How to Get and Keep the Work You Love
Brenda Smith, MBA, CPEC, a former Wall Street executive and entrepreneur with five new businesses to her credit, left a lucrative corporate career to form a company that spoke to her passion. peoplesmith was created to get to the power behind the performance people. Specializing in effectiveness coaching, peoplesmith delivers a philosophy of self-determinism and deliberate action through the unconditionally supportive and transformative process of coaching.
When considering a career change, what are the most important aspects to evaluate?
People don't leave jobs, typically, they leave managers. People leave looking for more responsibility, more opportunities to learn and to grow, and get more clearly defined authority, so one of the biggest considerations is who you will work for to whom will you be tying your fate? Too often, eager to depart, and anxious to be employed, professionals give up their power by looking out there for a job that will fit their skill set and experience, and then they contort themselves to make it work. A job search needs to start as an internal search. Once a person can answer questions like What do I love to do? In what areas do I need and want to grow? they are ready to begin interviewing employers.
Unfortunately, our economic system is based on scarcity, and that colors our thinking. If we believe it will be hard to find a job, it will be. Believing that the right job will find you if you are clear, deliberate and uncompromising, makes it more likely that you will get the job you want. Here are some helpful tips:
- The first thing to do if you're thinking of a job change is start to monitor what excites you and what discourages you about your current work. You will want to get or create your next job that gives you more of what excites you and less of what discourages you.
- Network. Most jobs are lost because of interpersonal ineffectiveness, while most hirings are done because someone knows someone.
- Set your criteria for employment in advance. Then, instead of being interviewed, do the interviewing; instead of finding ways that you can fitthe position, evaluate if the job fits you.
- Carefully consider the person you will work for and the person at the helm of the organization. Good managers will keep you employed a long time, and you'll be satisfied because they do what good parents do. Namely: Give you a clear definition of responsibilities, set limits and boundaries on your authority, value the unique contribution you can make and give you every opportunity to grow, stretch and to fail as a learning opportunity.
Besides going back to school, what strategies can I use to expand or specialize my skill set to create more
Emotional Intelligence (EQ). There's been more information created in the 20th century than all of human history. Take two individuals with the same educational background and technical know-how and the one that's going to get the job is the one who demonstrates high EQ individuals who understand and manage their emotions and those of others evidence high empathy and relate well with others, generate more revenue, evidence more employee loyalty and are much more creative, optimistic and innovative than those with high IQ alone. Importantly, EQ can be learned.
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, the reason most people are let go is because they are/have:
- Insensitive - They force their style and opinions
- Aloof - They aren't passionate and don't take ownership
- Don't Trust - What they do and what they say doesn't jive
- Controlling -They don't trust others and others don't trust them
- Not Strategic - Aren't thinking long-term or seeing the big picture
- Not Adaptable - Can't be versatile with different personalities and work styles
- Poor Hiring/Alliances - Don't hire on diverse strengths to build strong teams
- Performance Problems - Corrective action doesn't produce desired growth.
How does one create a resume to reflect a change in career direction?
A resume is a marketing campaign for you and you are the product. You want a sale, position it so the buyer (your future employer) will buy you! A functional resume organized around relevant skills works best for a career change because it plays down career-track jobs and pigeonholing from employment succession. Rather than outline your past employers and job responsibilities, consider grouping your skills like management, business development/sales, communications, and finance into categories and list all the skills you have in these functional areas. You can even include skills you may have gained through civic or extracurricular roles if they belong to you. So, if you never managed anyone at work, but you managed a team at your church or synagogue, you can put that in.
How can I explore a new career while not totally giving up on my current job?
Network. One of the up-sides of the job search (particularly if you're unemployed) is an unencumbered opportunity to build your network. And it's more genuine, because people are seeing you, not your role, title or position. People genuinely like to talk about what they do, and more than that, like to help. So, your job is to create a list of contacts and from it, schedule at least one lunch/coffee meeting each week with someone who is doing the work you'd like to do. Let them know you are curious/interested and exploring. Don't ask them for a job. However, do leave the door open, ask them if you can call if something comes to mind