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, 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

 

New Year, New Career! 3 simple tips to help you reinvent your career faster…

As a 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 strategic in making a career change. My career coaching clients have had great success including doubling their opportunities and cutting their 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.

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

For example, if you’ve been working in advertising agencies, then also include businesses 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.

Also, it’s not mandatory that you meet 100-percent of the requirements in the job description. Attitude and confidence are also key factors! 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.

2. Create a strategic job search plan.
You want to fish where the fish are, so find out where your potential employers 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 where 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: software engineer, 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 top job search sites, make a commitment to review those sites weekly.

3. Work your NetWORK.
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 week.

Finally, never 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 links to reports, case studies, press releases, videos, and websites that you think may interest them. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. 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 in 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!! 🙂

Creating a Powerful Personal Brand

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Personal Branding is a hot topic these days, and I have 5 ways you can create a powerful personal brand and leverage it to get into the career you really want…

Step #1. Understand your value.

Having a powerful personal brand means that you consistently deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. In other words, it’s the skills, experience, and value that you provide to your employer or clients. Whether it’s bringing in new streams of revenue, managing highly valued projects, developing creative marketing campaigns, or whatever, your career is fueled by the value that you consistently deliver to employers.

Your value is a unique blend of your strengths, professional accomplishments, and personal characteristics (such as being a good leader, risk taker, problem solver, strategic thinker, etc.). All of these things combined make up your “value package” which makes you truly unique from a crowd of colleagues, business associates, and even job applicants.

Step #2. Get into a career where you can thrive (and not just survive!)

Being in a passionless job is a career killer! If you’re walking around dull and listless (like the Clairol Herbal Essence girl before she shampoos her hair), then others are sure to see you that way. It’s impossible to have a powerful personal brand if you’re just going through the motions at work. You need to be in a career that challenges you, flexes your professional muscles, and excites you!

You want to be working on projects that excite you and teams that energize you! Start gravitating towards those projects and assignments where you can thrive. Or, if you’re in between jobs right now, then you want to focus on talking about those kinds of projects and accomplishments that you worked on in your networking and on your resume.

Step #3 Send the “right” messages.

Everything you do and say sends messages to your manager, senior managers, clients, peers, and potential employers. Your words, actions, presentations, reports, work deliverables, all shape the perceptions others have about you and the value you provide.

So you should take every opportunity to send a very clear message that you are a hiqh quality and results-driven contributor. Talk about the successes of your projects and teams, and the benefit they’re providing to the company. Talk about the obstacles that your team overcame, and the key lessons that you learned.
This is how employers and potential employers can view you as an asset to their company.

Step #4 Act as if your are on a stage.

Think about how you want others to perceive you. Do you want to be recognized as being smart? Strategic? Having specific expertise? A great leader? Whatever it is, you should be striving to send that message loud and clear.

Every day you have opportunities to shape and manage your personal brand. In every presentation that you give, in every meeting you attend, in all your conversations with other professionals – think of yourself as being on a stage. It’s your opportunity to shape and manage the way others are perceiving you.

Step #5 Network strategically.

If you want bigger promotions, better clients, and a richer, more meaningful career you need to work with people who value and appreciate you. So focus on creating a strong support system of what I call, career influencers. These are people who can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and open doors to new opportunities. Nurture your relationships with these people, and ask about their career path and strategies for blasting through career challenges. Seek out people who can give you the roadmap, guidance, and inspiration to help you advance your career.

Powerful personal brands don’t happen overnight. It takes time, focus, and commitment, but the payoff is huuuuuge. Imagine a world where you wake up every morning excited about your career! 🙂

Career Change Dilemma – Should you stay or should you go?

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Should you stay in your current job or should you make a career change?

If you’re struggling with whether or not to leave your current job and try something new, then I have 3 questions for you to ask yourself to help you make that decision.

First, What do you need in your career to feel motivated and fulfilled?

In other words, which of your strengths do you want to be using? Which skills and areas of expertise do you want to be recognized and appreciated for?

Is there a specific industry you want to be in? Is there a specific job role you want to be in? These are things you need to think about and figure out. This is the first step in transitioning into a career that’s meaningful and inspiring.

The second question I want you to ask yourself is, What are the ‘gives and gets’ in your current situation?

Take inventory of what you are giving to your current manager or organization. You need to look at yourself from your manager’s perspective. Consider the fact that your employer probably had many candidates applying for your job and they gave it to you! Are you meeting their expectations? Are you delivering what you promised you would in the job interview? Define the value that you provide to the company. Those are the “gives” of your job.

For example, do you have the right knowledge, experience and skills to perform the job successfully (and these days you really need to exceed expectations to be successful in a job.) Are you providing some kind of unique expertise and viewed as the “go to” person for that knowledge or skill? Are your senior leaders and customers thrilled with your work? Are you training and mentoring team members and peers?

Those are all the “gives” of what you’re giving to the organization.

Next, identify the ‘gets’, which are all the benefits you’re receiving from your current employer. For example, a paycheck, health benefits, a retirement account, the opportunity to create or launch a new product? Training or advanced education, Developing a new skill? Pride from working for a prestigious company or with prestigious clients? Telecommuting? Flexible hours? Those are all great “gets.”

Now look at the mix of gives and gets. Are they in balance, or out of sync? If your gives outweigh what you’re getting in return, then you may want to take your career in a different direction, and this exercise will help you see that.

Now, before you disconnect completely from your situation, I encourage you to ask yourself one more question – Is there anything else you can glean from your current situation before you leave?

Are there any projects that could give you deeper knowledge or help you build a new skill? Are there projects that you want to complete before you leave that could boost your resume, and boost your personal brand? Could you strengthen your leadership skills by volunteering to lead a project? Is there a project you could create that could help you grow and flex your professional muscles?

Also, is there anyone at your work who could teach you about a product, technology, or the industry before you leave?

It’s inevitable that at some point, you’ll want to move into a different job role or a different company. And when that time comes, remember that before you jump ship, you should ask yourself these three questions. They’ll help you make a smart decision about your career.

If you’re stuck – get professional help! You never want your career to be sitting on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then invest in some professional advice, like —

  1. A Professional resume writer, or
  2. An interview coach, or
  3. A career coach.

These are professionals who can accelerate your career change and help you get into a new job faster!

Power Networking! Simple Tips to Change your Career Fast

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If you have you been thinking about making a career change, networking should be in your Career Change Toolbox. But, what’s the “right” way to network?

Here are my tips for Power Networking to make a faster career change as a professional or executive.

The next time you find yourself in a room with someone you’d like to meet, look around to see if there’s someone else around your know who could introduce the two of you. Then, keep the conversation focused on them. (It’s not about you! At least not yet, anyway!) So, ask them about their latest marketing campaign or product launch, or comment on something new or interesting that’s going on inside their company.

Next, try to get their business card by simply saying, I’d love to stay in touch – how about if we exchange business cards? Then, follow up by sending a piece of information that you think they may be of interest to your new contact such as an article, or the results of a new study, or a cool website that relates to their business.

The perception you want to create is not, Hey, I’m someone who’s looking for a job. But instead, that you’re a successful professional who’s resourceful, well connected, and who has some similar interests as they do. You want them to see that you as someone that THEY should get to know!

Offer to introduce them to someone in your network who could help them solve a business challenge, or help them save costs on a project, or who is a mover and shaker in the industry. You want them to see you as a resource – someone who could potentially help THEM in THEIR career!

Then, after you’ve exchanged e-mails, then talk about some projects or teams that you’re working on that are successful. One thing that works really well for me is I offer to share tips or lessons learned. I find that by doing this, people who value and appreciate your talents will naturally gravitate towards you.

So after you’ve established a relationship, go ahead and drop a hint that you’re looking for your next career opportunity. And believe me, if they know of any 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? It’s sometimes easy to focus 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.

The bottom line is that if you want to drive your career up to the next level, you need to make networking a priority. And once you’ve practiced a couple of the strategies, your career will start moving forward in the direction you want to go!

If you’re stuck – get professional help! You never want your career to be sitting on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then invest in some professional advice wherever you need it –

  1. A Professional resume writer, or
  2. An interview coach, or
  3. Or a career coach

These are professionals who can accelerate your career change and help you get into a new job faster!

PARADE Update: You Got The Interview! Now What?

PARADE Update: You Got The Interview! Now What?


One hour after Meghan sent her hot-off-the-press professionally updated resume to a hiring manager, he called to see if she could come in for an interview the next day!

Interviewing is intimidating, nerve wracking, and can make you feel like you’re two beats away from a heart attack. But preparing for the interview is much simpler when you realize that there are just five key questions going through your interviewer’s mind.

Here are three of them:

Can you do the job? You need to be able to talk about the skills, knowledge, and training you have that will help you perform the job successfully. My recommendation is that you walk into your next interview with 3-4 “personal career stories” that showcase a career success. Your stories should include: what the goal was, what the challenge was, and what the result was.

What “extras” do you bring? For most job openings, about 90% of the work has been defined but not the remaining 10%. This means you have a terrific opportunity to flaunt any bonus talents that may be of value. For example, if you’re going for a job as a Pubic Relations manager, you may have some experience in marketing or desktop publishing that is not required for the job, but might be valuable to the company.

Where are you a risk? Every new employee is a risk to a company, whether it’s a job requirement that you don’t meet or a skill you don’t have, or the potential that you’re overqualified for the position. I recommend that you beat the interviewer to the punch by stating where you a risk and then reassuring him why it won’t be a problem. If you’re asked what weaknesses you have, respond by bringing up an area that could improvement but quickly add what you are already doing to strengthen that area.

For a complete discussion of all five question, see my best-selling eBook, “Interviewing Smart: Insider Secrets to Getting the Job

5 Tips to Make a Faster Career Change as a Professional or Executive

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Have you been thinking about making a career change? Avoid the attitude that you will do it tomorrow, next week, next month, when your bonus arrives, etc. Be aware that “not now” soon becomes never.

Here are my 5 tips to make a faster career change as a professional or executive.

    1. Power up your confidence. Managers hire those who are passionate about their job, and confident they’ll perform it successfully. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, hiring managers won’t either. Let go of any career setbacks. Take pride in all of your strengths, talents and career successes – and go after those jobs that you know you can do well! (Confidence is a must, but arrogance is a showstopper!)

 

    1. Think up, down and sideways. A lot of people get stuck in a rut looking for the same job title as their last job. But you can double your options by looking at smaller and larger companies. The smaller company may have the same job role listed but with a bigger title (like a Director of VP-level), and the larger company may have a smaller title (like a manager or specialist) – but it’s the same major responsibilities.Also, apply for jobs outside of your industry. There are a lot of job roles that you can do in just about any industry. For example, if you’re in a marketing role, or finance role, or sales – they need these types of employees across all industries!

      So start reading trade publications and the Business Journal to learn which industries are hiring, what the hot jobs are, and where you can fit in.

 

    1. Leverage your transferable skills. If you’re finding that there are very few job openings for the kind of job role you want, then expand your scope. You can switch into a different job role by leveraging your transferable skills (those are skills that transfer from job role to job role.) For example, managing clients, managing teams, managing projects – a lot of these skills can transfer into different roles.So start reading job descriptions for a variety of jobs – and determine which roles are a good fit for you! This is a terrific way to get your foot in the door at a new company and make a start fresh in your career!

 

  1. Create a job search plan. So many people post their resume up on Monster.com, or they register with a headhunter and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring! It doesn’t happen that way! With this tight job market, you need to have a plan that includes:
    1. Your wish list of companies that you want to work for and check out their website every week.
    2. A list of on-line job boards like CareerBuilder.com and Career Journal.com that you check every week. A lot of these job boards have different niches that they serve best (such as a specific job industry, or salary level.) So you want to do some research and google, the job role, industry and location that you want, such as “Radio Sales in Phoenix.” Then, search through the first three or four pages of results and bookmark those job boards that meet your criteria. Those are the job boards that you’ll want to check back with every week for job openings.
    3. LinkedIn.com – joining different industry groups so that you can keep current on hot topics, network with influencers in those groups, and learn about job openings.
    4. 2-3 Networking events that you attend every week. Those could be industry conferences, association meetings, training seminars, and business networking events. These are events you go to meet people in the same industry, or they type of company where you want to work. Statistics show that 70% of jobs are going to people who have referrals within an organization – so networking with other professionals and executives is critical to changing your career. Stay away from job fairs – they tend to target lower end jobs and have too much competition.

     

  2. If you’re stuck – get professional help! You never want your career to be sitting on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then invest in some professional advice wherever you need it –
    1. A Professional resume writer, or
    2. An interview coach, or
    3. Or a career coach

    These are professionals who can accelerate your career change and help you get into a new job faster!

PARADE Update: Work your netWORK

PARADE Update: Work your netWORK


I’m so proud of Meghan! Today she had a terrific breakthrough. Through a series of powerful questions in our session together, Meghan was able to sort through all of the research that she’s been doing, as well as the wide variety of industries, companies and job roles that she’s had over her 10-year work history – and define a crystal clear career vision that excites and motivates her.

One of the biggest mistakes I see career changers make is being too broad in their career search. Applying for jobs in which they are under-qualified, over-qualified, or simply have no passion for. Those professionals who make successful career changes are laser focused on where they want to go and how they can add value to an organization.

Now that Meghan has defined her career vision and completed her personal Career Success Blueprint™, I can now help her align her networking opportunities, resume and interview responses towards that vision. I’m confident that with her strengths, passions and past career successes we’ll be able to snoop out job opportunities so that she can successfully transition into her dream career! 🙂

So now it’s time to build and leverage her professional network – and to work her network. I provide a step-by-step strategy for this in my book, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” and a few of those strategies include –

  • Get connected to people who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you. 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 week.

    Meghan made a great connection at a birthday party last week! She met someone who has the type of job role that she’s interested in and now Meghan has set up time with her to learn more about her career path, the company where she works, and her job responsibilities.

  • Network in person and on-line. Another great way to network is by joining LinkedIn.com to connect with other professionals and executives (i.e. Facebook is a social networking site, whereas LinkedIn.com is a professional networking site.) Make sure you create a profile that showcases your career strengths, results, and successes. Meghan is already making great strides in connecting with past colleagues, customers and business associates.
  • Be a resource for your key connections. When you’re in a career change 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 links to reports, case studies, press releases, videos, and cool websites that you think may interest individuals in your network. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Professionals are drawn to other professionals who are resourceful and well connected.

    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 in 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 have you join their team! 🙂

PARADE Update: One (Penguin) Step at a Time

PARADE Update: One (Penguin) Step at a Time


When a career change overwhelms you – take penguin steps In our session today, Meaghan shared that she was feeling overwhelmed. Trying to juggle a career change with managing a family, home and “life” was taking its toll on her sanity.

This is common among career changers (which is why I think so many professionals stay in jobs that are unfulfilling and unmotivating.) Reinventing your career is a step-by-step process that takes persistence, endurance and a lot of patience. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, my advice is to step back, breathe and take penguin steps.

In the movie “March of the Penguins” the penguins took tiny baby steps as they shuffled across the frozen ground of Antarctica. Their steps are tiny but with their focus and commitment they successfully reach their final destination over 100 miles away.

Changing careers is also a journey. Sometimes you can run, sometimes you can walk, and sometimes (like when you’re feeling overwhelmed) the only way you move forward is by shuffling along and taking penguin steps.

Meaghan is in a similar situation. She has successfully assessed all of her experience, strengths and successes, and has determined the type of work she wants to be doing in her next career move. Now, she is assessing the job market to determine the industry that most excites her.

However, she shared with me that didn’t get very far with last week’s assignment of checking company websites, on-line job postings, business periodicals and industry magazines to find those industries and companies she’d most like to work in – because she was feeling overwhelmed.

My recommendation was to break down the assignment into smaller bite-sized chunks (think penguin steps.) So we took out a piece of paper and scribbled out four columns which we titled: industry, company, job role and personal contact.

Through a few coaching questions, Meaghan tackled the 1st column which was “industry.” She was able to quickly define two distinct industries that really excited her – education and food sustainability. This was a great start! She was breaking through mental roadblocks and seeing two different industries where she knew she could thrive!

Next, she quickly identified a couple of companies within each of those industries that she’d like to explore career opportunities. Then, we discussed job roles that she would be qualified for within each of those companies and industries. Also, she thought of a few contacts in her personal network that could potentially provide support.

By breaking up the step into smaller tasks, Meaghan was able to break through the clutter and roadblocks in her mind, and move forward in identifying possibilities to a career that would motivate and inspire her!

Thinking back on my own personal career, I made several job changes and I remember feeling overwhelmed just like Meaghan. Mostly, it was due to fear. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of the unknown. But what pulled me through was knowing that if other professionals could be happy in their career, then I could do, too!

By looking at a career change as a “process” and then breaking up the process into smaller-sized tasks, it allowed me to take bold steps towards a new career – even if some of them were only penguin steps!

Meaghan’s Assignment this Week
In my book, Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand, one of my strategies for transitioning into a meaningful and purposeful career is to define the industry and job role of where you want to be. This becomes part of your career blueprint (i.e. North Star) in helping you transition into an inspiring career.

Meaghan’s assignment this week is to research a variety of industries and companies, and then complete her spreadsheet with a list of those that would excite her, as well as the job role for each industry and company listed that defines how she could potentially bring value to the organization.

By assessing the current job market and identifying job roles that are right for her, Meaghan is getting one step closer to identifying a more meaningful and purposeful career.

PARADE Update: Wanting More Than Just a Job

PARADE Update: Wanting More Than Just a Job


Focus your energy on those jobs you really want!

Meaghan had a terrific break-through this week! She was able to identify that even though she met all the requirements in a job posting that her friend had sent to her – it was not a job that she actually wanted. So she made the decision – not to apply. (loud gasp!)

I know what you’re thinking… as a Career Coach, aren’t I supposed to be encouraging Meaghan to apply for jobs? Well, yes, but my role with Meghan (as defined by her) is to help her reinvent her career into a job that she actually enjoys.

I asked her how it made her feel to not apply for a job that she’s highly qualified for, and she said “empowering.” Since she completed Step #1 in my 4-step process, she now has the knowledge and understanding of what she needs in her new career to be fulfilled, challenged and inspired. In other words, Meghan now has her own job requirements! (Sing it, Sister!!)

This is a huge milestone when it comes to reinventing your career because so many times throughout the process we’re faced with a fork in the road. Turn right and you’ll go down the very familiar career path where you’re in a cycle of being in qualified yet unfulfilling and uninspiring jobs. Turn left and you’re faced with unchartered territory of changing industries, job roles or professional goals – which can be new and exciting, yet make even the most experienced professionals feel anxious and afraid.

The fact that Meghan has chosen to reinvent herself in a new career in unchartered territory and feels EMPOWERED is huge!

I remember one of the times I felt most empowered in my own career was when I turned down the opportunity for a 2nd job interview. At the time, I was in between jobs with no other potential offers in sight. I had just come out of a cycle of jobs working for a string of what I considered to be poor managers.

After my 1st job interview with this particular hiring manager, my stomach was in knots, my throat had a big lump in it and I couldn’t sleep. I realized that what was keeping me awake was not the fact that I was out of a job – it was the idea of working for that particular hiring manager. He had the same traits as some of my previous managers and I knew that I’d be frustrated and unhappy working for him. In other words, I didn’t want to leave one sinking ship for another sinking ship – even if that was my only potential offer at the time.

I sent the hiring manager a thank-you but no thank-you note, and then focused all my energy on identifying my own job requirements and finding the right job for me. Two months later, I was in my dream job!

I’m not sure if the universe sends us our right job because we’re clear on what we want, or if the right jobs have always been there and we missed them because our focus was scattered and we didn’t see it. But what I do know for sure is that when me and my clients get a clear focus on defining our job requirements, and then focus all our energy on getting that job – it works!

When you have the commitment and enough money in the bank to be able to explore where your passion is, what your strengths are, what kind of responsibilities excite you, and where all of those intersect with today’s job market – that’s when you’re going to hit gold. Meaghan’s Assignment this Week
The next step for Meaghan is to assess today’s job market and identify which jobs are right for her. She needs to research company websites, on-line job postings, business periodicals, and industry magazines to find job openings that excite her. Now that she’s put a stake in the sand to identify her job requirements, I’m excited to see where that takes her. 🙂