Do you feel stuck in an unhappy job or are looking to rejoin the workforce after some time off but feel unsure of what career is the right one? Read on for this updated on my classic and proven three step plan on finding your way. I'll also link to a FREE video on "How to Get Unstuck".
I can tell you from personal experience that it is easy to become complacent, whether in a career that you are decent or good at, that pays the bills or that just is okay. I also understand, no matter if you are working or not, that at the end of the day you may feel a little empty, and that as the years go by you begin to feel a lot lost - lost from those idealistic days of school when the world was your oyster. Well now is the time to break out of the comfort zone and find that dream career of yours.
Now, what if you don't know what career is the right one for you? It is very common to feel so lost that you don't know what your next move should be. Well here is a tried, tested and true way (see classycareergirl.com and Career Leader Assessment) to figure all that out using me and my story as an example.
As a child what were you interested in? Your core interests (not hobbies!) don't usually change too much as you get older. Which means that this is the key to find a fulfilling career. Maybe you used to love taking things apart to see how they worked, or anything to do with numbers. Maybe you were constantly making up stories or taking care of animals.
For me, I always loved helping and coaching people. In class I was always the one who was paired with a struggling child so that I could help them improve their grades. I also loved helping people figure out their lives and was the go-to person for family and friends to help them find their way.
When I was reflecting on my interests this, I looked at where I found the most joy and fulfillment in my job as a Recruiter and I noticed that the times I spent providing advice on careers (job search, resumes, interviews) was when I was happiest. And it makes sense - it is when I'm really helping them beyond just the transaction of if they fit this job and it is giving them the knowledge and tools to figure out their careers.
What motivates you? Your motivations can fluctuate as you mature and as your life changes. So think about what is most important right now. Is it job recognition, location, money, a prestigious job title/company? These change as your life changes - a family usually is one of the biggest impacts on motivations!
I really only have one motivation right now - job flexibility. I have two kids (Nolan, 6 and Abby, 4) who are in school and a husband with a career that requires him to commute. So the flexibility to work from home is paramount to me. The great thing is I can help people during times that make the most sense for them - like in the evenings, while still being there to get my kids off of the school bus.
What are you good at? You can ask your friends, your boss, colleagues. You can also look at any previous performance reviews, or see if there are any patterns in what people are complimenting you on. Skills are things that don't change (most soft skills) and things that you can build upon and learn (hard skills).
Looking at the skills I've developed throughout my life and career I have seen some patterns. As a recruiter, I don't even know how many resumes and LinkedIn profiles I've screened, but can estimate that it is in the tens of thousands. I interview people every day - over the phone and in person asking all the different types of interview questions there are. I am a good listener who is able to quickly get to know a person since I am highly empathetic. And not to toot my own horn, I am able to translate a person in my writing so that they come alive on paper.
So combining my interests, motivations and skills led me to take this leap - freelance career coaching. I couldn't be happier with this decision.
What led me to finally breaking out of my own complacent bubble was that this past spring my grandfather passed away and while I was mourning him I realized one of the things he taught me was to never to late to embark on a new adventure. He did all these amazing things in his life - including white water rafting and paragliding in his 80's - to life it to the fullest. I wasn't. I was going with the flow in a job that suited my skills and my motivation of flexible work but I wasn't paying any attention to my interests. But using the above three step plan, it was obvious to me what I needed to do. And yes it was scary to put myself out there with the risk of failure but I knew I would regret it if I didn't.
So whether you are new into your career, a stay at home mom, or someone with only 5-10 years of working years left, it is never too late to find your way to a fulfilling job.
To watch a free training (less than 15 minutes!) of me walking you through "How to Get Unstuck"
I’m obsessed with networking. Mostly because I know how valuable it is, but also because I just don’t like to do it.
It’s a total love/hate relationship.
Love because I’ve gotten so many opportunities from ALL forms of networking. Hate because I wish networking wasn’t so important.
So I’m always on the look out for networking ideas that suit my introvert self but that work. Which is how I came across Michelle Warner’s Networking System. She developed it based off a networking course she took in her MBA program and uses it to build her businesses through the creation of a referral network.
I saw some amazing potential in this system immediately, the same night that I heard about it I told my clients about it. They needed this in their lives.
But I also knew that it wasn’t perfect for job seekers, so I worked on tweaking it to make it more relevant. I wanted it to be easy, push us a little out of our comfort zone and take almost no time at all.
Once I had it all figured out, I wanted to get it out to the world. So I hosted the Networking Challenge over in the Career Networking Group on Facebook. I went Live each day to talk about the day’s challenge, I posted ideas and sample emails (come join the group to get them).
It all boiled down to this:
5 days. 5 minutes. Advocates Galore.
Monday: Be Thankful
On Monday, we sent out emails to say “thank you”. We did this to old colleagues, managers or even someone we didn’t know.
We told them why we were thankful and how their advice/tool/resource had a positive impact on our careers.
Tuesday: Offer Help
This day was about generating good will and getting comfortable emailing. One thing I’ve noticed in my years in recruitment and career coaching is that saying yes and offering help always yields positive results.
Plus, a common thought that prevents or scares us off from networking is the thought that the person on the other end will feel like we are asking too much or being a burden. But by offering help, we take that fear away.
We offered help to new grads, other job seekers, sending information/articles and even connecting people.
LinkedIn networking is important. It tells the algorithm that you are active (making it like you more) plus it increases your network and name familiarity.
Now this day wasn’t about easy engagement, just hitting like or commenting on a friend’s post on LinkedIn.
It was seeing a post, having something to say but feeling a little sick at the notion of it. It’s about being scared to do it but doing it anyway. That’s a great habit to develop with networking.
Thursday: Ask for Help
On day 4, we pushed ourselves a little bit more. We chose someone we know (friend, colleague or old manager) and sent them an email asking for some of their time. A chance to reconnect, gather some information and ask for advice.
Why this works? When we’ve lost touch with someone we are no longer in their “recency bias” for when new opportunities pass them by. This is a time to remind them of who you are and tell them about what you want at this point in your career.
Friday: Be Bold
The last day of the week is about pushing ourselves even more, it's a culmination of the entire week. It’s very similar to Thursday, except we are reaching out to people we DON’T know. We looked at people who work where we want to work or in jobs that we want to work in.
We crafted an email that asked for a few minutes of their time so that we can learn more about they do. Not asking for a job, just asking for information. This helps us create a network of people who can support us find that RIGHT career for us.
Rinse and Repeat.
I recommend doing this every week. Carve out 5 minutes in your calendar each day and commit to it. It’s going to create SO MANY opportunities for you. You’ll have a powerful network that gives you access to that Hidden Job Market. You’ll have mentors and advocates that want to see you succeed.
Don’t forget, join the group to get support, the sample emails and more tips on how this will change your career success.
Things are changing, rapidly. We’re all on this roller coaster ride that isn’t fun at all. Our lives have been heavily impacted, especially our careers and our work.
The job market has been impacted just as much and the future has us living in the unknown right now. For anyone like me, that unknown is terrifying. It leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious and worried.
So I went digging into finding some answers to remove some of that unknown quality and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. This article isn’t anything “written in stone” but just a collection of insights about the marketplace that will leave you feeling a little surer of what’s to come.
First, let’s break down the immediate impact this crisis has had on the marketplace, especially the organizations and how they have reacted. Jenny Hargreaves over at tellent did an amazing job breaking this down. She noted that most organizations fell into 1 of 3 areas:
1. Ruin: these are the companies that are falling apart. They may be declaring bankruptcy, shutting down or on the brink of it happening.
2. Dormant: these companies were shocked and they are unclear of how this will impact them. They’ve entered a “wait and see” approach by having a hiring freeze, issuing temporary layoffs, having really scaled back on their goals and the staff needed to accomplish it. They anticipate and can survive this for 3-6 months and after that there is some uncertainty.
3. Hiring: These are the companies that are expanding and growing during this time. While all industries may see some growth, here is a list of industries that are experiencing expansion:
The anticipation is that all of these will continue to grow with the thought of 3 waves of Covid with social distancing measures needed for each, so we would expect this expansion to last 18 months -2 years.
Now not every department within these industries will grow. Some thoughts I have on the departments that will be important:
1. Risk Management & Cyber Security (obvious reasons)
2. Human Resources (unlike 2008, HR has saved the day for many organizations),
4. Communications (2nd most sought after talent right now)
5. Marketing (for pivots – but will be short lived, there is expectation that some lay offs may happen once we are done)
Some of the departments that have been streamlined are Project Management (in the short term and then will come back), Sales, Marketing and Administrative.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
So if you are looking for a job right now or will be in the near future, what are some of the actions you can take?
1. Explore the list of growing industries and examine your skill set. What skills do you have already that can be used?
2. Dig into the companies on this list to see who has a history of remote work. They are the ones we really want to target as they would’ve been able to pivot during this time a lot quicker and easier. All they had to focus on was the pandemic. Companies not set up had to divide their attention between setting up their workforce to work from home PLUS the pandemic.
3. Research and get familiar with the technologies that make working from home a lot easier. When applicable, update your resume and LinkedIn to showcase them.
4. Speaking of your marketing documents, focus on your experiences that involved TRANSFORMATION. Either transformation that you led or where a part of. Outline how you can make the lives of these companies and the people within it easier.
5. Networking is always the best thing you can do for your career. But this is especially true right now. People are more generous in spirit which means that they are more willing to agree to an online networking meeting. For my clients, a lot of great networking is happening right now. Speaking of, join my Career Networking Group!
Hope exists. The marketplace is going to change, that’s a fact. But when we focus on thinking about the opportunity that this time is giving us the we feel hopeful and we take actions that lead us to those great results we want to see.
If you are struggling with this right now, schedule a free strategy call. Let’s talk about your struggle right now, your vision for your future and how we can get you there.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
The Secrets to finding a job you love
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