Power Up Your "Career Confidence"

You are the “story teller” of your own career.

Every day, people are creating perceptions and making assumptions about you based on what you're telling them. If you're sending the message that you've been short-changed, passed over or stepped on in your career, then people will see you as someone who doesn't have much value in the workplace.

BUT(!) if you're send a strong, clear message that you're a key contributor with some big successes under your belt, then managers, hiring managers and Sr. leaders will be more likely to give you job leads, job offers and bigger career opportunities.

Here are a few tips to help you frame your “career story”…

  1. Stop being so humble.

Being humble is a career stifller. Yes, it’s a nice quality to have, but if you never talk about some of the successes you’ve had in the workplace, then your career is sure to sit on a shelf for the next 10 years.

I had lunch yesterday with one of my best friends from college, Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils! :)) who became an Emmy winning TV news reporter for NBC-TV in Phoenix.  Now, at 50-years old, he has his own company AZ Freelance TV advising Corporate leaders as a Media Strategist. He told me that he’s ready to expand his business, but “I'm not the type of person to brag about myself.”  This is a man who has interviewed three (3) U.S. Presidents (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.)

Seriously? How would anyone ever know to hire him if he didn't talk about his successes?

Talking about your accomplishments builds your credibility. It lets people know what you’re good at, what you can handle and what you can accomplish. It makes you stand out from the crowd. If you want to get noticed, then you’ll need to learn how to talk about your achievements, not in an arrogant kind of way, but more in an “I’m a key contributor who gets big results” kind of way.

Write down 2-3 of your biggest achievements over the past three years. Now, practice saying out loud in a sentence or two how you contributed to those successes and what the impact was to the organization. For example, “I was the technical lead for a new internal tool that was launched on the SAP platform. The tool is now saving the group $100,000 a year.” Or, “I was on the creative marketing campaign for the xyz product which helped the company gain 3% more market share.”

The key to getting more job offers, leads and opportunities is leaning how to talk about your successes. Nobody will know what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them.

2. Frame your story in a positive way.

One of my favorite chapters in my new book, “The Bounce Back” gives strategies on how to frame your story to hiring managers after you’ve been laid off or experienced a career setback. Managers, Sr. leaders, customers, and hiring managers create their perception of you based on what you tell them. If you talk about your career in a positive, confident way – then they are going to think of you as a positive and confident employee.

Earlier in my career I was laid off at a small advertising agency.  A few months later, I bounced back and was hired as the Regional Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 company. I believe that a large part of the reason I was hired was because of the way I told my career story to the Vice President. During the interview, I talked about how the company that laid me off was a great company and how much I loved my role and responsibilities. I truly believed in what I was saying and so my tone was very genuine. Then, I addressed the reason for my layoff which was, “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.” The VP called me the next day to tell me I was hired.

Everybody has setbacks in their career.  E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y.  It's not the setback that holds you back, but how you internalize the setback. The key is to frame your career story in the most positive, honest and confident way possible.

3. Don’t take yourself out of the game because you fumbled.

I had a TV interview a few months ago and the reporter asked about my book. I froze up. I got nervous, said “umm” and garbled out a few lame sentences. Man-oh-man, I wish I could have a do-over.

It happens to all of us. Whether it’s a job interview, a big presentation or the perfect networking opportunity – sometimes, we just freeze up. It happens, and it happens to everyone. The key is not to beat yourself up. And don’t shy away from future opportunities to give a big presentation or go on job interviews. The lesson is to learn from the situation and then do better next time.

Keep looking for opportunities to step into the spotlight and tell your story again and again. If you fumbled a presentation, then go ask the team leader if you can present it again with some new data that you just received. If you fumbled a job interview, then send an e-mail to the interviewer providing a little more clarity on your experience or area of expertise. For me, I wrote to the TV reporter and tee'd up a few more tips out of my book to share with her viewers, and then had a follow-up interview.

Sometimes a do-over isn’t possible, and if that’s the case, then just get on with looking for your next opportunity and be ready to strut your stuff. Don’t let a negative experience stop you from moving your career forward. Get out there, find your voice and share your career story with confidence. Your next career opportunity is out there – you just have to go find it! 😉

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, ”The Bounce Back” is the 2013 winner of “Best Career Book” by Indie Book Awards for independent book authors. Her first book is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand.” As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360.   Sherri specializes in providing one-on-one coaching to professionals and executives who want to change, reinvent or advance their career.

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

Sherri offers personal one-on-one career coaching to professionals who want to change their career.  Learn more: www.CareerCoaching360.com 

The Bounce Back by Sherri Thomas             

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Was this the year you were going to make a career change?

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. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, ”The Bounce Back” is the 2013 winner of “Best Career Book” by Indie Book Awards for independent book authors. Her first book is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand.” As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360.   Sherri specializes in providing one-on-one coaching to professionals and executives who want to change, reinvent or advance 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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“Nudgers” Give You Guts

I’m writing this blog from New York City where my book, The Bounce Back was just awarded 2013 Winner for “Best Career Book’ by the Indie Book Awards (kind of like the Sundance Film Festival but for books! :))  It has been an exhilarating, whirlwind week of awards ceremonies, dinner at The Harvard Club, media interviews and one very cool red carpet event.

The funny thing is, I almost didn’t write the book.

I had no intention of writing a second book until Marcus Buckingham nudged me.  I had first met Marcus, author of “First, Break All the Rules,” and “Now Go Discover Your Strengths” a couple of years after I had written my first book.  I stood in line to get his autograph at a conference in Orlando, Florida where he spoke.  That chance introduction led to a few follow-up conversations and then meeting him at his office in Beverly Hills.  It was during that meeting that he graciously offered to give me advice if I ever wrote a 2nd book.

Up until that time, I had never even thought of writing anther book.  However, when Marcus said that, it was as if a green light went off inside me.  I become super-charged with thoughts and ideas for a 2nd book. Within 48 hours I had the outline for The Bounce Back sketched out, and three months later, the book was written.

I’ve started thinking about the “nudgers” in my life.  Those who encouraged me to move in a new direction, take on something big, or stretch outside of my comfort zone.

Once, I had a manager who nudged me from a marketing role into a technical role.  He encouraged me in such a supportive way that I embraced the challenge with vigor, and as a result achieved one of the biggest accomplishments in my career.  I would never have done that without his support.

Another nudge came from a conference speaker I randomly met at a Project Management conference in Denver, Colorado. I told him how great of a speaker I thought he was, and he encouraged me to become a speaker. At the time, I thought there was no way I could ever get up and speak in front of such a large crowd, but through his mentorship I’ve now spoken at more than 100 conferences.

It helps to have people nudge you, but ultimately, you have to nudge yourself.  You have to find the courage to step up and take a risk.  I know how scary it can be.  I know that it’s so much easier to stay inside your cushy-cozy comfort zone.    But if you stay where you are you’ll be missing out on what you could become.  You will never experience new highs.  The thrill of big wins. The feeling of accomplishment.

And what if they pay-off doesn’t come?  Well, then maybe the payoff is simply a development opportunity. A new skill that you learned or strengthened.  A new experience that you gained.  A new confidence you found in yourself.  Never-the-less, you will learn S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G.

So the next time someone tries to nudge you, accept the challenge.
It could be the best thing you ever do for yourself!

Cheers from The Harvard Club in New York City!  🙂

 

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and award-winning author named 2013 “BEST CAREER BOOK” 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 50 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

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