Tag: career transition


How to Avoid an Epic Fail When Networking

Networking often feels awkward, and can sometimes backfire, even with the best of intentions. Add to it the awkwardness and limitations of a pandemic, and you’ve got yourself a potential epic fail.

We’ve all failed at least once in our networking strategies. This week, I want to provide some tips to help you try some new and different approaches to avoid an epic fail.

Stay tuned for next week when I share some out-of-the-box interview tips!

Successful networking strategies

One of the most successful strategies is to spend more time doing it! Job seekers should spend 80% of their job search networking and only 20% actually applying to job ads. However, most job seekers have this reversed.

But to be successful, you also have to understand the etiquette involved in networking. Check out these previous posts for five tips most people fail to implement.

1. Avoid appearing desperate on LinkedIn

Every job seeker knows it’s important to be on LinkedIn, but they don’t know how to keep from looking desperate. Recruiters can detect desperation just from a job seeker’s profile, and will steer clear.

Click here to learn how to avoid looking desperate on LinkedIn.

How to Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn

2. Create a more inviting elevator pitch

An elevator pitch, created from the same old cookie-cutter approach, will make your listener want to pitch themselves down an elevator shaft!

Instead, click here to try a more inviting and less annoying approach.

The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech

3. Don’t ask, “Can I pick your brain?”

Leading your networking conversation with this common question can quickly result in an epic fail.

For a lot of professionals, this question is a trigger. To them, it’s code for, “I want to take from you your years of knowledge, advice, or contacts, without giving anything in return.”

This is not a good way to start off on the right foot.

But good news! There are appropriate ways to start a conversation with a potential new contact. Click here to learn how to do so using proper etiquette.

Why “Can I Pick Your Brain?” Is the Wrong Approach

4. Become a good networking contact yourself

Instead of just trying to find good networking contacts, you might also have better luck by serving as a good contact yourself.

To learn five ways you can give back and contribute more to your networking relationships, click here.

How to Stop Networking for Good Contacts and How to Be One!

5. Protect yourself from toxic professional relationships

You’ve probably heard the popular networking advice, “Never burn a bridge.” But I also say, “Never stay standing on a bridge someone else has lit a match to.”

While it’s important to maintain good networking relationships, you should also protect yourself from the toxic ones. Especially if they could hurt your other professional relationships.

Click here to learn how to recognize toxic relationships in your professional circles.

Never Say Never: How to Know When You Should Let a Bridge Burn

Related resources

Are Your Job Search Strategies Not Working for You?

Maybe it’s time to try something different.

If you’ve been at your job search for a while now and still aren’t seeing results, maybe it’s time for some new or different job search strategies.

You’re probably familiar with the Albert Einstein quote,

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So why keep doing the same thing in your job search if you’re seeing the same poor results?

I always try to provide new and different job search strategies for my clients. Something other than just the typical and often outdated advice found on the Internet. This helps them stand out above their competition and see improved results in their job search.

Now don’t get me wrong, consistency is important in your job search. But you don’t want to waste your time being consistent with job search strategies that don’t work.

Instead, be consistent with what’s working for you. Then, get rid of the strategies that don’t work, and replace them with the following out-of-the-box strategies. Test which ones work best for you, and then tweak them for your unique situation. You’ll likely see more positive results in your job search!

Stay tuned for more out-of-the-box strategies for résumé writing, networking, and interviewing!

Out-of-the box job search strategies

1. It all starts with your personal brand

You may wonder what your personal brand has to do with your job search. Well, the answer is, a lot! Understanding your personal brand, and how to articulate it properly, can result in new career options, a more focused job search, a marketable résumé, authentic networking relationships, and more solid answers to interview questions.

On the other hand, not understanding your personal brand can land you in a job you never wanted, or keep you in a career path you’re trying to escape from. You’re especially at risk of this during a vulnerable point in your career, like many people are right now due to COVID layoffs.

To learn more about better understanding and marketing your personal brand, check out my post, “How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand.”

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

2. Know what recruiters are thinking

Since part of the personal branding process involves knowing who your audience is, it’s important for you to put yourself in their shoes.

For most job seekers, one of their audience segments is recruiters. Do you know how recruiters think? Do you know how to respond appropriately to the ways they think?

In my post, “7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters,” you’ll learn how to anticipate what recruiters are thinking and how to be proactive in marketing yourself to them.

7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters

3. Don’t go where everyone else is going

When most people first come to me, they’re frustrated because they’ve spent so much time applying to jobs on all the popular job boards, but with no luck.

This is because those job boards are saturated with other job seekers. They’re also saturated with a lot of old job postings, and even postings by scammers and spammers. In fact, I recently heard from someone who became a victim of identity theft after he responded to a fake online job ad.

Therefore, you shouldn’t spend nearly as much time applying to jobs online as you should networking. In fact, you should only allot about 20% of your job search efforts to applying to jobs. So what are some better and safer alternatives to the popular online job boards? Click here to find out.

What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

4. Gain more experience in new and different ways

If you’re currently unemployed and don’t have the experience needed for the jobs you’re applying for, use your time to gain the experience and skills to make you more employable.

How do you gain this experience when you can’t get hired without it? While this often seems like a catch-22, there are several ways to build your résumé while you’re unemployed. Click here to find out how.

How to Get Experience When You Can’t Get Hired Without It

5. Develop the most in-demand skills

While gaining more experience, you’ll also want to develop the skills employers want most in an employee. Many of these skills are the same skills which also make entrepreneurs successful.

You’ll find a list of those skills in my post, “Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)“.

I published this post a little over a year ago, before we’d even heard of COVID-19 or could imagine the impact it would have on the current job market. I wrote it during a very good market, but the advice still applies today. Especially for those who’ve suddenly found themselves out of work due to the pandemic.

And my guess is, due to the coronavirus, the statistic in the post for the number of independent workers in 2020 is much higher than originally predicted.

Whether you’re forced into working for yourself, or you’re searching for a job, you need to develop these in-demand skills to be successful.

Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)

More out-of-the-box job search strategies

Stay tuned as I share more out-of-the-box job search strategies in the coming weeks. This will include unique résumé writing, networking, and interviewing advice.

And don’t forget! You can get 20% off paNASH’s career coaching video resources starting on Cyber Monday. Discount is good through Friday, December 4th. Use the discount code CYMON20.

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How to Go From Veteran 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. veteran men and women making the transition from the military to a civilian job. I salute them for their service in celebration of Veterans Day today!

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, and 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.

A veteran transitions 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.

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 from veteran to civilian employee

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 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 job.

2. Build a civilian network

Next, build a civilian network by starting with the people you already know, including fellow veterans and active 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 transitioning out of 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 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 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.

How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

My older brother is a unicorn. He’s been with the same company his entire career, almost as many years as I’ve been alive. This is extremely rare these days. Most people change companies (or even careers) seven to ten times in their lives.

However, in all his years as a hard-working and successful employee of a strong company, my brother has faced the threat of the organization’s frequent mass layoffs.

Each time he faced such job uncertainty, it would send him into such deep anxiety he would get physically ill. Add to this the daily stress of his job, plus his lack of passion for it, and you get misery and depression.

So why did he stay all these years? Because on paper, it’s a “good” job. But he also stayed because of:

  • A false sense of security.
  • Self-imposed restrictions.
  • Fear of instability.
  • Discomfort with change.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Even if career change isn’t new to you, you may be experiencing some of the same negative issues due to the uncertainty of our current job market.

But this is one of the best times to take your uncertainty and nervous energy, and use it in a positive way to re-direct your career. Let’s look at how to do this.

Re-directing your fears and uncertainty

My brother has stayed in his current job all these years because he assumes it’s secure. Even though he’s seen numerous layoffs at his company. He recognizes he’s been lucky to escape the layoffs. And each time he has, he thinks to himself, “since I didn’t get laid off, my job is secure for now.” Well, maybe it is, until it isn’t.

If we’ve learned anything from the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s nothing is certain. And, there’s no such thing as job security. But this has always been the case. Yet we tend to fool ourselves into thinking if we have a steady paycheck and benefits, we’re secure. This in turn leads to a place that’s comfortable yet complacent at best.

Instead of fooling yourself there’s such a thing as a secure job, or freaking out because there isn’t, focus on exploring your potential options to diversify your skills and your income. This could include developing multiple streams of revenue, changing industries, or developing a new skill. While this may feel uncomfortable, think of it as a way of saving for a rainy day.

If you’re currently furloughed or laid off, this is more important than ever. But even if you still have your job, you need to spend time taking stock of your interests, passions, skills, strengths, and experience. Look to see what problem(s) they help solve, and for whom.

This process helps you identify which of your skills are in demand and which market will pay money for them. It opens your eyes to opportunities you may have never previously considered, such as a different job, or working for yourself. And it’s a process I walk you through step-by-step in my on-demand career success videos.

Watch your uncertainty turn into confidence

Once you’ve completed the process of taking stock of your unique skillset and value you bring to the table, you’ll notice an increase in your confidence. A boost in confidence may be what you need right now, especially if you’ve lost your job.

Then, once you experience renewed confidence, you’ll more likely have the gumption to apply for a job doing something new or different, or to start your own thing. Once you’re mentally ready for this, it’s time to take what you’ve discovered about your unique skillset and market it.

This includes putting together a resume, elevator pitch, and interview presentation that stands out from your competition’s cookie-cutter job search efforts. paNASH’s on-demand career success videos teach you all the steps to market your unique assets, so you won’t blend in with all the other job candidates.

People are drawn to confidence and competence. Your renewed confidence, along with an attention-grabbing marketing plan of your skills, is what will help you re-direct your career.

Don’t live a life of regret

My brother will be retiring next year. That is, if he doesn’t face another potential layoff before then. He’ll get a pension for all his years there. But he won’t ever get back the years he spent doing work that made him depressed instead of fulfilled.

In fact, a few years ago when he was visiting me, he admitted how he wished he’d had the gumption and the courage to leave his job and start his own thing like I had. He regretted never trying something different. It broke my heart to see him look back over his “good-on-paper” job and have nothing but regrets.

The good news is, it’s not too late for him to do something more fulfilling, if he wants to, after he retires next year. And it’s not too late for you either, no matter where you are in your career. You always have the opportunity to re-direct your career, both in good times and in times of uncertainty.

You can take your job security into your own hands. And you can start now!

How to get started

My on-demand career success video courses have always been an affordable and effective way to prepare you for any of the following scenarios:

  • Discovering what’s next for your career.
  • Making a career change.
  • Finding a new job.
  • Improving your resume
  • Preparing for job interviews.
  • and much more!

And best of all, they’re available to you on-demand anytime, allowing you to work at your own pace.

There are other online career and job search programs that make you wait every week for the next course to air, further delaying your job search.

Why spend two months completing an 8-week course when you can complete 8 courses in the time frame you prefer, and therefore find your next job sooner?

The paNASH on-demand bundle includes:

  • 8 courses with 23 episodes, both on finding your purpose and practical ways to stand out in the job search
  • 16 instructional handouts, résumé samples and templates
  • 5 e-books
  • 1 résumé critique

And this summer, you’ll receive access to live group coaching sessions to get your specific questions answered (available for a limited time).

Click here to get started right now.

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Your Job Provides You Security. Until It Doesn’t. Then What?

Depending on what industry you’re in, your job security may feel a little shaky right now due to COVID-19.

Even if you haven’t lost your job because of the economic impact caused by the coronavirus, or even if you’re able to return to work soon, you may feel less sure of your future career than ever before.

No one could’ve predicted six months ago the situation we’re currently experiencing world-wide.

This is why there really is no such thing as job security. Stuff happens.

The only constant is, business will always be business. Companies will always do what they have to do to keep afloat for as long as possible. Which often means downsizing.

This is why it’s important to invest in what I call “career insurance.”

What is career insurance?

Career insurance is basically another term for comprehensive career coaching. It’s designed to prepare you for any event that may arise in your career.

This includes the expected, like a promotion, voluntary job or career change, or starting your own business. It also 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.

The unexpected layoff

I’m often hired by companies to provide career coaching and outplacement counseling for the employees they have to lay off.

This service 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.

Many of the laid off employees I’ve worked with in this capacity were taken by surprise by the company’s decision.

Several 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 in a growing industry and promises to be loyal to you. Business is business and things change. If your company doesn’t provide you any outplacement services, you may want to invest some severance money into career coaching. This is 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 the job she was in.

She wanted to look for something new, and also explore the possibility of being her own boss. So I got to work on helping her meet these goals.

After only three coaching sessions, Teresa found out her job was being eliminated.

When she got the news, she felt a sense of relief she’d already paid for a career coach and had begun the steps to a successful job search, making the news less of a blow.

She knew our sessions would help put her in the best possible position to find her next opportunity more quickly. She also knew the coaching would help position her for promotion the following 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 season. He chose my basic package of just a few sessions which we completed several weeks later. When I received an update from him, this is what he had to say:

“All of my worlds have been colliding since our last session, and I’ve only been able to handle it because of the great place we got to with our sessions. So thank you. I just had my interview for my promotion that was in the works earlier this season. 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 help you advance in your company if this is 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 the current pandemic or your company’s response to it, 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 and improved security no matter what happens with your career.

Is it time for you to invest in some career insurance? If not now, when?

Don’t wait until your current job security is gone. Click here to get started.

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*Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes. Click here to see client-submitted Google reviews.