Tag: career transition


Are You Prepared to Be a Freelancer If Forced To?

Part 2 of 3 posts

Even if you’re still able to work during the coronavirus quarantine, whether from your office or from home, let me ask you something:

Are you prepared to be a freelancer if forced to?

Think about it. If you lost your job tomorrow and couldn’t find another one right away, would you be able to pick up and start making some extra money?

Do you already have some other streams of revenue in place, like freelance work or a side hustle?

I’ve previously written about the importance of having multiple streams of revenue. You can’t rely on only one stream of revenue because it could evaporate tomorrow.

I’m not saying this to cause you to panic. Instead I say it to help you feel more productive and a little more in control of your current situation.

How to create multiple streams of revenue

Here’s what you have some control over. Sit down and make a list of skills you have that others would pay you to perform because they lack those skills. Also add to your list anything you own that others might want to rent on a short-term basis.

Decide which items on your list will take the least amount of time to start earning the most money.

Then, start getting the word out. Use your current social media profiles to do this. And join platforms you’re not already using. Start with the ones that make the most sense for your product or service.

You may be surprised what kind of response you get.

Forced to be a freelancer

Recently, my hairstylist’s husband was in between digital marketing jobs. Although he received several interviews and offers, the offers weren’t financially feasible based on his experience and the potentially long commutes.

While holding out for something more financially feasible, he took some home improvement jobs as a side hustle since he’s good at this sort of thing.

When one side hustle opportunity was completed, another one came along. Then it got to the point where he had so many side jobs to choose from it made more financial sense to make this his full-time gig!

He’s now making more money doing home improvement than he would’ve if he’d stayed in digital marketing.

Need help becoming a freelancer?

If you need help with the steps of starting a side hustle or work opportunity for yourself, let me know. I’ve successfully transitioned to working for myself and have helped several clients do the same.

Stay tuned for the final way to maintain control in part three. Submit your name in the right hand column to receive alerts for new posts.

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The Signs for a New Career Move Are Flashing. Do You See Them?

I just finished reading the book Everybody Always by Bob Goff, who also wrote the bestseller Love Does.

In the chapter entitled “Three Green Lights,” Bob talks about how in life we often circle around a place to land until we’re given the green light or a sign it’s finally safe, much like pilots do when landing a plane.

But occasionally the signs aren’t always there, even when it’s safe to land. Sometimes not all of the lights are working. It could be because there’s a malfunction, or it could simply be just a burned out bulb.

But there may be other indicators available to go by. Either way, you have to decide to land with the information you have to go on, or you’ll run out of fuel and crash.

Bob says,

“Don’t ignore the lights you already have.”

Signs for a new career move you should never ignore

When clients first come to me, they immediately want a guarantee their decision to pursue a new career move is the right one before committing to it. They want a sign. A green light. The all-clear. Permission to land.

They’re so busy looking for one specific green light they can’t see all the other green lights they already have flashing around them.

What are these other green lights you should never ignore? Bob says they’re the things that:

  • Delight you.
  • Fire up your imagination.
  • Fill you with a deep sense of purpose.
  • Draw you closer to God.
  • Will last in your life and in the lives of others.

Those are your signs, your green light, your go-ahead.

Removing the blind spots to your new career move

But what if you have no idea what those things are? I have several clients who aren’t sure what inspires them or what they’re passionate about. This is often because they’re too close to their situation. They have to develop a bird’s eye view (or in other words, a pilot’s perspective).

They need someone to remove the blind spots for them to see and recognize those things they have to offer the world. This is my favorite thing to work on with my clients.

It’s a bit of a process, just like learning to fly a plane is. But I promise it’s not as complicated. Being patient with the process and trusting it can lead to a clearer view of more than one place to land.

I love seeing the epiphanies my clients have when we work through this process together. They come in thinking they’re going to land one place and end up landing some place even better. A place more fitting for their skills, interests, and purpose.

One client recently shared with me how through this process it suddenly came to him he might be better suited for a different role in his career. One he’d never previously considered. As he realized this, we both agreed it’s a perfect place to use his strengths and past experience.

And don’t forget the example I shared in my post, “How to Create the Life You Want to Wake Up to Every Day.”

Don’t crash and burn

Do you feel like you’re circling your career with no place to land? Do you need help reading the signs for what’s next before you run out of fuel and crash? Please allow me to help you the way I’ve helped so many others. Let’s talk!

In the meantime, feel free to check out my “flight manual” Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic, available on Amazon.

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Interesting side note

The old landing strip in this photo has a very interesting history here in Nashville. It was part of Cornelia Fort Airpark, named after the first female pilot to die on war duty in American history. It’s also the runway Patsy Cline’s plane was supposed to land on had it not crashed the night of March 5th, 1963, 57 years ago today. The historic airpark is now part of Shelby Park for visitors to enjoy. On any given sunny day, you’ll find visitors walking and jogging on the airstrip. I’ve personally walked, biked, and land paddled this runway. Photo credit: Matt Bowden.

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How to Know If You Should Apply for a Job You’re Not Qualified For

I have several clients who think if they don’t check off all the boxes of requirements on a job ad, they can’t apply for the job. But let me tell you a little story…

You never know what can happen

…When I was just coming out of grad school, I applied for a director’s level position without any full-time professional experience. I knew I was unqualified for the director’s position. But I was interested in it and applied anyway to see what would happen.

Of course I was rejected. But then the company called me because the assistant director position had also just come open. They wanted to know if I was interested in it.

I was much more qualified for this role and was indeed very interested. They offered me the job a few days after my interview! I was so excited because it was my first “real job” out of school.

I say all this to show you never know what can happen. You have nothing to lose but the time it takes to apply.

The truth about the job ad

Most job ads read more like the hiring manager’s “wish list” instead of a realistic request. It’s highly unlikely one person will have all the desired qualifications from the job ad.

As a result, if they aren’t getting the qualified candidate pool they’d hoped for, they’ll likely re-write the job description to reflect a more realistic expectation of qualifications.

When to apply for the job

My recommendation is, if you have at least 65-75% of the qualifications they’re looking for, go ahead and apply and see what happens. Especially if you have any of the preferred qualifications in addition to some of the required qualifications.

But only do so if you have a genuine interest in the job. Never apply for a job you have no intentions of taking just to gain interview practice. This is unethical.

What to do while you wait for a response

While you’re waiting to hear back, see if there is a way for you to learn some of the requirements you’re lacking through a online tutorials or MOOCs. (See the list of educational alternatives in my recent post “How to Know If You Should Go Back to School“.)

Be understanding if they decide they don’t want you, and don’t let the rejection get to you. Instead, be open if they contact you for a job that’s a step-down and is more in line with your current qualifications.

Then in your interview, ask if there are opportunities for future advancement after being with the company for a certain period of time.

Conclusion

I recommend being selective when using the approach above.

If you don’t feel comfortable applying for a job you’re not qualified for, then perhaps you’d be more comfortable doing an informational interview to learn more about what it takes to end up in such a job. (To learn more about informational interviews, check out the on-demand program, The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively.)

At the very least you’ll become more aware of the hidden job market and the skills you need to develop.

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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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How to Go From Military Hero to Civilian Employee

When I first started out in career coaching, I worked as the director of a career center at a college located next to the largest military installation in the world. Many of our students were U.S. service men and women earning their degrees on the G.I. Bill and looking to make the transition from the military to a civilian job. I salute them for their service in celebration of Veterans Day this week!

But making the transition from the military to a civilian career path was not easy for most of them. I had to help several of them understand how their military skills transferred to civilian work. I also helped them re-word their résumés to use more civilian-friendly terminology to make them more marketable to potential employers.

It was an honor to work with such fine men and women and to help them use their skills to serve their communities in new and different ways.

Jamie’s story

There are numerous companies who want to hire veterans. But just being wanted doesn’t guarantee you a job. And listing your military service on your resume doesn’t even guarantee you an interview. You still have to know and understand the do’s and don’ts of the job search.

For example, I once had a client named Jamie who came to me because for two and a half years since leaving the military she had not had any luck in her job search. Despite being a veteran and applying with companies known for hiring veterans, she couldn’t even land an interview.

Jamie was in her late 20s to early 30s, had proudly served her country, and was honorably discharged. In the two and a half years since she’d left the military she’d started her own animal rescue non-profit and earned an MBA while also conducting her job search. She had mad skills!

When she first came to me she said,

“Obviously I’m doing something wrong, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it is. Maybe you can show me.”

She knew there was something she was missing. She just didn’t know what it was. After all this time she finally recognized her need for someone to point out her blind spots and show her the way.

Jamie’s transition into a civilian employee

When I began working with Jamie, it quickly became apparent to me she needed to make some small tweaks on her resume and learn some new interview skills she’d never previously learned.

There were some things she’d included on her resume she thought were assets. However, hiring managers instead viewed them as liabilities. I had her remove those from her resume immediately.

Just a couple days later Jamie got a call for an interview. I spent a few sessions preparing her for the interview. I taught her the interview skills she lacked and did mock interviews with her while providing feedback on how to improve.

Jamie said:

“I had no idea until now what I’ve been doing wrong all this time!”

A week later, Jamie got the job offer. In fact, the gentleman who offered her the job commented,

“By the way, you gave a really good interview. I have a family member who has a job interview coming up. Do you think you could help her prepare for it?”

How to make the transition to civilian employment

If you’re a veteran making the transition into civilian employment, here are some tips to help you better market your past experience for civilian opportunities.

1. Get help

First, if the trauma from your military experience has resulted in PTSD or any other problems that could negatively affect your future work performance, get help! Take advantage of any and all resources and support offered by the military and the VA.

If these problems are not addressed early and appropriately, it could lead to poor work performance. And if you get fired from your first civilian job, it will be even more difficult to find your next civilian job.

2. Build a civilian network

Next, build a civilian network by starting with the people you already know, including fellow service men and women. They have civilian friends and family who probably know someone to connect you with.

Then, take time to learn new networking etiquette tips and networking skills. You can do this through my e-book Secrets to Networking With Ease (available on Amazon), and also through my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively. If you need more in depth assistance, I offer military discounts on my one-on-one coaching services to those who are active duty.

3. Assess your skills

Take some time to list out all the skills you used in your military service. Then, go back and determine which of those skills could transfer to civilian opportunities. It’s helpful to look at the skill requirements in different job ads to better understand how your skills might transfer.

Then, re-word those skills on your resume using some of the same terminology used in the job ads. You can also look at LinkedIn profiles of other former military personnel to see how they’ve worded their job descriptions. Choosing a one-on-one coaching package can also provide you with personalized assistance in assessing your skills and marketing them to potential employers.

4. Tell your stories

In just about every job interview, you’re going to have to answer behavioral interview questions that begin with “Tell me about a time when…”

It may be difficult to relive some of your experiences from your military service. But, your stories are what make you marketable and unique. You must be able to tell your stories in a way that exhibits the skills you’ve developed while dealing with challenging situations.

To learn the right way to answer behavioral interview questions, see my blog post entitled “The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions.”

From Deployment to Employment

I’d like to thank all U.S. veterans for their service! I hope you find these suggestions helpful as you make the transition into civilian employment. For additional resources, please check out the info graph below.

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