Are you living a “small” career?

 

 

Nothing is worse than living in a small world in your career.  Doing boring work where you feel under-utilized, under-challenged and under-valued in your job.

I’ve found myself there a couple of times during my own career and I’ve learned that you if you truly want to have a career that excites you, then you have to step up, take ownership and look for ways to expand your skillset, your scope and your leadership abilities.

 

That’s what I admire about Vid Vidysagara’s story.

In my new book, The Bounce Back, he reveals how his career had once flatlined as a Project Manager and how he took control to move into a management position with more visibility, influence and leadership responsibilities.

Here’s an excerpt from Vid’s story…

“I was in a rut. I was a project manager working for a technology company, and had 6 years of successful performance reviews. But I was working long days and felt pigeonholed as an expert in a particular area with no opportunity for growth.

Then, one day I noticed that a project owned by a senior leader urgently needed resources. This project had been shunned by many others, due to the tough goal set and the unattractive nature of hard work required. Despite being overstretched, I volunteered. I just wanted the chance of doing something different and working with a senior leader of the company.

Although my day now was stretched even longer, I found that this volunteer opportunity brought some excitement and differentiation to my otherwise boring routine. By definition, a “project” has a start and end date, so I knew the situation would be temporary and was determined to make the best of my investment. A few months into the project, there were some personnel changes that were made and I was given a terrific opportunity to become the project leader.

After the project was successfully completed, I volunteered for several more high profile projects. By increasing my visibility, network and reputation with Sr. leaders, I have been given numerous opportunities to branch out into other challenging areas and grow in my career in management.”

Vid goes on to say how he believes that there are always opportunities around (even though at first they may not look very attractive), and that he has gone on to mentor several employees on how to look for opportunities to help them build their credibility and influence, develop a new skill, or even help secure employment.

I love Vid’s story because it’s a wonderful example of how he stepped up and made things happen. Rarely, if ever, do plumb jobs and assignments land in your lap. You have to go after them! You have to look for volunteer assignments where you can stretch and flex your professional muscles. It’s okay to get into a career rut. It’s just not okay to stay in one. 🙂

Are you living small in  your career right now…?

 

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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

How a Finance Guru got Four (4) Job Offers in just 3 weeks After Being Laid Off

Whether you want a new career because you’ve been laid off or because you’re ready to leave frustrating and unsatisfying job, there is one key skill that will be critical to your success – your ability to be a rainmaker for your own career and create job offers and opportunities.

I love that Chris Rock says, Being rich has nothing to do with money. It has to do with having opportunities.

My good friend Cindy Hoyme is the poster girl for creating opportunities!  She had been a rock star in the financial industry for 30 years, when 8 months ago her boss brusquely told her that her job had been eliminated due to the down economy. Suddenly unemployed, and the main bread winner for her family with a daughter in college – she had to find a new job FAST! In my new book, The Bounce Back, Cindy reveals how she networked her buns off to receive a remarkable four job offers in three weeks!

Here’s an excerpt from Cindy’s story…

“After 30 years in the financial business and many job changes due to better opportunities, I was faced with a sudden job loss. I felt abandoned by the person who had hired me and I had been working with for 10 years. With a daughter in college and financial obligations, I needed a new job and needed one fast. I had not updated my resume in years, nor had I kept up with my networking.

Waiting was not an option for me. I updated my resume and then contacted everyone I knew that had called me when they were seeking employment. I set a goal to have one appointment a day. I set up 21 appointments in three weeks, getting to know every Starbucks in town. I kept a normal schedule and did not hesitate to call almost anyone.”

Cindy goes on to talk about a variety of strategies she used to get reacquainted with past colleagues, managers and clients, which in turn, helped her land appointments, interviews and eventually four potential job offers.

“The interviewing and job seeking process is much different now than it was 10 years ago. It wasn’t shopping my resume on the Internet that got me my next job, but instead it was by word of mouth. In my industry talking to people and getting connected is still the way to secure good positions.

Thanks to developing and expanding my large network, I had four potential job offers that came together around the same time. I did not want to take the first offer but, instead, evaluated what I really wanted in my next career and what kind of people I wanted to work for. With the power of prayer and lots of good friends and acquaintances, I landed on my feet with a great company. I feel grateful and very fortunate, especially in this job market, for my new career. During the transition, I also researched and looked into certifications to pursue a second income in the future which now is a possibility.”

What I love about Cindy’s story is that she learned how to be a rainmaker for her own career.  She didn’t sit back and wait for job openings to pop up online.  Instead, she fast tracked her job search by going straight to her professional community asking for job leads, referrals and recommendations. Not only did she receive four job offers in just three weeks, but now she’s proactively creating opportunities to help secure her new job, and her future!

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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

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

Where’s the point that you would stop settling for an average or mediocre career, and put it all on the line for a chance at something better?

Rich Dubek found his tipping point after spending 20 years working in television as an award winning reporter in Phoenix. He talked about the frustration he had, the risks he took and the strategies he put in place to set himself up for success in the next chapter of his career in my new book, The Bounce Back.  Here’s an excerpt from Rich’s story…

“I had been a successful, two-time Emmy award winning Senior News Reporter for many years at a local NBC television affiliate. I loved my job, and I had recently broken some major national stories, exceeding all the lofty goals set by my employer. But I had worked long hours under the most stressful of circumstances as I continued to “pay my dues,” sacrificing time with my family in the process.

After 15 years with the same TV station, I set my sights on a new goal – to move from being a TV news reporter, into a TV news anchor. In the rapidly changing media world I knew news reporters were getting younger and cheaper, while being asking to do much more for less. In addition, the bottom line – not the quality of work as a reporting journalist – was rapidly becoming the priority for TV news management and this didn’t match with my personal values or ambition.

I was on top of my game when my employer wanted me to sign a new 3-year contract. I only asked my employer for one thing: The opportunity to advance my career with fill-in anchor opportunities in addition to my reporting duties. They offered me a pay increase but clearly stated I would not have the opportunity to anchor.

I realized that I needed to assess my long-term goals. Did I want to lock myself into a job I already had mastered for three more years, with no option to branch out and learn new skills? Was it worth missing out on my wife and teenage sons’ life events such as holidays, basketball games and band gigs?

If I left the TV station, what would I do? Go to another TV station where I might get a better opportunity but more likely would be stuck in the same industry with the same standards and demanding work schedules? Or do something entirely different?

A couple of things were clear: I really enjoyed telling stories, producing videos, and helping people become better communicators, and I had built a successful career doing these things. I didn’t want to move to a completely new career, I just wanted to apply my skills in a different way. I had also heard about the freelance media world, where “news people” could continue to work in the business but on their own terms. This sounded appealing. After my assessment of the situation, and a long talk with my wife (whose support was and still is critical to my success), I knew it was time for me to take the leap of faith. I decided to walk away from my successful job and paycheck and go out on my own.”

Rich goes on to tell about how he made the decision to quit his job, and the strategies that he put in place to set himself up for success as he ventured out to start his own successful business, AZ Freelance TV.   He talks about how making a decision about changing careers isn’t just about a new job, but that it’s also considering factors such as lifestyle, family, independence and self-management, as well as income and benefits.

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 the key lesson out of Rich Dubek’s story is that when you plan ahead, mitigate the risks and set yourself up for success – you actually can have it all!

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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

Having Trouble Getting Hired After a Layoff?

Having trouble getting hired after you’ve been laid off? This week I’m teaching you how to build your personal brand, position yourself to hiring managers and customize your resume after a lay-off.

Recovering from layoff

In my own career, I woke up one morning after being laid off, and realized that I had to stop being so reactive and become more proactive.  Throughout my journey, I’ve learned how to position myself to hiring managers, how to set myself up for success with my manager, and how to find and create more career opportunities than I could have ever imagined.

So how did I get hired after being laid off?  By following a 3-step action plan –

1. Telling my story.
What would I say to people about the lay-offs? I found the best approach was to always say something positive about my previous position. I would talk about how it was either a great company, or how much I loved my role and responsibilities. I made sure that I always had something positive to say about the experience, that I truly believed it and that I was genuine when I talked about it.

Also, if the lay-off had been due to company down-sizing, I followed up by saying something like, “Unfortunately, the company went through tough economic times and my position was (cut, outsourced, or whatever.) If the lay-off was due to lack of performance like the time I was hired at an Advertising Agency where I expected to do the job of two people, then I said, “I didn’t realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn’t fill both of their shoes.”

Even though I experienced a laid off, I’ve had many job offers since then because I’ve learned how to tell my story and position myself in a positive way to hiring managers.

2. Customizing my resume.
I customized my resume for every job I went after. I created a new section on my resume called, Freelance, Consulting and Short-term Positions. I put any of my short term job stints into this section. This way, I was showing that I had long term employment with 3-4 companies, plus a few other gigs!

Whenever a potential employer asked about any of the positions in that category, I just said something like, I worked there for a few months and really enjoyed it! I learned such and such, or I contributed by doing this or that. I made sure that what I said was always positive, and focused on what I learned or how I contributed.

I also focused on results.  Instead of writing about responsibilities, I wrote about results I had achieved or goals I had met or exceeded. I substantiated everything I wrote by adding dollars, numbers or percentages.  This helped me show that I had a history, or pattern of achieving quantifiable results.

3. Getting job leads, referrals and recommendations.
I always called up past employers, managers and customers to catch up with them and let them know that I was ready for the next chapter in my career. I got out in the world and networked and socialized. It helped me build my confidence, practice telling my story and helped me learn about career opportunities.

Prepare for interviews by practicing your story out loud, and be sure to talk about what you’ve learned and how you added value to other organizations.  Ask thoughtful questions to the hiring manager. Be confident in your strengths and abilities. Show that you’re grateful and appreciative for the opportunities you’ve had in your career.  Networking can happen at any time. I had a client who entered a golf tournament and got paired up with a VP of a large retail corporation. They both shared stories about their golf game and career. After the 18th hole, my client handed the VP his business card and said, If anything opens up in your organization, let me know.  I’d love to join your team.  Four weeks later the VP hired him.

With the right story, resume and attitude you can get hired again. Decide how you’re going to tell your career story and tell it in the most positive way possible.  Practice saying it out loud so that you sound confident, believable and genuinely authentic during your interviews and networking opportunities.

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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

 

Land a New Job by Navigating through Social Media

Not sure how to use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to help you find a job?

Learning how to navigate through the maze of social media can help you land a job faster and easier in today’s tight job market.

Social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are leading the way in this new era of internet job search.

  1. Power up on LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn is a free site where you can post your professional profile, build your personal brand, and connect with others.

    One key element in creating a LinkedIn profile that attracts hiring managers and recruiters is to use powerful key words to describe your strengths, talents and successes.  You can identify the “right” key words to use on your profile by referencing sites such as Monster.com for job openings similar to those you’re looking to land. You’ll want to use those same key words in your LinkedIn profile so that employers and recruiters searching LinkedIn to fill job openings can easily find you!

  2. Sign up on job boards.

    Another easy tip to help you land a new job is to create a profile on SimplyHired and Indeed using those same key words. I’ve had clients land jobs using both of those sites!  You can sign up to receive email alerts for new jobs, and then spend a few minutes each day reviewing the latest updates and applying for those jobs that interest you.

  3. Supersize your network.

    After you’ve built your profile on LinkedIn, you can supersize your network by joining as many groups as possible. The maximum allowed is 50 which allows you to connect with other professionals in those industries and job roles you want to transition into, as well as find out about hot job leads and openings!

    Once  you’re in a group, you can start building professional relationships by sending a personal note to anyone in that group, as well as participate in discussions.  By joining in discussions, you can share your knowledge and expertise, connect with others who share similar interests, and develop connections with others who could share job leads, referrals and recommendations.

The key to landing your next job quickly is to join and participate in as many social networks as possible.  The bigger your social network is, the the faster you’ll be able to connect with others who could help you get hired, or introduct you to others who could potentially hire you!

Finally, want one more “bonus” tip?

Check out student blogs  for more great tips on how to find jobs using social media and how to successfully boost your online professional profile.

Creating a Sizzling Cover Letter to Get Noticed

Not getting noticed?  Maybe it’s your cover letter…

 

 

 

 

 

It can be easy to forget the importance of a cover letter when you’re applying for jobs.  The resume is, of course, critically important in letting the potential employer know your job history, as well as education, training and special skills and any recognition you’ve gained throughout your career.

But without a top notch cover letter, how is your next boss going to know that you’re a great fit for the company? A cover letter accomplishes many things that a resume can’t. For example, let’s say you’re applying for a job in healthcare, or more specifically, radiography. You may not have relevant job experience in that particular field, but perhaps you’ve spent the last year taking radiography courses and are perfectly qualified for an entry level position. The cover letter is the perfect place where you can explain yourself and what transferable skills you’ve developed over the years that will help you in your new career.

 

To help you stand out in today’s tough job market, below are four (4) must-have tips to help you write a stellar cover letter:

  1. Punch your results and what you can do for them.

    Don’t waste the reader’s time talking about how bad you need a job. What you need to be doing is telling them why they should want you. What will you bring to the table that will benefit their company? The best way to do this is by highlighting achievements from past jobs or educational experiences. If you were responsible for a 30% sales increase in your last job or helped to rebrand a company’s marketing presence by partnering with a youth group, those are the kinds of facts to include in your cover letter.

  2. Be personable and likable.

Obviously, with the limited space of a cover letter you don’t have much room for fluff, but it’s important to add some personality. Not only will it endear you to the reader, it increases the chance that he/she will remember you. For example, if you’re from another country you could briefly describe your journey to America. Or, if you have a personal story of how the company to which you’re applying has affected your life in a positive way, you could mention this. Don’t be too cute though. When in doubt, err on the side of professionalism and don’t be too informal.

3.  Talk up your transferable skills.

A transferable skill is a skill you learn to complete one task but which can be used for many other tasks. For example, if you successfully managed people, projects or budgets in a previous position, you can transfer those skills to your next position.

Another example of a transferable skill is customer service. In a previous job you may have been excellent at managing internal stakeholders, vendors or or customers. This kind of experience will not only transfer to different industries and job roles, but will make you a valuable asset to any organization.

4. Let your future employer know where you’re coming from and where you’re headed.

Briefly include biographical information in your cover letter. This is usually for the purpose of clarifying why your past makes you a perfect fit for the new job. You can also explain why there are any gaps in your employment history. For example, if you didn’t work from 2006 to 2007 because you were taking time off for a research project, you should explain that in the cover letter. It’s also helpful to include why you’re passionate about the new company, as well as the position.

It takes some extra effort to create a cover letter that sizzles and grabs the attendtion of a hiring manager – but a great cover letter can help you stand out from your competition.  And in today’s tough job market, that’s exactly what you need!

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Written as a Guest Post by Samantha Peters, who is an avid blogger that frequently writes about career and job search related topics from San Diego, California.  Follow Samantha on Twitter at twitter.com/#!/Sam_Peters1001

 

7 Tips for Becoming "Social Media" Smart

Ready to advance your career?
Social media is a remarkable tool that can accelerate your reputation, credibility and personal brand to help you build a name for yourself for the services, knowledge, and value that you have to offer.

      But social media can be a double-edged sword. If you're thinking about ways to leverage Facebook, Twitter and the all-important professional tool, LinkedIn for the advancement of your career, you'll need to keep in mind that you must present a professional appearance in line with your intended personal branding persona.

Below are seven super easy tips to help you navigate the confusing social media maze to advance your career.

1. Your Self-Image And Public Image Need To Be The Same

    How do you see yourself? Be sure your public image is in concert with your personal image. Not only will your audience and intended customers or clients appreciate an authentic voice, but it's easier to be genuine when you use your own voice in articles, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

      This does not mean being so informal that you don't sound professional. Strike a balance, always keeping in mind that the world is watching. What do you want the world to see?

      2. Personal Branding – Name Your “Product”

      What are you selling, offering or providing for your intended audience? In other words, what is your product? Whether you're using social media to offer a skill or talent you have and are looking for clients, or you're seeking a career-oriented position, be relentlessly clear about two things:

        a. Your niche or your discipline; and

      b. Your experience and expertise in your chosen field.

      3. Network, Network, Network!
        After mulling things over and deciding how you’d like to position yourself, it's time to begin serious networking. Put up your professional looking and sounding self-named Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter account. Blog on your topic and offer to guest blog on peer blogs and subject related blogs.
4. Article Writing – Your Claim To Fame
    Write timely and relevant articles on your subject matter and get them up on the many available ezines. One exciting consideration is that you can take your inspired writing from your blogs and turn it into helpful and interesting articles.

    Be sure not to just copy and paste, though, as reputable ezines are looking for original writing and will reject copied text (yes, even if it's your own). Make it unique the first time, and get your presence known.

      There are a few great resources online for finding ezines to write for, such as the ezine directories at BestEzine, or FindEzines. These sites are broken up into different topics and niches, so you’re able to find your specific topic within minutes!

      5. Upload Your Resume
      If you're looking for a career position, you'll want to upload your resume. But even if your intention is to sell your product or a service you provide, there's no reason not to have a resume up on the numerous available resume websites and job boards. It's great free exposure. Narrow your resume to the precise area you are working in to assure that you get the responses you most hope to receive.

      There are quite a few sites that are definitely worthwhile to upload your resume to. Try using CareerBuilder or Monster. They’re incredibly easy to use, and are relatively well known, so many prospective employers are likely to stumble across your resume.

      6. Linking Up

      Be sure to link your various social media and your internet sites to one another. Leave a trail of big, fat bread crumbs that will infallibly lead your potential customer, client or employer to you.

      When you consider having “everything about you” transparently available to the world, it becomes clear that your presentation must be consistent. A profile of a fun party girl on Facebook may not jibe with the responsible word smith you present yourself to be on LinkedIn. It's fine to be more casual on Facebook, but don't let the difference seem incongruous.

      7. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You
    This last tip may well be the most important – help others get to their destination when you have the opportunity. The miraculous aspect of the internet is that it has put virtually unlimited power in our hands. Use this force for good!

      Call it Karma, paying it forward, or simply, the right thing to do. In any case, there are stunning examples of the power of this approach. Take, for example, John Locke, the first self-published author to sell a million eBooks on Amazon. What's relevant to the subject is his social media model, and the wise individual will borrow from it. He is generous in his praise of other authors and tirelessly tells his followers to check out the web pages and the books of other authors.

    Generosity returns in kind, and multiplies on its return. 🙂

      ——————————————————————————————————–
      Written by James Adams, guest blogger for CareerCoaching360.com. If you ever need to find printer cartridges online, just ask James. He is an employee of a British supplier of printer cartridges and spends most of his time blogging for the website, or keeping it updated. He’s recently been busy with keeping track of all the HP laser cartridges but still finds time to write guest articles.

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      It’s Time to Bullet-Proof Your Career!

      Nervous about your career?  

      In today’s increasingly volatile economy, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for any kind of change, should your career take a turn for the worst. 

      From a layoff, to a demotion, to a change in your job role – it happens to everyone! And I know from personal experience that when you are prepared for change – you’re more likely to rebound quicker and faster!

      Below are five things you can do RIGHT NOW to bullet-proof your career and keep yourself in high demand in today’s job market…
       

      1. Invest in a professionally written resume. Think your resume is good enough?  Think again.  The unemployment pool is getting bigger and your resume must be in the top 2-percent to get noticed. 

        Imagine that a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity comes up and you have one shot to get your resume in front of the hiring manager.  Will your resume help you, or hurt you?  Invest in a professionaly written resume.
         

      2. Create an “Interview Prep Kit” including a polished portfolio, briefcase and power suit.  Make sure you’re prepared for an interview, by having a hefty sample of your best work available including reports, strategic plans, proposals, campaigns or presentations that you created.  This helps validate your successes and what you can do for the next company that hires you.

        Also, invest in interview coaching so you’ll know how to answer those tough questions, and what to say to close the deal. 

        Finally, don’t wait until the night before your interview to go suit shopping.  Make sure you have a smart looking briefcase, power suit, and matching shoes so that you make a great impression when you walk into a room.  You’ll need these for business networking events, plus all of your interviews!
         

      3. Make a list of your high powered references.  Start identifying those who could give you a strong professional recommendation.  Go after those managers and executives with the highest title, biggest influence, and work for the most prestigious companies. 

        If you’ve lost touch with someone on your list, start searching them out now. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com makes it easy to find past colleagues.  Also, consider who you WANT on your list and start looking for opportunities to get connected. 
         

      4. Build a deep and wide professional network.  Don’t wait to start networking – do it now. Send your contacts links to videos, reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think may interest them.  Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers.  Career influencers (those who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you) are drawn to those who are resourceful and well connected.

        Make sure you have updated contact information including e-mail address and phone numbers.
         

      5. Develop Your Plan “B”.  What kind of work could you do to generate income if you lost your job right now?  Could you freelance or start consulting?  Would you prefer to work part-time while getting some specialized training or advanced education to help you come back better and stronger?

        Your Plan B is a back-up plan that should include a career strategy, as well as a finance plan with monthly costs you’re prepared to cut immediately if the worst should happen.

      Remember, hope is not a strategy.  Nobody else is going to own and drive your career.  It’s yours, and yours alone, to manage. 

      By having the right strategies and plans in place, you’ll be better equipped to manage through any career change, as well as come back faster and stronger! 

      Your Assignment… 🙂

      Start creating your Plan “B” in case you need to make it your Plan “A” 🙂

      Start thinking about your next career move. exploring all of the opportunities around you. If you want to change into a freelance or consulting role then create a plan that defines financial budgets, marketing strategies and potential customers.  If you want a new job role, then research companies who are hiring and what their requirements are for that job.  Make a plan on how to fill any skillset gaps with experience or training. 

      If you’re feeling ‘stuck’ and not sure what you want to be when you grow up 🙂  then read the business journal, trade magazines, industry publications and your local newspaper to see what kinds of jobs are available and what inspires you. Also, start talking to past and present colleagues, clients and those in your network to learn about their job. 

      The point is to become proactive in your career.  Get prepared for any change so that you can rebound quicker and faster, and get into a career that inspires you! 🙂

      Which Season is Your Career In…?

      I recently had a client, David, who after 15+ years of employment, advancement and promotions with the same company, found his career at a standstill.  His manager encouraged him to stay put because opportunities may be on the horizon, but with downsizing and layoffs happening across other departments David saw a bleak future ahead of him and decided to take control of his career and look for a new job.

      Like many people in David’s situation, career changes can be difficult to face.   But career changes are a part of life.  And the quicker you can recognize change and make adjustments in your career, the easier and more successful your career will be.

      Just like the weather, careers have seasons.  The springtime is like starting out in a new job.  Everything is fresh, new, and exciting.  The summer is when you hit your stride, you’re confident, making significant contributions, and your job is actually FUN!

      During the fall, you’re a seasoned veteran in your comfort zone and an expert in your role.  Strangely, this is also the time when many professionals and executives begin thinking about a career change.  Some become antsy for a new challenge or a bigger step up the corporate ladder to change into a deeper, more meaningful career.

      David was in the winter season of his career.  This is the final phase of your job when you realize that change is inevitable, and that you must move on. 

      Whether you find yourself being pushed out of the nest due to corporate mergers or downsizing, or you’ve made the decision for change on your own, the quicker you recognize and respond to change, the quicker you can take control and get your career on the RIGHT track.

      Most professionals change careers 4-7 times during their lifetime.  For David, it was his 3rd,  and I’m happy to say that he navigated through the storm beautifully.  We created a step-by-step career transition plan and within just a few weeks he was considering job offers from two different companies.

       

      If your career is in a fall or winter season, then here is your assignment…

      Start exploring all of the opportunities around you. If you’re currently employed, then consider taking on new projects or joining teams that excite you or at minimum, help strengthen a skill and boost your resume. 

      Also, beef up your professional network by attending industry conferences, training seminars, and business networking events to talk to other professionals and discover new career opportunities. Learn about the skills and qualifications required to move into those new jobs.

      If you’re feeling ‘stuck’ and not sure where you want to go or how to get there, invest in a few personal career coaching sessions with a qualified career coach.   

      The point is to take control of your career.  Identify which season you’re in and if it’s time for a change – then get on with it.  Do the work necessary to get through the storm and you’ll find that your career (and your life) welcome a fresh new start.

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      Need a few gift ideas this holiday season?  Here are a few gifts to help someone on your list jump start their new career –

      • The”Six Week, Six Step Career Change Program” – includes the “Career Change Boot Camp” 2-CD program, the e-book “Interviewing Smart – Insider Secrets to Getting the Job“, professional, customizable and proven resume templates, and “The Salary Compensation Guide” to help you negotiate the best deal for you!
      • The “Career Change Boot Camp Program” –   a complete do-it-yourself self study program that includes step-by-step strategies, tools and resources to help you change careers quickly and easily.  Includes 2 CD’s, eWorkbook and transcripts so you can get started immediately!
      • Sherri’s new book, “THE BOUNCE BACK – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback.”  Available in hardcover and Kindle formats on AMAZON and Barnes & Noble.  
      • Book, “CAREER SMART – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books!  Available in hardcover, Kindle and audio on AMAZON and Barnes & Noble.  

      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

      Step Up to Advance Your Career

      Want to move up the corporate ladder?  If yes, then you’ll need to step up.  

      Moving up the chain of command within your current company is one of the hardest things to do.  The reason is because senior managers already see you in your current role, performing your day-to-day responsibilities.  They do not physically “see” you in that higher level role, successfully managing those higher-level, higher risk programs and departments.  And no, it’s not a given that if you’re successful in your current position that you’ll be successful at a higher level position.

      So how do you prove that you can do the job before you get the job?    

      1. First, you’ll need to role model those skills required in that advanced position.
        Talk to other department and senior managers to find out what kinds of skills, training and qualifications are needed for the advanced position.  For example, if you want to move from Account Manager to Sr. Account Manager, then you may find out the position requires someone with a proven track record in managing client expectations and leading teams.  Or, if you want to transition from a Sales Manager to the VP of Sales & Marketing, the company may need a strategic thinker who can generate revenue and influence senior management. If you feel that you have the right skills and qualifications to be successful in the new role, then take an assessment of your current projects and teams that you’re leading.  Are they allowing you to gain credibility with senior managers?  Are they allowing you to get the “big results” that you need to get noticed?

        If not, then you’ll need to step up and volunteer for projects that do.  Usually, these are projects that generate revenue, streamline costs, or give the company a competitive edge in the market.  Be proactive and go after those projects that are valued by company leaders where you can flex your muscles, showcase your strengths, and demonstrate that you’re the right person for the job. 
         

      2. Next, you’ll need to increase your visibility and credibility with Sr. Leaders. 
        You want to be seen by those managers, or career influencers who could praise your work to other senior managers, promote you, or influence others to promote you. Send a crystal clear message that you have the right skills and experience for that higher level position.  Seek out opportunities to promote your project teams, key successes, and the benefits that your projects are bringing to the company in your status updates, project reports, and presentations to staff and senior managers.  Also, increase your visibility by writing an article for the company newsletter, hosting a webinar, speaking at an internal conference or forum, or hosting a workshop.  

      My client Kevin stepped up and volunteered for a highly valued and highly visible project, and two weeks later the project leader transferred to a different project.  Kevin stepped up again to take on the role of project leader which gave him tremendous opportunities for increased exposure and communication to senior leaders. 

      One month later, Kevin stepped up again to support two additional high profile projects.  Not only did he receive a promotion, but he is also feeling more satisfied, more energized, and more respected in his career than ever before. 

      I’ve personally stepped up in my own career several times with remarkable success.  Once, when the department I was working in shut down the marketing line of service along with two projects I was leading, my manager asked me if I wanted to lead a high profile technical project.  At the time, I didn’t have any experience in technical leadership.  I remember being terrified, but I knew the reward could be huge.  So I stepped up and within one year I received a promotion as well as a 22-percent increase in salary.

      Successful professionals are always seeking out opportunities to step up and take on higher-level responsibilities that are valued by company leaders. Yes, there is risk involved, but if you don’t step up and prove yourself, then ten years from now you’re likely to be in the same job role with the same responsibilities and the same salary that you have today.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that if this is where you want to be.  But, if you want more responsibility, more leadership opportunities and a beefier paycheck – you’ll need to take the first step.