Tag: career coaching


Want more job security? Do this one simple thing.

Want more job security? Quit your job. Not an option? The next best option is to invest in career insurance.

What’s career insurance? I’ll answer that, but first let’s not just gloss over the first option.

I’m serious. If you want a guarantee of job security, then quit your job and you’ll eliminate all chances of ever losing it. Then you can become your own boss and make all the hiring and firing decisions. Including the decision to never fire yourself.

Since leaving my full-time job with benefits where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings, I’ve had more job security than ever before. I’ve been able to develop the grit and skills required to work for myself and bring in a steady stream of clients, to supplement my income at times when the stream was unsteady, and to eliminate the salary cap I had at my previous job.

Not only that, owning my own business has helped me develop skills I never would’ve developed in my previous job. This has made me more marketable for even more job opportunities if I ever decide to close my business and work for someone else again.

But, if quitting your job isn’t a feasible option for you right now, there’s still one more simple option available to give you a little more job security. Invest in career insurance.

What is career insurance?

What is career insurance? It’s basically another term for comprehensive career coaching designed to prepare you for any event that may arise in your career. This includes the expected, like a promotion, voluntary job/career change, or starting your own business. And it includes the unexpected, like a layoff or a loss of business.

Think you don’t need career insurance?  Let me share a few stories with you.

job security

Photo by Tyler B on Unsplash

The Unexpected Layoff

I’ve recently been hired by a company to provide career coaching for the employees they’re laying off. This isn’t something all companies provide their pink slip employees. So don’t assume your company will do the same for you if you get laid off. If they do, take advantage of it!!! It’s on the company’s dime and it can help you find your next opportunity much faster than trying to do it all on your own.

This particular layoff came as a total surprise to those affected by the company’s decision. Each of them have said to me, “I always thought I’d retire at this company. I love my job and the people I work with. And I had no intentions of ever leaving and never thought I would get downsized.”

Lesson #1:  Never assume you’re not at risk of losing your job. Even if your company is growing and promises to be loyal to you. Business is business and things change. If your company doesn’t provide you any outplacement services or career coaching, you may want to invest some severance money into career coaching so you can find your next opportunity quicker and learn how to negotiate a higher salary. Learning such skills will pay for any coaching expenses, and then some.

The Need for a Change

Teresa* hired me for some career coaching services because she was very unhappy in her current job due to a lot of changes in that job. She wanted to start looking for a new job and also explore the possibility of working for herself. So I got to work on helping her meet these goals.

After only three coaching sessions, Carolyn found out her current job was being eliminated. When she got the news, she felt a sense of relief that she already had (and had already paid for) a career coach and had already begun the steps to a successful job search, making the news less of a blow.

She knows our first few sessions and our remaining sessions will put her in the best possible position to find her next opportunity more quickly. She also knows the coaching will help position her for promotion by this time next year.

Lesson #2:  It’s better to already have some career insurance in place if and when an issue arises, than to not have it and wish you did. Especially if you don’t receive a good severance package.

Prepare for the Worst, and the Best

I started working with Shane* at the beginning of the summer. He chose my basic package of just four sessions which we completed at the end of July. I recently received an update from him and he had this to say,

All of my worlds have been colliding since our last session, and I’ve only been able to handle it all because of the great place we got to through our sessions. So thank you. I just had my interview for my promotion that was in the works earlier this summer. Whatever shakes out, the confidence and clarity I gained from our sessions made the interview process really rewarding.

Lesson #3:  Career coaching isn’t just for leaving your company. If you like where you work, coaching services can also help you advance in your company if that’s your goal. It can also prepare you for any career curve ball (good or bad) that may come your way.

How to Increase Your Job Security

While you have no control over your company’s decisions or the current job market, you do have control over your own career strategy. paNASH’s career coaching services help you develop a strategy to leverage your skills and market them for new opportunities, providing career insurance no matter what happens with your career.

Is it time to for you to invest in some career insurance? If not now, when? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Click here to get started.

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*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

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5 Books That Will Make a Huge Impact on Your Life and Career

I’m an avid reader, but I’m also very selective in the books I recommend to others, especially to my clients. I only recommend books that provide something tangible. Like advice that can yield actual results when appropriately applied.

Below I’m sharing with you my list of must-reads I’ve shared with my clients. Keep in mind however, to see results from these books, you have to be disciplined enough to read them and to apply what you learn.

If you don’t like reading, I suggest trying to find the audio version of each book or using a reader app on your phone that converts the book to audio. And if you don’t like spending money on books, several of my recommendations are available at your local library. I’ve included in my list how I personally obtained a copy of each book.

Enjoy!

Lori’s 5 Must-Reads

1. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Most of you have probably heard of Simon Sinek, especially if you watch a lot of TED Talks. His is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time.

Start With Why helped me refocus my business and redefine its mission. It forced me to look at why I do what I do and how to articulate my “why” to potential clients. His point is, people (including potential clients AND potential employers) don’t care what you do or even how you do it until they understand why you do it.

I recommend this book time and time again when teaching my clients how to discover their own “why” and how to develop and articulate their own unique personal and professional brand. While one of the earlier chapters in the book seems to drag on, I encourage you to push through it to the rest of the book because you’ll find it to be a great resource. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait any longer!

***Checked out from my local library***

2. Body of Work by Pamela Slim

Body of Work shows you how to make sense of all your diverse work experiences and the skills gained from them, and how to tie them all together to create a career portfolio and professional brand. This includes not just your “official” full-time job, but also your side jobs, passion projects, volunteer work, artistic creations, etc. All of those experiences can add up to future opportunities you may have never previously considered.

***Checked out from my local library***

3. Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life provides step-by-step instructions allowing you to experiment with different possible careers and roles for your life. These experiments lead to ways to design and build your life the way you want it to look at various life and career stages.

I’ve personally gone through the book myself, reading it twice and doing each exercise at least once. I choose which exercises I think would best suit my clients at their particular stage of career exploration and help guide them through those exercises. I’m also a member of the authors’ Facebook group for coaches and mentors. So, I use this book quite a bit and therefore highly recommend it!

***Purchased after originally checking out from my local library***

4. Finding True Happiness by Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

I haven’t finished this book yet, but the first half is so good I’m confident in going ahead and recommending it. However, there is a disclaimer for this book. It can get very deep into theories of philosophy, psychology, physics, metaphysics, and theology by numerous pioneers of those fields.

At times in the beginning, Finding True Happiness was a little over my head. But don’t let the scientific and academic jargon intimidate you. There is real-world understanding and application with this book, resulting in true happiness.

***Purchased in a gift shop at a monastery (also available on Amazon)***

5. Do Over by Jon Acuff

This book was actually recommended to me by one of my first clients to recommend to my other clients. It’s perfect for someone who is facing a major transition in their career, whether it be an unexpected lay-off, hitting a career ceiling, a change in role or job function, or an unexpected offer in another industry.

Do Over teaches you how to develop the four necessary elements of a successful career:  relationships, skills, character, and hustle.

***Purchased on my Kindle***

5 Free Books

In the spirit of this blog post, I’m giving away a signed copy of my Amazon #1 bestselling book Advance Your Image to the first five people who purchase my latest book, SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard ($12 + S&H).

Advance Your Image contains advice from when I worked as an image consultant, and also includes job search advice to make you stand out above the competition. Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a SUP is a 30-day devotional and 100% of the profits go to support missions in Brazil.

To purchase Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a SUP and receive a free signed copy of Advance Your Image, be one of the first five people to inbox me at lorib@yourpassioninlife.com with the subject line “Advance Your Image.” I’ll also sign the 30-day devotional for you.

Share Your Own

What are some books that have made a real impact on your life or your career success? Please list them below so others can benefit from them as well. Thanks in advance!

7 Comfortable and Easy Networking Tips for Introverts

Most people, especially introverts, find networking to be very awkward. Here are 7 tips to make networking a little easier and more comfortable.

#1. Start with who you know

Start with the people you already know and feel comfortable with. Invite them to go with you to events and ask them to introduce you to the people there they know. Be sure to take someone who’s extroverted so they can also introduce you to the new people they’ll easily meet there.

#2. Have your contacts give a “heads-up”

When friends give you the name of one of their contacts, ask them to let their contact know ahead of time you’ll be contacting him or her. This gives the person a “heads up” and it will be clear why you’re contacting him or her.

#3. Email before calling

If you’re going to make cold calls to industry people, start first by sending them an email or connecting with them on LinkedIn.

#4. Develop talking points

It’s good for you to know what you want to talk about before aimlessly engaging in conversation. Decide ahead of time which questions you want to ask and what points you want to make. Also, frame your conversation with small talk. Start and end your networking conversations with small talk, and have the middle part of it be about business. 

#5. Network during your peak time of energy

If you have more energy in the mornings, attend networking breakfasts. If evenings are your peak time of energy, go to events held after work hours. Know what works best for you. Be selective by only attending those events which work best for your energy level and what you hope to gain.

#6. Set goals and allow time to re-charge

If you know you’re usually tapped out after talking to only 3 or 4 people, then go to an event with the goal of meeting only 3 or 4 new people. Afterward, go home or to a quiet place to re-charge.

#7. Push through the discomfort

Acknowledge any discomfort you feel and push through it. While it may be more comfortable to network via email or LinkedIn, you eventually have to get out from behind the computer. If you still feel intimidated by the idea of attending a networking event with numerous people, start with one-on-one meetings and informational interviews.

For more easy networking tips for both introverts and extroverts, check out paNASH’s on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively. Learn about informational interviewing, networking etiquette, and when/where to network. As a result, you’ll be better prepared and will feel more at-ease in future networking situations. And you’ll make stronger connections with those who have hiring power.

Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months (Re-Post)

Does your current resume get you as many interviews as you’d like? Or does it just seem to end up in a black hole in cyber space?

I have a lot of clients updating their resumes right now. Their reasons for doing so vary. Some are leaving their current company but want to continue working in their field with another company. Others are moving to a new city or state. Some are looking to change industries all together. 

Update Your Resume Every 6 Months

It’s important to keep your resume updated, even when you’re not changing careers or seeking a new job. I tell all my clients they should update their resume every six months, regardless of their current work situation. Why? Because:

  1. It’s much easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than trying to remember what you’ve done in the past six years.
  2. You never know when you may lose your current job and have to start looking for a new one.
  3. You may have to provide a copy of your resume for reasons other than trying to find a new job. 

For instance, if you’re up for a promotion, or if you’re asked to present or speak at a conference, you may be asked for a copy of your resume. 

Last year I worked with someone who’d been in the music industry for about 20 years and found himself suddenly out of work and looking for a job. He’d never updated his resume over the course of those 20 years. However, when I had to help him put together a new resume, he was scrambling to try to remember results, accomplishments, dates, and other necessary details for a resume. It took us a little longer to complete his resume since he’d not kept up with it during his career.

Include Results to Get Results

When making your updates to your resume, always remember to include your accomplishments and results of your hard work. This is necessary to land an interview. If your resume only lists your job duties, it will end up in a black hole in cyber space. Or worse, in the trash.

Recruiters want to see what you’ve done for your past employers. For instance, have you made them money, saved them money, saved them time, increased efficiency or improved customer satisfaction? If you can show you’ve previously done these things and can quantify them, recruiters will assume you’ll be able to do the same for their company.

Most people struggle to come up with accomplishments for their resume. I you properly word your accomplishments so your resume will get you more interviews. When you include results on your resume, you see results in your job search!

Learn How to Write a Stellar Resume

 

update your resume

Updating your resume not only helps you stay prepared for the unexpected, but it also gives you a sense of achievement, rejuvenates you, and helps you brainstorm future work opportunities and projects.

To learn how to improve your resume and get more interviews, register for the on-demand program Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed. In this program I teach you how to properly word your accomplishments in a way that grabs the reader’s attention. I also provide some of the best resume advice you’ve heard in 20 years!

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Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job)

I used to have a full-time job with benefits with a very prestigious university. I later quit to pursue my own business. However, it wasn’t so cut and dry. There were (and still are) a lot of layers to pursuing a dream of working for myself.

The process I went through looks a lot more realistic (and doable) than some of the mythical stories you hear these days about making the jump from working for a boss to becoming your own boss. This process can also spark some ideas for you to realistically make the jump too. It may even help ease some of your fears and concerns preventing you from taking the leap. Here’s my story that began about 10 years ago.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

For the first time in my career as a college career adviser, my creativity was being stifled under new leadership. I was also experiencing a lot of micromanagement under this new leadership. I couldn’t continue to work under both conditions and had to start planning an exit strategy.

This strategy wasn’t to quit my day job. First, I started where most people start, looking for another job working for someone else doing the same thing elsewhere. Of course I wouldn’t leave my current job until I found my next job. But, I never found the right fit. Instead, I found opportunities that only served as an escape from my current situation. Not opportunities I could truly thrive in.

Ask yourself:

Are you just running to something that could possibly be worse than your current day job?

Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Next, I started listening to what my friends were telling me. They kept telling me I would be good at wardrobe styling. This was something I’d been daydreaming about for a long time. Wardrobe styling would definitely provide a creative outlet for me. But I still wanted to use the skills I’d developed as a career adviser over the previous eight to ten years. Those skills included interview coaching.

After giving it much thought and doing some research, I decided to start branding myself as an image consultant since image isn’t just about how you dress, but also how you present yourself in an interview. Specifically, I branded myself as an image consultant for up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I knew there were a lot of young artists moving to town to pursue music who didn’t know how to present themselves to a label (which is basically a job interview) or in a media interview (I’d also had some past experience in media coaching too).

I went and got a business license. This is when it became real for me. But I still didn’t quit my day job. Not yet anyway.

Ask yourself:

Is there something people tell you you’re good at? Is it something you enjoy? Do you see a potential market for it?

Making the Shift

I worked on my branding efforts part-time while still working my day job as a career adviser. Following my own advice to my students, I also spent my spare hours networking with the few contacts I had in the music industry and growing my network. I attended as many industry events as I could and conducted informational interviews with several people in the music business, always asking for the names of two or three other people I should talk to.

For nine months I did this and my efforts began to pay off. I slowly began getting clients. I worked with those few clients on weekends, evenings, and any time I had off from my full-time job. Then, one of my networking contacts approached me about a part-time temporary job at his small label. This opportunity gave me somewhat of a safety net to leave my full-time job and pursue my business full-time. (This is just one example of why networking is so important!)

However, I still wasn’t hasty in my exit from my day job. Instead of giving two weeks’ notice, I gave 30 days’ notice because the policy was I could work for the university again in the future if I gave 30 days’ notice. But not if I’d only given two weeks’ notice. I wanted to keep as many options open in case things didn’t work out.

I used the three months for the temp job to increase my networking efforts in the music industry and promote myself to potential clients. This way I would have more lined up once the contract was up.

Ask yourself:

What are some small steps you can start taking toward your daydream? Are they things you can do around your day job? Who are some people you can start meeting and connecting with? Can you come up with some ideas for an eventual exit strategy from your day job? Do you have a potential safety net you hadn’t previously thought of?

Don’t Let Fear Overwhelm You

Once I was on my own, I was already getting used to working for myself and there wasn’t as much to fear as I would if I’d left my day job and then started a business. This isn’t to say I had no fear at all. A few days before giving my notice at my day job, I experienced my first (and luckily my only) panic attack.

Then, when the economy tanked in October 2008, less than two months after I’d left my day job, I started to get nervous. But, what I saw happening all around me was people being forced into becoming their own boss with no real planning or preparation. I was way ahead in that department because I’d already been preparing for nearly a year. And I already had some clients.

When I was short on image consulting clients, I supplemented my work with resume writing and career coaching services for those who’d been laid off and were looking for a new job.

Ask yourself:

Are you still having some fears about pursuing your daydream? Are these fears real or perceived? What are some ways you can calm your fears or put them into a different perspective? What would be the worst case scenario if those fears proved true? What’s the best case scenario?

Rely on Connections to Supplement Your Income

Throughout my time as an image consultant I continually made connections through networking which turned into additional ways to supplement my income with my growing business. While attending a fashion show, I met the president of a small design college who hired me to teach a class on image at the college for a semester. He also ended up publishing the 2nd edition of my first bestselling book, Advance Your Image, through the school’s small publishing company.

While attending an event at the Entrepreneur Center, I met someone who needed a contract employee with career advising experience to do outplacement counseling for his clients. I still do this work to this day because I get to make my own schedule and it’s the complete opposite of micromanaged work. I love it.

The connections I’d made through my original day job led to a part-time (10 hours/week) temporary job at another university, which unexpectedly turned into a part-time permanent position. I was hired to fill in for one semester while one of their employees was on maternity leave. But when she returned, they asked if I could stay on indefinitely. I got to make my own schedule so I could work it around my business.

Eventually they asked if I could work 20 hours a week. As much as I loved working at this university, I’d already put in so much blood, sweat and tears into my image consulting business that I couldn’t afford to take that much time away from it to work for someone else. So I decided to be fair to both myself and the university and leave so they could find someone who was able to give them the number of hours they needed.

Ask yourself:

Are there connections you have now in your current situation which could benefit you in the future? Are there connections you’d like to start making? What are some things you can fall back on when your daydream business is slow?

Be Willing to Shift Gears When Necessary

After leaving that part-time job, I realized I was burned out on seven years of image consulting and wanted to do something different. But what? I had no idea. I just knew I didn’t want to lose all the work I’d put into developing my brand.

Then a year and a half later I realized I still wanted to do career advising, but this time on my terms. (Click here for the story on how this realization came about.) I still wanted to be my own boss. And I wanted to keep the same name of my image consulting business. I was able to do both with a slight shift in my mission and an overhaul of my services.

Now, I offer unique career coaching services focusing on helping people discover and pursue their own passions. This includes helping them either find a new day job they’ve been daydreaming about, or helping them take the steps (not the leap) to becoming an independent freelancer or business owner. Whichever they’re most passionate about.

My business became more successful once I was willing to make this change. I was also able to see how the experience I gained and the tools I developed in my image consulting business fit nicely with my new mission and offerings.

Today, I don’t have to supplement my income anymore. Now, I get to do it simply for the love of the variety in my schedule and the love of the creativity it brings me. Unfortunately my time only lets me do one additional gig to my full-time daydream. But I’ve never been happier in my work.

No one is micromanaging me or stifling my creativity. I get to choose who I take on as clients and which projects I want to invest my free time into.

Ask yourself:

How can I start planning my exit strategy for my day job and my entry strategy to my daydream?

How I Did It

I started setting goals and then taking small steps toward achieving those goals. You can do this too with the on-demand program Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them. It’s the same plan I created for myself that can be easily adapted by anyone regardless of their own goals, passions, or daydreams. You can also get the complimentary hand out for the program when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.howtoachievemygoals.com.

I felt the need to share my path to where I am today as a Passion and Career Specialist after reading Brad Stulberg’s article on “hybrid entrepreneurship” and something called the “barbell strategy.”

Bottom Line:  You may want to pursue your daydream as your own boss but think it’s impossible. And it may be impossible for you if you simply quit your day job to follow your daydream. I want to serve as one of several examples of how doing it with an alternative strategy can now make it possible even for you. Probably more so than you ever imagined.