally. 

If you like your job, but just wish one or two things would change – then see if you can make it happen.  There are probably parts of your job that you enjoy, and parts that you don’t.  Identify what those are and then have a heart to heart talk with your manager.

Try saying something like, “I am really enjoying my job, but there are a few things I’d like to see if we could change.”  I once said to one of my managers something like, “I’m really not sure how much value I’m adding to the research project, but if you gave me those 4 hours each week, I would use them to create a new leadership initiative.”  I then went on to explain the new initiative and how it would benefit me, the department and my manager. Ten minutes later he told me to, “Go for it!”

Another time I asked one of my manager’s if he needed any help with the budget and told him that I wanted to learn about managing the department’s finances.  He gave me more financial responsibility and taught me everything I wanted to know!

Other great sources to help you shake things up internally could be your manager’s manager, other department managers and anyone who has, or has had, a responsibility that you would like to have.  Two key things to remember are –

a.      You are the only one who can make a change happen.
b.      You cannot make a change by yourself – you need the support, wisdom and mentorship of others.

3.      If you can’t get what you want internally – go external.

Sometimes our career requires big bold changes.  If you’re unhappy in your job and you can’t get what you want inside your current organization, then it’s time to explore external opportunities.

The first step is to simply start exploring possibilities. Talk to others who are in the industry or job role that interests you.  Ask them what a good day looks like, what a bad day looks like, if they have any special training or education, and how they got their job.  You can learn a lot about different career options simply by talking to others.

After you identify a job role that you are really interested in, the next step is to start exploring job openings.   Let your network know that you are ready to take the next step in your career and ask if they could send you any job leads, referrals or recommendations.

Also, search the job boards on company websites where you want to work.  Be sure to set up Job Agents on Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com so that you’ll receive weekly job openings in your e-mail box.

Whether you make a few small changes in your career or one big bold change, you owe it to yourself to have a career that lets you do meaningful, purposeful work and makes you feel valued, appreciated and energized.  You really do have control over your career – you just have to get in the driver’s seat and make it happen! 🙂

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback“ also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.   Right now you can download three FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

SMART NETWORKING – How to get more job leads, referrals and recommendations

 

The goal of networking is NOT to start asking about job opportunities the instant you meet someone. The goal of networking is to create a connection or establish a relationship with someone.

As a Career Coach, I’ve noticed that many professionals looking to reinvent their career make the mistake of sending a message to others, ” I need a job.” But instead, you want to be sending the message that you’re a successful professional who’s resourceful, well connected, and who has some similar interests as they do. You want them to realize that you are someone that THEY should get to know! 

Below is my simple step-by-step process to help you build a powerful network to get more job leads, referrals and recommendations…

 
  1. Seek out others in the industry or job role where you want to work.

The next time you meet someone who works for a company where you want to work, or in a job role that you’d like to have, keep the conversation focused on that person (it’s not about you! -at least not yet!) Talk about their latest marketing campaign or product launch, or something new or interesting that’s going on inside their company. 

2.  Ask to keep in touch!

Next, you don’t need to have a long, in-depth conversation with each person. Instead, when you feel that the conversation has run its course, simply say, “I’d love to stay in touch – how about if we exchange business cards?”

3.  Send the message that you’re knowledgeable and resourceful!

Follow up by sending a piece of information you think they might be interested in such as an article, or the results of a new study, a link to a cool website that relates to their business, or an announcement about an upcoming conference or networking event. You want to send the message that you’re someone who is well connected, resourceful and that you are someone that they want in their network! :)

4.  Mention a few of your contributions and successes!

Once the door is open, then talk about some projects or teams that you’ve worked on that have been successful. One thing that works really well for me, is offering to share tips, insight or lessons I learned about the project. l I find that by doing this, people who appreciate these successes will naturally gravitate towards me. And it provides the foundation for a long-term relationship.

5.  After you’ve established a relationship, then drop the hint!

If you’re looking for a new job, then go ahead and drop a hint that you’re looking for “other opportunities.”  

Believe me, when you use this simple step-by-step formula, if your connections know of any opportunities they’re going to let you know!

One final thought, I strongly believe that no matter where you are in your career, we’re always in a position to help out others. Is there someone else you can support by introducing her to a potential employer, or giving a recommendation, or inviting to a networking event? Sometimes we get caught up in focusing just on ourselves, but remember that when we help out others along the way – the universe gives back to us more than we ever dreamed possible.  :)

Bottom line: you need a powerful network if you want to have a powerful career. 

So start making connections and nurturing your professional relationships. You’ll find that once you have a strong team of career influencers on your side, doors to new opportunities will open and career will soar!  

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback“ also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.   Right now you can download three FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

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Stop Going With the Flow in Your Career

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One year from now, do you want to be doing the exact same kind of work you're doing today?

If not, then there are a few things you need to START doing, and a few things to STOP doing…

  1. Stop going with the flow.

    Stop working on mundane projects you can do in your sleep. Part of the reason you’re feeling under-utilized and under-valued is because you’re under-challenged. We weren’t meant to take a job and then stay there forever. We’re meant to stretch, develop, grow, bounce. Look for ways to step up and flex your professional muscles. When you stop learning and growing, your career will stall.

  2. Stop taking setbacks personally.

    Everyone experiences career setbacks. Everyone! If you’ve been a victim of a layoff, a demotion, a project that failed or didn’t get accepted then get over it! Hanging on to feelings of rejection, embarrassment or anger isn’t helping you. You only think other people care about your setback, but seriously, they’ve moved on and you need to, too. It’s not the setback itself that is holding you back, but how you’re internalizing it.

  3. Stop being “small.”

    If you think that being humble and shy will help you be successful, think again. When somebody offers you a big juicy project or a spot on a high profile team – grab it! Saying things like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’d be the best choice for that,” or, “I don’t know if I have the right experience to do that” will keep you sitting on the bench. You’ve got to step up, be bold and put yourself out there (especially if the new opportunity scares you!) Yes, finding new opportunities means taking risks – big bold risks that you won’t be able to take if you’re playing it small.

And here are a few things you'll need to start doing…

  1.  Start talking about what you want to do.

    Start describing the types of responsibilities and the kinds of projects and teams you want to work on. If you don’t have a crystal clear vision, then at least start talking about the type of work you enjoy doing. By simply having these conversations with your manager, colleagues, and those in your network can lead to new career paths and opportunities.

  2. Start claiming your space.

    Put your expertise out there by showing others you have something to say through presentations, articles, coaching others and speaking up in meetings. Don’t be a shrinking violet, but instead, have confidence, be bold and voice your technical opinion. So what if someone may not agree with you – that just makes it a more interesting conversation. Successful executives and professionals constantly put themselves “out there” – that’s why they’re successful. Don’t shy away or back up, but instead step up, speak out and claim your space at the table.

  3. Start charting your course.

    Go find people working in different industries and job roles. Ask them about their responsibilities, education, training, challenges and career paths. Get connected to those who inspire you. Give yourself permission and time to explore all possibilities. That doesn’t mean that you have to accept every opportunity that comes your way, but you at least owe it to yourself to learn what else is out there so that you can get ready for your next career move.

Successful professionals aren't successful because they let things “happen.”  Instead, they make things happen in their career.  They figure out what they want, take some risks, stretch, grow, fall down, learn and bounce.  Don't let someone else take the wheel on your career path.  Step up and make things happen.  It's your career and your year! 🙂

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON's TOP 10 LISTfor personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback” also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.   Right now you can download three FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

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New Year, New Career!

Want 3 simple tips to help you make a faster and easier career change…?

As a leading Career Coach, I’m seeing that many professionals make the mistake of posting their resume on a job board, or handing their resume to a recruiter, and then just sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring. In today’s tough job market, you need to be much more proactive and strategic to make a career change. My clients have had great success doubling their opportunities and cutting their job search time in half by following my three simple job hunting rules…

  1. Think Up, Down and Sideways.

The biggest mistake job hunting professionals make is looking for a position with the exact same title they had in their last job. Instead, consider looking at smaller companies and going one-level up, as well as larger companies and going one-level down.

Additionally, many companies don’t require you to have industry experience, only expertise in a specific job function, so you can also double your opportunities by applying for jobs in a variety of industries.

For example, if you’ve been working in advertising agencies, then be sure to target organizations that have in-house advertising, marketing, or communications departments. Or, if you’ve been in sales, finance, engineering, or administration in a certain industry (such as health care, high tech, or construction), start applying for those same jobs in other industries.

Finally, it’s not mandatory for you to meet 100-percent of the requirements in a job description before you apply. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 75-percent of the skills and experience required, and express in your cover letter and interviews that you’re a quick learner, flexible, and passionate about the position and the company. Your resume will get you an interview. Your attitude and confidence will get you the job.

2.  Create a strategic job search plan.

It’s easier to catch fish when you know where the fish are, and it’s easier to get hired when you know which companies are hiring. Find out where your potential employers are by reading job boards (CareerJournal.com, theLadders.com, etc.), as well as industry publications, business journals, and company websites. You’ll be able to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring and what the hot jobs are!

Company websites.
Create a list of companies where you would like to work. Visit their website weekly for on-line job postings, and announcements for departments expanding.

On-line job boards.
Some job search sites are notorious for listing outdated jobs, or jobs with no contact information. Why waste your time? Instead, make a list of job search sites that offer high quality jobs. Conduct a search on Google or Yahoo for the job role and the city you want (example: marketing director, Portland). Review all the sites listed on the top three or four pages, and bookmark only those sites that list promising job opportunities.

You’ll find that each site varies in the quality of positions listed (lower-level to senior-level, as well as salary ranges), plus the type of industries, or vertical sectors, listed. Some sites may also do a better job than others updating their lists, or publicizing openings in your city. Focus your attention only on those sites.

Once you’ve created a list of your targeted companies and favorite job boards, make a commitment to review those sites weekly.

3. Work your NetWORK.

The #1 way job candidates are getting hired in today’s market is by getting a referral within the organization. That means, you need to make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you.

Get re-connected with past employers, customers, and colleagues. Meet new contacts by attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events, and association meetings that target the industry (high tech, health care, etc.), or the job role (marketing, finance, management, etc.) you want. Try to attend a couple of events each month.

Also, you never want to give the impression that you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who’s resourceful, knowledgeable, and has a wide network. Send out personalized notes and e-mails with information that you think would interest them such as links to reports, case studies, press releases, videos or websites. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers in your network. Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.

The goal is to create a pull relationship with your network so that they are drawn towards you (not running away from you!)

When you’re searching for a new job, remember to stay focused on what you want, stay positive, and believe in yourself. It takes persistence and patience – but you WILL find those companies who jump at the opportunity to hire you!! 

Your Assignment… Create your “job search strategy.”

Expand your career opportunities by researching job openings across various industries advertised on company websites and job boards (such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com). Read a variety of job descriptions to determine if you have the right mix of skills, experience and expertise. If you match at least 75% of the job requirements – then apply! (Nobody meets 100% of the job qualifications except the person who just left that job! )

After you find a job you want to apply for, then customize your resume to meet the job description and ask your network for recommendations and referrals.

By following these three (3) strategies you’ll be well on your way to a new career!

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in Sherri’s new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. You can download three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

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Need a little help with your career change?  

Check out some of my resources to help you reinvent and re-brand yourself…