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.