Category: Career Change/Career Transition


Free Career Coaching Resources for Tornado Victims Left Jobless

Early Tuesday morning March 3rd, thousands of people in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee areas found themselves without a home when an EF3 tornado ripped through their neighborhoods. Others suddenly found themselves unemployed due to the destruction of several businesses, schools, and industrial areas. And some found themselves both homeless and jobless in a matter of seconds.

paNASH Career Coaching is saddened by the loss of life, property, and livelihood here in Nashville and surrounding counties. It will take a long time to rebuild, but once the most immediate needs of victims are met, paNASH will be there to help with the process of finding new employment for those who are now jobless due to the devastation.

paNASH is currently making arrangements to provide free career coaching resources in the coming days and weeks. Please stay tuned for details by subscribing to the paNASH newsletter and the blog post alerts in the right hand column.

***Click here for updated details.***

Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to find a job, any job, and fast? My clients usually find themselves in one of two situations:

1. They’re at a place in their career where they can take the time to be more intentional in discovering the most meaningful next step for their career.

2. They’re suddenly out of a job they had no intentions of leaving, often due to a layoff. They need a replacement job  fast.

The latter situation is where clients feel they don’t have the luxury to be picky with their next job. But if they aren’t somewhat selective, they can delay the time it will take to find their next opportunity.

How a lack of focus hurts your job search

Even if you find yourself in a desperate situation, you should resist the temptation to take the first job offer you get. You should also resist the temptation to apply to any and every job you see advertised.

Employers and recruiters can recognize a lack of focus immediately just from reading your resume and cover letter. Also, lack of focus is especially evident if you’re applying for several different jobs with the same company.

Both of these things can send up red flags for employers. They don’t want to pursue a candidate who lacks focus or seems desperate.

This in turn can delay finding a job and extend the length of your job search. In addition, the rejection will erode your confidence. And lack of confidence will hurt you in any future interviews you land. All of this can make you more desperate, which creates a vicious cycle.

A better use of your time

You can improve your job search by taking the time you would spend in the cycle described above and instead using it to develop focus. This will keep you on track with the average time it takes to find a job. Also, it will help you find a more fulfilling job and perhaps one with a higher salary.

In addition, by not taking the first offer that comes along, you’ll likely reduce the chances of having to look for something better again a year or so later. This will save you the time it will take to do a second job search after you realize you’ve wasted time in the wrong job.

How to gain focus

There are a lot of ways to determine what your focus should be in your next job search. One way is by making the kind of three-prong list of must-haves for your next job, compromises, and icing-on-the-cake items as described in my post “How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job.

But often it requires an even deeper dive into such things as your personal and career values, transferable skills, talents, gifts, weaknesses, goals, vision, personal mission, the current job market, and more.

Then, you want to take all of this and see where and how all these things fit together. This part often requires a second pair of eyes to help you see which opportunities you might be missing.

Many clients come to me needing help with this. They find it difficult to figure out their unique differentiators and where those fit in a new career path all on their own.

If this is something you know you need help with, you can start either with paNASH’s on-demand online video courses, or with one-on-one personalized coaching. These resources are designed to help you focus on finding the right fit and to help you stay focused for a successful job search.

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How to Know If You Should Go Back to School

One question I often get from my mid-career clients wanting to make a career change is,

“Should I go back to school?”

You might expect someone who previously worked in higher education and who’s a huge fan of lifelong learning to enthusiastically respond with, “Yes!” However, this is not my typical response.

Instead, I respond with,

“Is it necessary for your career goal?”

If you don’t know your career goal yet, then you can’t answer this question. Therefore, my first order of business is to help you figure out what’s next for you.

Once you know what you want to do, then we need to determine if taking the plunge into a new degree program is necessary for your goal.

Are the educational qualifications required, or just preferred?

Does the job you’re now targeting require a degree or coursework you don’t have? Make sure you read the job description carefully. Don’t confuse the word “required” with “preferred.”

For example, if the majority of the job ads for the type of job you’re targeting typically requires a 4-year degree but prefers a master’s, you probably don’t need to rush back to school for the master’s and get yourself in more debt.

If you already have the required 4-year degree along with a substantial amount of experience (at least 5-10 years), you’re likely a qualified candidate. Especially if the master’s is about the only thing you’re lacking from the listed qualifications.

Employers typically put more stock into your experience and skills than they do your education. Think about it. If you’re mid-career, when was the last time someone asked you in an interview what your college GPA was? But they probably asked you about your skills and experience instead, right?

And if there are still a couple skills you’re lacking from the job ad, determine if those are skills you could learn quickly and easily through some online courses or tutorials.

However, if the job ad says an advanced degree is required, then you will need to go back to school.

Educational alternatives

Certification programs and boot camps

Let’s assume you’re making a career change and you’re going to have to learn some new skills. Before committing to a lengthy and expensive degree program, find out if the educational requirement can be satisfied with a short-term intensive certification program.

Perhaps you can satisfy the educational requirement with a 12 to 24-week certification program or a 10-month boot camp. These alternatives are sometimes offered online and part-time so you can continue working your current full-time job while attending. There are numerous options like this which serve as an alternative to going back to school full-time.

Beware though when you begin searching for certification programs. There are a lot of certification programs out there that are just money-makers. The only value they add is giving you another line on your resume or more letters behind your name, but aren’t really necessary for compliance in your chosen field. You’ll want to make sure the certification is necessary for the type of job you want. Otherwise, you probably don’t want to spend your money on it.

Also, look for certification programs with a good reputation (like those offered by accredited universities). And look to see if they offer some type of career placement assistance. Before registering, talk to others who’ve completed the program. Get their thoughts of it and see if it has significantly boosted their careers. They will be able to tell you if it’s worth the time and money.

A few of my clients have made a successful career change to the field of coding by investing time and money in a reputable coding boot camp. One such client had no previous experience at all in coding. She landed a job a week before her graduation from the boot camp with a well-known company she’d always wanted to work for.

MOOCs

Another great alternative to a traditional degree program is MOOCs which stands for massive open online courses. They’re taught by professors from highly reputable universities such as Stanford, Princeton, and Duke. Others are taught by professionals from companies like Google and IBM.

These courses are delivered online and vary in costs. Some are free if you’re just wanting to learn something new for personal interest. Others have affordable rates allowing you to learn a new skill, prepare for a career change, or even earn a certificate or degree.

One of the best MOOCs sites is www.coursera.org. They offer over 4,000 courses in subjects such as business, computer science, arts & humanities, engineering, social sciences, and even personal development. I’ve taken a few interest courses myself on this site and really enjoyed the flexibility of it. Once I completed each course a badge was added to my LinkedIn profile.

Reading and Listening

Finally, you can still learn the old fashioned way through books. It’s been said that reading at least five books on one subject can bring you up to near-expert level on the subject.

If you don’t like to read, there’s no excuse! Many books are now available to listen to on Audible or other audio platforms. There are also numerous podcasts available for you to listen to and learn about new subjects.

Improve your job search skills

Sometimes going back to school isn’t the answer. Sometimes the answer is to get help in improving your job search skills.

I recently had a new client come to me thinking he needed to go back to school to get another degree in something else. He assumed this because he wasn’t having any luck with his job search in his current field.

I asked him if he was having trouble finding jobs to apply for. He said he’d applied for several but wasn’t getting many interviews. And when he did get interviews, he wasn’t getting any offers.

Since there were jobs available to apply for, the problem wasn’t a lack of demand. It was his approach to the job search, specifically his resume and interview skills.

Spending A LOT of money on another degree instead of a little money on some career coaching didn’t make sense. So he hired me to help him improve his job search skills.

I spent time giving him new and fresh approaches to networking, helping him tweak his resume, revealing his blind spots in his interview skills, and coaching him on how to improve in future interviews. It’s now up to him to apply what he’s learned from the coaching.

If he’d just gone back to school full-time for another degree program requiring two additional years of studies like he’d originally planned, he would not only be out the money he spent on tuition but also out the money he could’ve earned in those two years. Plus he’d be two years behind in salary increases.

Is going back to school worth it?

So is going back to school really worth it? Definitely not in the example described above. But you have to determine based on your own career goals if it’s worth it or not.

Make sure you take into consideration the following factors:

  • Is it required or necessary to achieve your career goal?
  • How much will it set you back in both time and money?

Also, consider how higher education has changed since you last attended college. Tuition has gone up while the quality of the programs have been watered down.

One client hired me after having started a master’s degree in a new field because she was extremely frustrated and disappointed with the lack of challenge from her classes. The rigor did not equal the amount she was paying in tuition. Therefore, she felt she wasn’t getting her money’s worth and wanted to find out what other options she had.

School vs. lifelong learning

The main reason to go back to school is if it’s absolutely necessary for your career goals. And you don’t want to go back to school simply because you don’t know what to do next.

However, this doesn’t mean you should ever stop learning! You always want to invest in yourself and stay relevant with lifelong learning. Start with some of the more affordable alternatives listed above. Doing so can help you better determine what you want to do next in your career, which will help you know if going back to school for another degree is really the answer.

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Here Are the Top 10 Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2019

Can you believe we’ve reached not only the end of another year but also the end of another decade? I’ve been writing much of the past decade, and for the past four years I’ve been writing blog posts on topics related to pursuing your passions and finding new work and career paths that you can be more passionate about.

I’m so grateful to all you readers and listeners who loyally follow the paNASH blog from week to week. I love hearing your stories of how a particular blog post helped you succeed in your job search or your career. Your support and feedback means so much to me!

As a thank you, here’s a collection of the top 10 most popular paNASH blog posts of 2019.

Top 10 Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2019

  1. How to Write Networking Emails That Will Get Responses
  2. What Is the Best Way to Describe Yourself In a Job Interview?
  3. Stop! Watch Out for These 10 Red Flags In Your New Job
  4. How to Know If Your Burnout Is Killing You?
  5. Is There Such a Thing As the Perfect Job? No (and Yes)!
  6. Why You Need to Stop Overthinking Networking
  7. How to Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Career
  8. 5 Things You Should Never Say In a Job Interview
  9. How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
  10. How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

Please share

Please share any of the above blog posts or other paNASH posts on your social media platforms and with your friends so they can also benefit from them.

Stay tuned

Stay tuned for a new year and a new decade of posts to help you create a career you can be passionate about! If there are any topics you’d like to see covered in the upcoming year, please share your requests in the comment box. Thank you!

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How to Deal With Job Loss and Interview Rejection

Rejection can be difficult, especially career rejection. I applied for A LOT of jobs when I was looking for my first “real job” right out of grad school in the late ’90s. About 75 to be exact. And I got about 70 rejections.

Multiple rejections makes it nearly impossible to keep a positive attitude. Especially when you’re young and you’ve never experienced job rejection before.

I knew I had to find a way to not let it get me down, or else I’d develop a negative attitude that would be evident in my interviews. Going into a job interview with a negative attitude was sure to guarantee further rejection. I had to break the cycle before it started.

I decided for each rejection, I’d tell myself I was one step closer to the job that’s right for me. It also helped to think to myself, “If they don’t want me, why would I want to work for them?”

The Result of Positivity When Dealing With Rejection

I finally did get a job offer. It was working in two of my three areas of interest within my industry. I was promoted a year later and got to work in my third and favorite area, career development.

Interestingly, I originally applied for a director position even though I knew I wasn’t experienced enough since I was just coming out of grad school. I decided to apply any way, just to see what would happen.

While they rejected me for the director position (for obvious reasons:  lack of experience), they called me and said the assistant director position was also open and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for it. I was, I did, and I was hired. A year later I became a director.

This goes to show sometimes you can apply for jobs you’re not fully qualified for because you never know what can happen!

The Power of Positivity When Dealing With Rejection

My mantras made a huge difference not only in my level of positivity, but also in my confidence. They worked so well, I’ve used them in other areas of my life and career. I repeat them when I don’t land I client I want to sign, or when a relationship doesn’t work out like I want it to.

I never knew at the time just how powerful this positive mindset would be throughout my career.

I’ve always worked as a career adviser in various capacities. Often I have to encourage my clients who’ve been laid off from their jobs or who are experiencing rejection in their job search. I share with them the same mantras that helped me. Also I remind them, while they’ve lost their job, they haven’t lost their ability to work.

One client in particular felt very angry about being laid off. But after sulking for a few days, she decided to change her view of her situation. She decided instead of calling herself “unemployed” she’d call herself “funemployed!” I loved this and encouraged her to embrace this kind of attitude.

Allow Yourself Time to be “Funemployed”

Periods of unemployment can provide you the time to get some much-needed rest, spend more time with your family, improve your health, be creative with your time, and explore your passions. Consider it a gift, and take advantage of it while you can. There will always be more work to do.

Are you at a place of career transition where you need some guidance? Have you lost your job and need help with the job search? Or do you need help exploring other viable options rather than going back to work for someone else?

Let’s talk! Click here to complete the paNASH intake form and schedule a complimentary “Path to Purpose” session. I look forward to hearing from you!

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