Tag Archives: Job advice

Want to Change Career? What Does It Take?

Changing jobs

Want to change career? Really??

Want to Change Career?

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.

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10 Best Job Search Tips

13766035_sThe word best in the title should be interpreted as a recommendation. Please also keep in mind that job search by someone who is employed differs significantly from job search by someone who is unemployed. The latter is, typically, more motivated, the person can devote more time to it, and the unemployed job seeker’s actions should not be done covertly. This article focuses primarily on job seekers who are not currently employed.

  1. Be very focused on what you are looking for.

When looking for a job, you should think like a shopper and not a victim. A smart car buyer even before walking into the car dealership knows what car he wants, including the model, the specifications, the color, and the amount he wants to spend. Similarly, a job seeker should narrow down choices not only by title but also by what the job function entails. A job seeker can look for more than one specific job at the same time but still remain specific.

  1. Hope for the best but do prepare for the worst.

Finding the right job in today’s job market is not only challenging but also questionable in terms of its duration. Job seekers should have a fallback position in case the search becomes unreasonably prolonged.

  1. Continuously build relationships.

Sixty to 80 percent of people get their jobs by networking. The practical side of networking consists of developing relationships with people for advice, information, leads, and, hopefully, referrals. The best networkers think of the other person first. They don’t keep score regarding who owes whom, and they believe that good deeds will be reciprocated. They don’t hold back when it comes to sharing.

  1. Maximize your use of social media.

Today’s job seekers who avoid opportunities to use social media are less than competitive. Employers use social media to find potential employees, and therefore this new job-finding medium should be embraced and utilized vigorously. LinkedIn is the search tool most widely used by recruiters; Twitter and Facebook provide additional opportunities.

  1. Utilize your time and energy effectively.

Many job seekers become frustrated very quickly into the process because they have no road map to follow. They keep active driven by nervous energy but almost all the time come up empty-handed because their process is inefficient. It works best to divide time and activities into three parts: One-third should be devoted to networking and building relationships; another third, to searching and applying for jobs; and another third, to learning about their target companies and the companies’ specific needs, including culture and fit.

  1. Develop good administrative skills and use the right job search tools.

During a prolonged job search, one needs to keep good records in order to stay on top of things. Sloppy record keeping during the transition leads to further frustrations and inefficiency. And one needs to use the right tools. For example, Indeed, LinkUp, and Simply Hired could provide targeted leads.

  1. Practice mock interviewing.

How good is it to be invited for an interview but not ace it? Don’t rely on your past practices for getting a job. Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and without practicing interviewing, one has virtually no chance to compete.

  1. Have your résumé prepared by a recommended professional résumé writer.

One of the most painful mistakes the majority of job seekers make is to write their own résumés—even if those résumés have been edited by a trusted friend. Writing résumés nowadays needs not only the technical know-how to embed the right keywords in a résumé but also the talent to make the document exceptionally good.

  1. Prepare your success stories.

The interviewer sees in you a salesperson and therefore is skeptical. One of the ways to be convincing is to recite success stories.

  1. Follow up and be persistent.

A salesperson makes seven calls before finalizing a sale. Kids go to the other parent when they hear the word no. If you’re not offered the job, try to find out what went wrong, and fix it. To paraphrase Einstein, don’t perpetuate your failures by expecting different results without making changes.


In Transition? Confused? What’s Next?

free_2920672The vast majority of my career coaching involves clients who contact me while they’re feeling perplexed about their personal circumstances. About 70 percent of them have been out of work for some time, and the rest only recently became jobless. Some of them are desperate to make a change because of a difficult boss or too much pressure on the job. Can you identify with this? All of these people have one thing in common: confusion over how to go about making it happen. Most of them are adjusting their résumés but deploying the same techniques that got them jobs in the past. However, that doesn’t work in today’s extreme job market. Many ask for advice from well-meaning friends. Unfortunately, they’re only friends desiring to help but not professionals with expertise.

Regrettably, even career coaches don’t have all of the desired solutions, but they know how to go about finding them. After years of experience and dozens of clients, I became able to put together a straightforward plan that appears to be working. The material that needs to be covered during coaching sessions is vast. In addition to that, I found out from experience that it takes a minimum of three to five hours of mock interviewing for a client to get sufficient practice and become proficient at interviewing. It’s an absolute necessity to be capable of showing the hiring manager that you have not only the knowledge but also the confidence to do the job well. After all, what hiring manager sets out to hire someone who appears to be lacking confidence?

Typically, I meet with a client five times. Each session is at least two hours long, and the second hour of each is devoted to practicing mock interviews. The first session is dedicated to agreeing on career plan objectives, creating a strategy, and defining target jobs in the right salary range, geography, industry, and sector. The second session focuses on the résumé. The objective here is to make it billboardlike attractive. The résumé has to have eye appeal, contain the right keywords, and show that the candidate will deliver. By now the client possesses the right tools.

The third session focuses on job search. Together we work not only on networking techniques but also on making sure the techniques are effective and not a waste of time. At this point, we are also practicing how to overcome liabilities, and we’re developing tools to track and measure job search productivity. The fourth session is all about communication and projecting the right image verbally—both in writing and over the Internet. We wrap up the process by practicing mock negotiation techniques, acquiring the tools for working with recruiters, and learning to uncover the hidden job market.

This is career coaching in a nutshell. An actual career coaching program is rigorous and systematic and requires persistence and a lot of hard work. Given a little time, in most cases it works.