10 Career In Transition Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb
In my job placement business these days we see an increasing number of applicants who are facing a career in transition in their professional career. Their long-time job has disappeared, perhaps their employer went out of business, their job was deemed unnecessary with advances in technology, or perhaps their employer did not have the resources to bring them back from a layoff.
Whatever the reason for their unemployment they need to find work that can use their expertise. Sometimes they have choices, other times they need to get retrained. It reminds me of a quote attributed to Yogi Berra:
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
Are You Expert At Your Career In Transition?
Most of the applicants walking through our doors just don’t have the expertise required to prosper in long-term unemployment. Their expertise is in other occupational areas – accounting, management, technology, engineering, or project management – but not the career in transition role of unemployment.
They do, however, have a series of talents, values, and behaviors that are unique to them – and with those attributes they have the ability to use a process to find their new career. Yes, a process that has a beginning – and an end. They have the ability to make choices – after all, there are at least 2 forks in the road.
Each time we meet with applicants we help them through a process of self-assessment. We help them to understand their certainty, significance, and their connection to who they were, to what they are now during their career in transiton, and to what they can be. We also help them to look at how their talents, values, behaviors, and skill expertise can be utilized in a variety of occupational roles. In essence, we help them identify what they are great at – and, as Jay Niblick might opine – what they stink at.
So You’re In Transition – Now What?
Before we have this discussion, let’s face up to the one responsible for your transition. Who created their transition? Who is to blame – or to take credit? I find a number of applicants blaming themselves, their former employer, or the economy – so I ask them a simple question – Is your cup one-half full, or is it one-half empty? If they’re going to be successful in transitioning to a new career they need to move over to the one-half full, optimistic side.
Develop The Plan
Here are ten steps we work with each applicant who is in transition. This isn’t rocket science, but, if these folks can follow the prior steps of successful self-assessment and establishing an optimistic outlook, they stand much better chances to be successful in their transition.
- Résumé development – there are many ways to develop the résumé. Consider embodying your positive self-assessment, a functional and chronological listing of your expertise, and a clear statement of your career objective.
- Identify the strength of your network – and leverage it. Do you want to be 1 of 300 job applicants to every position posted online? Or do you want to use the network you’ve developed from years of experiences to help you land your new career?
- Explore the Job Market – Identify your target industry, job class, geography. Simply put. Research. Use the Internet’s search engine capabilities to identify companies you would work for, what their needs are, and how you can help them resolve their challenges.
- Set a goal – time, working capital, and monthly burn, significant interactions (companies, network, and recruiter). Set the goals, write them down, and challenge yourself to success.
- Physical health: maintain great health, set an exercise program and follow it.
- How much time each day, each week, and each month will you allocate to your goals, and accomplish them? This is your new full time job. Get into the routine.
- How will you measure the accountability quotient? When will you know that you’re hitting your targets: job offer, interviews, losing weight, or sleep-filled nights?
- Where do you need assistance? You may be able to go it alone and perhaps not. Be realistic and identify where you need help.
- Implement the plan and measure the results – daily, just like when you’re working.
- Seek feedback from trusted advisors – your family, clergy, career coach, and mentors in your personal or professional network.
OK, one last question, when all is said and done:
When you saw the choices in the road, did you make a decision?