This is a continuation of my tips for women in transition, pre post or during divorce.
Acknowledge that you have value in the market. As a career coach who offers career testing and coaching for women in transition I have noticed that their self-confidence is visibly shaken. What many returning women do not know is that maturity and life experience are valued by employers. Many mature workers, after an initial adjustment, are used as examples to younger employees, often providing “big picture” perspective. It is difficult to find employees with a good work ethic, and re-entry workers often exemplify this valued characteristic.
Focus on your strengths and abilities. The more you know what you are good at the more focused your job search campaign will be. Think about your past, whether it be during volunteer work, early job or school appearances, or activities in the home. What do you feel that you did the best? When did you feel that things came easily, where the tasks were like “second nature?” What have you received compliments about? When people come to you for advice? For example, are you known as the one who “gets things done, is very detailed, has a sixth sense when it comes to people.” All of these areas can have application in the workplace. If you don’t know, you might want to contact some trusted friends and ask them what skills and personal characteristics are your strengths. You may be surprised, pleased and encouraged about the positive feedback you will receive. These strengths are used in resumes and job interviews. The clearer you are about what your best abilities are, the more likely you are to convince an employer.
I have been invited to speak at Atlanta’s Divorcetown USA’s Help and Hope Fair on September 27, an event for individuals pre, during or post divorce which features exhibitors and speakers, concurrent educational session, and a panel discussion to guide people through this journey. As part of this event I am offering several tips to help with career or job coaching during this stressful time.
If you find yourself in a situation where you must climb “back in the saddle again,” re-enter the job market after an absence, it can feel overwhelming. As a career coach, who specializes in new beginnings, I have worked with many folks in this situation. I have learned a few things working with this wonderful group of people. Half of the battle is realizing that you do have value in the job market. Armed with a little knowledge, possibly a skill upgrade, and the desire to “get up on the horse again, in control,” many job seekers have found a new beginning, an exciting career, or a return to a previously satisfying job. Here is my first tip, and I plan to post more every few days.
Tip 1 Decide on your approach, career exploration or job search.
First, you should determine your approach, career or job search. Decide if you are targeting a career change or a return to previous employment. If you want to change careers, you can be involved in an exciting career assessment process where you look at your interests and aptitudes and research career choices that are trending and have high growth. You might enter a new career through training, developing skills in a volunteer capacity. Many of my clients when re-entering the market, find it helpful to do a two phased approach. During phase 1 they quickly develop the skills to obtain a job, to pay the bills, but they seek one in a work environment of interest. That way they can check out the field, make contacts and develop some experience. In phase 2 they begin long term training, possibly paid by an employer, to go for a long term goal. For example, somebody brushes up her skills to be a receptionist in a mental health center and later returns to college to earn a Masters in Social Work or become a Licensed Professional Counselor.
In my next several tips I will focus on job coaching techniques for finding a job, perhaps returning to something you have done before.
I was truly inspired when I saw this TED talk about Jack Andraka, a 15 year old freshman in high school. He developed a superior detection tool for cancer through creative thinking, persistence and as he states “teenage optimism.”
While a family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, Jack became interested in early detection of this devastating disease. The current detection technique costs $800 and only catches 30% of cancers. Jack’s method is highly accurate and costs around $.03 Once he became aware of the need for research on early detection, he contacted over 200 science professors with his proposed plan and was rejected by 199 until he pursued the one “maybe” that he received. He conducted his research at John Hopkins University. As a career coach, working with young people, I was touched by Jack’s response to the death of his family friend. He says that he wanted to learn as much as possible in response to his loss, was driven to improve the situation. He was curious, innately optimistic, relied on Google as his “go-to” information source. Many of the young people that I work with have great curiosity and a desire to help the world. Jack found the protein that he needed to detect after 4,000 tries, then he methodically worked on creating his inexpensive paper sensor, showing persistence and goal directedness. His sensor detects pancreatic cancer with 100% accuracy. He credits the knowledge that he gained from internet. He states that there are “millions more like me out there. and with the internet to power them, imagine what they can do…and what you could do.” I couldn’t have said it better. We have untold power if we use curiosity, persistence, attack problems by getting curious and learning. I think that young people are adopting this attitude, and we as their mentors, should work as hard as we can to foster it.
How should I start off a brand new blog as an experienced career coach? The prospect is exciting… Intriguing… maybe a little intimidating… Part of me feels that the sky is the limit. The other part of me asks what the worldwide community might be interested in on the topic of career development.
As a career coach who does career testing and exploration for high school and college students, and young adults I know that the important thing in any endeavor is to begin with what you love..with who you really are. I am going to follow that good advice. If I start with who I am, visiting, chronicling, and discussing what I love, this blog will be an adventure for me…and I hope, interesting to others.
So what do I love? I am deeply committed to creativity, lifelong learning, collaboration and connection. Finding that spark of interest in a young client and fanning the flame is a thrill. I love assisting people in determining their key strengths and to see new possibilities. I have been known as a “networking queen,” and I love “net-weaving,” connecting others for their mutual gain. Not just locally, but all over the country. Life-long learning is a passion for me. Sitting at a bookstore with everything from art and jewelry magazines, new and past beloved fiction, career and self development books, in piles on my table, is one of my greatest pleasures. Reading them is even better.
So, I commit to make this blog a chronicle of my adventures in the world of career planning and development. I intend to highlight some of the amazing people I run across. They might be my courageous clients who are willing to learn about themselves and to grow. It could be about other coaches and helpers with interesting specializations, celebrities that I meet or read about, or writers that intrigue me and say something that applies to career development. I will throw in what I know about the youth culture and careers. I also will talk about the hottest careers out there and why they are so promising.
I plan to highlight people’s strengths and passions, with an eye to how and why they have succeeded. They might be students who connected with the perfect major, entrepreneurs who have done well against the odds, or career changers. I am guessing that I will see similar patterns as to what makes them a success. I cannot wait to hear what others find of to be of interest and are willing to comment and collaborate about. I plan to bring in guest bloggers to learn their perspectives. I am thinking that we could begin to develop our own definition of the elements of career success. So, please join me in this exploration!