There is something very special about seeing a person who, with caring, knowledgeable guidance, takes a long look in the “self-assessment mirror,” rises up with a confident smile and says, “Aha! Now I know what I want my education, my job, my career, my life to be about. I know my next move.”
Such a unique quality of experience – “The Aha! Experience” – comes from a balance of dream and expectation, vision and daily habits, ability and desire, self-awareness and social understanding, an attitude of courage and decisive action. It comes from recognizing that learning and work are not something you get; they are something you do based on who you want to be. I have seen it happen.
Most of my attention in this blog is from the perspective of my role as a Business Coach. Although I don’t write on the subject that often here, I have been a Career Coach for more than 20 years now. I’ve helped thousands of people find jobs and advance in their careers, including many people facing significant obstacles to employment. Starting with today’s blog, I will be sharing some insights, from time to time, which have been gained over the course of my career, and learned from the wisdom and experience of many of the people I have helped.
Of course, you need to know where you are now to get to where you want to go. Otherwise, you end up bouncing around in your “career” much like a pinball bounces around a pinball machine – you remain constantly at the mercy of outside forces.
A few basic questions
So you might as well gain more control now, regardless of where you are in your career. Following are a few basic questions to ask yourself as you begin a career transition or job search, followed by some keys to a successful career transition.
- Do you know what kind of work you want to do? Why?
- Do you know what kind of work you like to do? Why?
- Do you know what kind of work you are good at doing? How?
- Do you know what you want to be (when you “grow up”)? Why?
Thinking about the following questions may also be helpful to you:
- What changes do you expect in the next few years? Why?
- What personal changes would you like to achieve this year? Why?
- What personal changes do you want to achieve in the next 3-5 years? Why?
Key Steps to a Successful Career Transition:
- Know your skills. Be able to describe your skills on paper and in person. Be able to give examples of situations where you have used these skills, how you used them and the results you achieved.
- Know the kind of work you want to do. Have a clear objective, but more oblique than an occupational title. Be able to describe your skill sets, tasks and activities in which you excel, interests, and goals.
- Have a plan. Know where you are now, where you want to be and how you will get there. Know what you are looking for and how to look. Spend a scheduled number of hours each week looking. Get one or two interviews a day. Know the steps you can take to achieve your goals.
- Know how your skills match employer expectations.
- Know how most people get hired.
- Understand the REAL purpose of resumes and applications.
- Understand the REAL meaning behind interview questions.
- Make a good impression. Do well in interviews. Be competitive. Treat your job search as a full-time job. Always be prepared to meet someone new. Your next employer could be in front of you in line at the supermarket!
- Follow up and thank people for their time, the information they gave you or the job they offer you!
- Keep improving your skills and developing new ones.
- Be useful by helping others. Service is the key to success.