career career coaching career shift Uncategorized

Observations from coaching job seekers

I recently gave a presentation on, “How to Navigate a Career Transition” for the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee.  As I was thinking about what to share in this session, I really felt torn because I really only had 45 minutes or so to present  some key take aways.  Navigating a jump in career can take different forms and can be a relatively planned event or a chaotic chain of unfortunate circumstances.  I decided to cover more of an outline of what I use as a process in identifying direction, strategy and resources to help people along.

One trend that really stood out to me in my experience coaching was that seekers had the most trouble with communicating scope in both their resume and the interview process.  I think that most workers in the field wind up doing their day to day jobs and hitting benchmarks, metrics, or whatever it is called in the organization.  Few stop (or maybe don’t have time)  to reflect on the depth of work they do.  Which is really too bad if you think about it, a worker may spend 8-14 hours in a work day and not even having the chance to contemplate what they have done before tending to the next committment.

Here is an observation I’d like to share: You will do better in position as well as in a career transition if you are aware and conscious of your accomplishments and understand your scope. Here are some examples:

-It’s one thing to tell someone that you are a supervisor.  It’s another thing to say you have been a supervisor in position for  over 5 years, had been responsible for performance management of 55 team members and led that team in the best safety streak the company has seen.

-It’s one thing to say you worked in a coffee shop but it’s another thing to communicate that you’ve trained over 25 employees in the last 18 months in a high volume store.

-It’s one thing to say you’ve taken on special projects but another to tell how you led a process improvement initiative which saved the company 100 labor hours every month.

One way to stay out of this trap is to meet regularly with a mentor to talk about your career experience.  A good mentor can have discussion to help see different angles in situations as well as be a sounding board for your concerns.  Also, by telling someone your goals it kind of forces you to stay on track.  Mentors can either be in your company or outside. A very wise woman in my network recently taught me you can have a ‘kitchen sink’ of people you can regularly count on to help you out.  It doesn’t hurt to tap your regulars for their perspective.

By utilizing this type of resource one can keep professional performance and goals at the forefront as well as get outside perspectives on the situation.  So when it comes time to write your resume or answer the interview question of ‘what was that result?’ you will have plenty of examples in mind because you had been regularly reflecting on them.

career career shift down economy downsizing small business

Making your way in tough times

I was fortunate enough to have had an inspiring conversation today with a woman named Mary. I ran into her when she was looking for a van to add to her business. I asked her what her business was and she shared that it was an online store which sold sport equipment, home, shop and hobby supplies. I was grateful she then told me how it all happened.

Mary shared that she had lost her position with the company she had been with for numerous years. Downsizing had eliminated 70% of the workforce there, an unfortunate number. She had been out of work for a long time, was not even able to get a job at Burger King for minimum wage because they thought she wouldn’t stick around. While unemployment was helping cushion the blow the economy dealt, she had an interesting experience with Ebay. Mary had sold a collection of Disney videos (VHS version) to collectors and brought in a decent profit. She then decided to try selling another lot of a different product and had similar success. This led her to internet commerce where she eventually was able to find out what was selling well and then move into wholesale purchasing (which led to bigger sales and profits). No more need for unemployment!

Now with storefronts on Ebay and Amazon, Mary shared that the business is expanding and brings in 5 digits in sales per month! They are even considering hiring someone to help out with the growth as they can go into more venues. I think this is remarkable that someone had taken the challenges of a down economy and turned it into a business they enjoy. I felt very inspired to share this story with my readers and social media outlets as it inspires hope. Just because one door closes, doesn’t mean that good times end. In fact newer, better things may come after!

Embrace change and welcome new possibilities. One may not know where something leads but I suggest letting spirit guide you and be open to what is in your path. I’ve learned that I may not see why something is happening or how I’m supposed to use what’s in front of me but sometimes when I just accept it that eventually the answers are apparent. I’m grateful Mary shared her story with me and gave me permission to retell it. Think about it and see what opportunities are within you. A positive change may be in your near future 🙂


P.S. Here is a link to Mary’s business. Never had the rubber band gun before…