Tag Archives: Career advice

How to Change a Career Not a Job

How to Change a Career Not a Job

Career change is possible if you know how

No surprise that in this economy more and more people are toying around with the idea of changing careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; for others, it may be a necessity because their industries are shifting, shrinking, or becoming extinct. The question my clients ask with more and more frequency is how to go about it. Regrettably, though, there’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer, because each situation is unique. In other words, no two people’s circumstances are the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client; the answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course counsel, guide, and support the process.

Let’s make sure we understand that I’m not referring to a job change. A career change is a radical change–for example, an executive with a finance background who buys a restaurant, or a manager at AT&T, a very well-known communications company, who shifts into managing an adult community or a nursing home. Those are real-life examples of people who were successful at making those changes; I know them personally. So, the questions are, What drives the process? and What does it take to come out as a winner?

Now let’s agree from the beginning that a career change involves significant risk. Not all career changes work out well. Decisions of this nature have at least two major components: the intellectual and the emotional. The emotional part involves the pain that a person endures and that strongly motivates and impels the person toward willingness to take a risk. The other component is the intellectual part, which involves, say, the person’s need–or desire–to make more money or the person’s disappointment with the industry, or with the nature of the current job, or with an intolerable boss who is apparently not leaving soon.

At the core of the job-changing decision-making process are three questions that require concrete answers:

  • What are the job-changing individual’s values?
  • What does the job-changing individual have to offer a potential employer?
  • What does the job-changing individual expect in return?

Values have to do with one’s feelings about family, recognition, monetary rewards, security, promotions, belonging, commitment, loyalty, and so forth. The answer to the question regarding what one has to offer will be an analysis of skills–such as marketing, presentation, sales, research, and data analysis–and then identification of whether one has the traits that support those skills: is the person aggressive, independent, articulate, persuasive, logical, visionary?

The remaining issue deals with what the person wants in return. This touches on environmental and cultural factors. For example, does the person like to work in small organizations or big ones? How does the person feel about leadership styles, corporate politics, company reputation, work/life balance, and flextime for new parents, for example? And how about critical matters like salary, health coverage, and investment programs versus the minimum levels of compensation and benefits needed?

As you can see, a career change is loaded with complexities. My advice is to consult someone who is equipped to guide you as you navigate this maze. And a challenging maze it is indeed.

How to Detect the Interviewer’s Personality

How to detect the interviewer’s personality is not an easy task. During all of my corporate working years, my subordinates and associates heard me say, “Nobody impresses me the first 60 days on the job.” I must have said that dozens of times because I truly believe the thought. Basically, via that sentence I was expressing the concept that the impression one makes in the job interview doesn’t always pan out in real life on the job after, say, 60 days, once reality begins to set in. At times, the real person appears to be very different from the one that made certain impressions during the interview process. I am a career coach focusing on the specialty of the interviewing process. I teach clients by practicing mock interviews with them so they can become appealing to cadres of interviewers. Those interviewers of course have various personalities and wide-ranging needs, and a candidate that is one size fits all will not fare well without being able to assess and then adapt to the interviewer’s style and interests. For example, the interests of the hiring manager are different from (1) those of the human resources interviewer and (2) those of potential future peers and (3) those of the hiring manager’s own supervisor. How can you find out the style of the interviewer? Many of us have developed through the years an intuition for assessing people we talk with. Some of us are better at such assessment than others, and some of us are not so good at it. For those who feel challenged in this area, I prepared a short video, which is available via my LinkedIn profile under the Summary section. In this video, I describe four types of people who conduct interviews. Of course, no one type is pure, with only one type of personality; we each have in us a combination of personalities, but most of us have a dominant personality. Once you read the person interviewing you, the learned adaptation should come automatically. For example, if the interviewer is an executive interested only in brevity and the bottom line, then a candidate’s long-windedness is a prescription for failure. If the interviewer is the friendly type, feels talkative, and likes working in teams with others and a job candidate is too brief or focuses exclusively on self, which would not work out either. Can you emulate a chameleon? Please don’t misunderstand my intention. I am certainly not one who admires an insincere or fake personality. For me that would be an instant turnoff. But my suggestion for you is to learn how to change your communication style so as to adapt to or accommodate a variety of people and situations. In other words, a story can be told by emphasizing extensive and minute details in order to be thorough, or it can be summarized briefly and get quickly to the punch line. So, open your eyes and ears early into the interview, make an assessment of the person sitting on the other side of the desk, and respond in that interviewer’s style. Such a skill will bring you much closer to being liked—and hopefully, to receiving the job offer.

I wonder about his personality

How to detect the interviewer’s personality is not an easy task. During all of my corporate working years, my subordinates and associates heard me say, “Nobody impresses me the first 60 days on the job.” I must have said that dozens of times because I truly believe the thought. Basically, via that sentence I was expressing the concept that the impression one makes in the job interview doesn’t always pan out in real life on the job after, say, 60 days, once reality begins to set in. At times, the real person appears to be very different from the one that made certain impressions during the interview process.

I am a career coach focusing on the specialty of the interviewing process. I teach clients by practicing mock interviews with them so they can become appealing to cadres of interviewers. Those interviewers of course have various personalities and wide-ranging needs, and a candidate that is one size fits all will not fare well without being able to assess and then adapt to the interviewer’s style and interests. For example, the interests of the hiring manager are different from (1) those of the human resources interviewer and (2) those of potential future peers and (3) those of the hiring manager’s own supervisor.

How can you find out the style of the interviewer?

Many of us have developed through the years an intuition for assessing people we talk with. Some of us are better at such assessment than others, and some of us are not so good at it. For those who feel challenged in this area, I prepared a short video, which is available via my LinkedIn profile under the Summary section. In this video, I describe four types of people who conduct interviews. Of course, no one type is pure, with only one type of personality; we each have in us a combination of personalities, but most of us have a dominant personality. Once you read the person interviewing you, the learned adaptation should come automatically. For example, if the interviewer is an executive interested only in brevity and the bottom line, then a candidate’s long-windedness is a prescription for failure. If the interviewer is the friendly type, feels talkative, and likes working in teams with others and a job candidate is too brief or focuses exclusively on self, which would not work out either.

Can you emulate a chameleon?

Please don’t misunderstand my intention. I am certainly not one who admires an insincere or fake personality. For me that would be an instant turnoff. But my suggestion for you is to learn how to change your communication style so as to adapt to or accommodate a variety of people and situations. In other words, a story can be told by emphasizing extensive and minute details in order to be thorough, or it can be summarized briefly and get quickly to the punch line. So, open your eyes and ears early into the interview, make an assessment of the person sitting on the other side of the desk, and respond in that interviewer’s style. Such a skill will bring you much closer to being liked—and hopefully, to receiving the job offer.

Do You Want a Job or the Right Job?

Do You Want a Job or the Right Job?

You want a great job and not any job.

Do you want a job or the right job?  This a great question.  As a career coach, I talk mostly with two kinds of people: employed or in transition to another job. Sadly, people in both groups have one thing in common: most of them are unhappy. For those in transition, the unhappiness is self-explanatory, but why such a high level of unhappiness for those who are lucky to have an employer?

Several recent articles cover this subject. People who still work spend longer hours at it, and they face higher levels of stress. There’s no question that employee satisfaction is at an all-time low and that it has an impact on people’s health as well as relationships with family and friends.

A study found that in the United States, 55% of employees were not satisfied with their jobs! This is the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded, and the trend toward such dissatisfaction has strengthened steadily in the past 25 years. That means that unhappiness in the workplace is not directly related to the current economic downturn.

Unhappiness at work is not isolated. Unfortunately, it affects not only the unhappy people themselves but also those surrounding them. A recent Swedish study found a direct link between one’s relationship with one’s manager and the impact that that relationship has on one’s health: men who had toxic supervisors increased their risk of heart attack by 50%. A different study revealed that people of average height who felt unhappy at work added as much as five pounds to their weight.

A different, long-term study dealing with the impact of unhappiness at work confirmed that there is a strong correlation between one’s job satisfaction and one’s life satisfaction. Clearly, our thoughts, our emotions, and our performance on the job affect our behaviors away from the job and thus are affecting our loved ones.

What a job seeker can learn from all this is that it is of utmost importance to find out about a company’s culture, about the work conditions there, and as much as possible about the person one will report to before accepting the job. The sad—but practical—part is that even if one gets a great job at a great company with a great boss, in today’s economy things change so fast, and many of those changes are totally out of the control of the employee. So, what does one need so that work life harmonizes relationships and doesn’t destroy them? Luck—lots of it.