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: 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. 🙂

Do Not Judge Yourself Against All The Other Industry Experts

When it comes to finding your signature talents, do not judge yourself against all the other industry experts. That bar is too high and not the intention of this concept.

 

Let me share a story. When I was working for a regional retail chain in Phoenix, my job included writing and producing the company’s radio and TV commercials. After two years, the senior managers asked if I could write and produce a corporate video to train our field team on a new product line. I said, “Absolutely!” and immediately went back into my office and started hyperventilating. I had no idea how to write and produce a corporate video. Luckily, I had producer friends who walked me through the steps. Within one year, our company’s suppliers started hiring me to write and produce their corporate videos.

 

I continued producing corporate videos for two more years and was offered a job at a global high-tech company as a worldwide communications manager. Even though I had no experience in high tech, in fact, at that time I barely knew how to program my cell phone, I decided to make the transition from retail to high tech. I went from being a confident, successful marketing professional in the retail industry, to being a tiny, little fish in a humongous ocean of about 90,000 engineering, high-tech fanatics. It was intimidating, to say the least.

 

I wanted to build my credibility, visibility, and personal brand with my network of peers and senior managers. But how could I do it? I decided to anchor on one of my signature talents – being a corporate video expert.

 

My producer and director friends would laugh me under the table to hear I was positioning myself as a “video expert”. Of course, it’s only in my mind that I used this term. I never said it out loud, especially since the company had its own corporate video department full of highly qualified producers and directors. But, I knew my videos were pretty good and I could share this knowledge and teach other department managers to create their own internal videos – which is exactly what I did. By bringing attention to one of my signature talents, I became the “go to” person for producing internal videos. I quickly provided value to an extended network of department managers, thus raising my credibility and personal brand within the company.

Are You Good Enough to be an Expert?

I was giving a career advancement seminar in Chicago when a participant raised her hand and said she couldn’t do the exercise (identifying your signature talents) because she didn’t have any signature talents. This shocked me because I had co-presented with her a couple of years earlier and was amazed by her knowledge on the topic, which was event planning. I responded by telling her that from my opinion, clearly, she was an expert in event planning. But her response was that she really didn’t view herself as an expert in that area.

 

If you are also having difficulty identifying your signature talents and you have more than five years of professional work experience, I have two thoughts for you. First, many times during our career we find ourselves in a negative environment such as having conflict with a manager, colleague, or client. And if you’re in a negative environment right now, you may be hearing some inner voice tell you that you are not good enough to be an expert in anything. If that’s the case, then quiet down that voice. I’m here to tell you – you DO have expertise that benefits your employer and clients – or else they wouldn’t have hired you!

New Year, New Career!

NOW is the time to take charge of your career! What career goals do you want to accomplish this year? Do you want to change companies, change job roles within your current company, ask for a raise or land that promotion? Maybe you are just looking to expand your sphere of influence. Figuring out WHAT you want to accomplish is the first step in making it happen!

 

What are some of your career goals for 2010?

Networking the RIGHT Way to Further Your Career

People can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and introduce you to potential employers or clients. Whoever said business isn’t personal must have been someone who sits in their cube all day. Surrounding yourself with the “right” people – career influencers – and knowing how to leverage that support system (networking) can skyrocket your career into another dimension.

 

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

 

The message you want to send is NOT, “I’m someone who’s looking for a job.” But instead, you want to be sending the message that you’re a successful professional who’s resourceful, well connected, and who has some similar interests as they do. You want them to realize that you are someone that THEY should get to know!

 

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

 

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

 

Once the door is open, then talk about some projects or teams that you’ve worked on that have been successful.

 

One thing that works really well for me, is offering to share tips, insight or lessons I learned about the project. I find that by doing this, people who appreciate these successes will naturally gravitate towards me. And it provides the foundation for a long-term relationship.

 

If you’re looking for a new job, then go ahead and drop a hint that you’re looking for “other opportunities.” And believe me, when you use this simple step-by-step formula, if they know of any opportunities they’re going to let you know!

 

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

 

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

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Who Are Your Career Influencers?

As you may know, I’m a career coach who is also driving my own personal career. I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible successes while I was in the radio, television, advertising and high tech industries, but I’ve also had my fair share of career setbacks and roadblocks the size of Mt. Everest that I had to blast through.

 

Through it all, I’ve learned that one thing is for certain. Leaving my career in the hands of someone else like a manager, client, or even a company is a career killer!

 

So I changed my mindset and my actions. For the past few years, my mission has been that I drive my own career, and with this new mission came BIG RESULTS. I’ve been more satisfied, more fulfilled, and more successful in my career. Case in point, I was thrilled to receive my latest promotion a few days ago!

 

So over the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you my BIGGEST CAREER STRATEGIES that I personally use to drive my own career, and for this issue, it’s: The nitty gritty of networking strategically.

 

People are the jet fuel behind your career. People can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and introduce you to potential employers or clients. Whoever said business isn’t personal must have been someone who sits in their cube all day. Surrounding yourself with the “right” people and knowing how to leverage that support system can skyrocket your career into another dimension.

 

You’ll have more career opportunities and job security when you have a strong professional network in place of what I call – career influencers. These are people inside the company or industry where you work who could potentially advance your career, or open doors to new opportunities.

 

Who’s in your circle? Think about your current professional network. Are you connected with career influencers from each of the following four categories?

  1. Those who can evangelize your talents and successes to others.
  2. Those who currently hold, or have held, a position you want.
  3. Those who could teach you something new.
  4. Those who, just by being associated with them in some way, can strengthen your personal brand.

Think about your current and previous managers, colleagues, and clients. Look for those who could provide guidance, expertise, or information that not only helps you succeed in your current role, but could potentially help you get to where you REALLY want to go.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Taking Care of the Big Rocks First

Previously I talked about making the commitment to take care of the big rocks first. If you don’t take care of your big rocks, or big initiatives FIRST, then your day will fill up with a bunch of tiny insignificant tasks. And when that happens, you simply won’t have any time to fit in your biggest priorities, and you’ll be left working on less meaningful projects that leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled.

 

For many people, the question is HOW to take care of the big rocks. Here are a few tips suggestions on how to fill your schedule with your biggest priorities first (your big rocks), so that you’re able to work on more meaningful, exciting, and challenging projects, and take off some of those insignificant and “less filling” projects.

 

Pull out your calendar and start looking ahead to next week. Ask yourself, “What do I need to accomplish in the next 7 days?” Begin by scheduling 1-3 hour chunks of uninterrupted time you need to work on a client presentation, proposal, report, campaign, etc. Then, take a second pass and fill in those smaller yet still important tasks that will take you an hour to complete such as meeting with a customer, making progress on a project, or preparation time for an important meeting. Finally, block off time to complete the smaller initiatives such as doing some on-line research, filling out an expense report, sending out an update memo to your team or senior managers, etc.

 

Now, I’m not suggesting that you just stop showing up for meetings and working on assignments given to you by someone else, but perhaps you can start negotiating your time and projects. Maybe you can say to someone, “I’m sorry that I can’t give you an hour tomorrow, but how about if we meet for 15-minutes, and then if you still need more time we’ll carve out 30-minutes next week.” You’re setting the tone that your time is important and that you have your own set of priorities, but that you’re still a team player.

 

Be protective of your precious time and energy. Negotiate your time so that you can work on those highly valued, highly visible projects that you actually enjoy doing. This doesn’t mean taking on MORE projects and responsibilities while KEEPING the same projects and responsibilities that you already have.

 

Negotiate with managers or clients so that you can get off those lower valued projects, and instead devote your time to projects that allow you to flex your professional muscles, stretch yourself in a new direction, or work on those projects that excite you!

 

You will find that by implementing this simple strategy of owning your schedule, establishing your priorities, and putting your big rocks FIRST, you’ll be more in control of your career, feel more energized, and able to drive your career on the fast track!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

TIME MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: Drive your schedule, drive your career!

Do you feel undervalued, or bored with your assignments or projects? Then maybe there’s a way you can juggle your calendar to work on more meaningful projects. No, I don’t mean taking on MORE work in addition to your current assignments. I mean juggling your calendar and learning how to negotiate your time so that you’re able to work on more meaningful, exciting, and challenging projects, and taking off some of those insignificant and “less filling” projects.

 

Take a look at your calendar. Is it filled with meetings and projects driven by other people that are their priorities? Or is it filled with projects and initiatives that are your priorities?

 

The key to having an enriching and satisfying career to work on projects that excite, challenge and motivate you. And the first step in doing that is taking ownership of your calendar. You own your schedule – not your manager, nor your clients, nor your partner, nor your kids. It is your schedule, and yours alone to manage, juggle, and prioritize.

 

One of the best career strategies I ever learned was from a teacher who taught me to prioritize my rocks. Let me explain. I was sitting in a training class thinking, “I don’t have TIME to take a class on time management.” I was leading global teams and managing high budget projects so what could I possibly learn? I was feeling overstressed, overwhelmed, and extremely frustrated that I had to waste an hour of my time to attend a training class on such a silly little topic. But something happened in that class that had a permanent effect on the way I manage both my time (and my career!), and I’ve been on the fast track ever since!

 

The instructor sat a large glass jar out on the table and started filling it with large rocks that he pulled out of a box underneath the table. After several minutes, the jar was piled high with these big rocks. Then he asked the class, “Can any more fit into the jar?” A few people said the obvious, “No”.

 

The teacher then pulled out a second box filled with little pebbles that he started dropping into the jar which filled up all the gaps between the larger rocks. Kur plunk, kur plunk, kur plunk. After a few minutes, he looked up and asked the class again, “Can any more fit into the jar?” Someone responded again with an obvious, “No.” He then reached under the table and pulled out a vase filled with sand and started pouring it into the jar filling up all of the tiny little holes.

 

By this time, I was really getting irritated with his 2nd grade analogy that you can always cram more into your schedule. But, that wasn’t his point at all. “The point is,” he said, “that you have to take care of the BIG rocks first.”

 

If you don’t take care of your big rocks, or big initiatives FIRST, then your day will fill up with a bunch of tiny insignificant tasks. And when that happens, you simply won’t have any time to fit in your biggest priorities, and you’ll be left working on less meaningful projects that leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled.

 

Make a commitment today, right now, to put your big rocks first.

 

In my next blog post I will discuss some of the career coaching resources and strategies to help you take care of your big rocks first!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Take Control of Your Career

If I asked you, “Who is controlling your career?” what would you say? You? Someone else? Nobody?

 

My biggest source of frustration in my own career came about ten years ago, when I’d been laid off because the company I was working for wasn’t doing well financially. I felt that I was at the height of my career, yet the company just laid me off. There wasn’t any notice, just a meeting with my manager, a handshake goodbye, and a check for two weeks pay.

 

My mind was swirling. My world had just been turned upside down. I felt poor.

 

After spending about 3 days in my bath robe sobbing into my bowl of corn flakes (apparently I don’t cook when I’m depressed!), I realized that I couldn’t leave my career (my career!) in the hands of someone else. Like a manager. Or a company.

 

So I began taking more control over my career. I seeked out only those companies that I admired. When I interviewed for a job, I interviewed them. I said things like, “in my next job, I’m looking for a company that…”, and “I’m very goal driven and need to work in a culture…” It wasn’t so much the words I was saying, but a mixture of having career goals, a vision, and assurance that I can do their job that often got me the job offer.

 

If your world has been turned upside down, and you need a little help getting back on your feet – then I’m here to help you.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!