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Thinking About Career Change? Answer These 4 Crucial Questions First

When many of us leave school, college, or university, often we have no idea what we really want. We often choose a job or career based on what our parents, friends, or career advisors say, or whatever was open and available.

Then, seven years on, we find ourselves in a mediocre situation, with a growing sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction about our work and our place in it. Is it too late to change direction and do something completely new or different?

Of course not!

Life is changing rapidly and dramatically. New careers, ideas, and opportunities are popping up all the time. Things we would never have thought possible just a few years ago have become household favorites virtually overnight. 

Who would have thought that the biggest taxi company in the world could own no taxis? Who would have thought that the biggest online retailer doesn’t have a single product of their own to sell? Who would have thought a whole new industry could be born simply from fast-food delivery?

What Do You Want?

If you want to change career direction, at any age, the first and most important step is to discover is what you want out of life.

  • What interests you?
  • What fascinates you?
  • What do you feel passionate about?

Make a list of each of these important issues and see where they overlap or have commonality. Hidden in there somewhere are the basic elements of a complete change of direction for you.

When you dig into your lists, it’s possible to create a basic plan of careers, jobs, and opportunities to explore that can lead you to a life of fulfillment and happiness.

If you pursue that path as long as it keeps you happy and fulfilled, you’ll probably never look back. However, there might well come a day when life changes and/or you change, and it might be time to change direction again. It happens all the time in this rapidly developing world.

Exploring a New Career

Once you’ve gone through your lists and found some careers that will fulfill your passions and interests, you’ll want to consider for additional questions:

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What am I willing to give up to create something incredible?

Many times, you’ll find that preparing for a new career encroaches on your current life. If this is the case, weigh the costs of time, money, and effort against your current life to help determine which aspect is more important to you.

  • Would you sell your car to fund a program where you could learn new skills and explore new ideas?
  • Would you give up your evenings or your social life to reinvest that time in educating yourself in a completely different career or opportunity?
  • Are you willing to work weekends and evenings to study new concepts, ideas, or strategies?
  •  Are you willing to relocate to another town or state, leaving behind your family and close network of friends to pursue this new career path?

2. Do I care what others will think?

This is an age-old question that stops many people from making changes that could change their life for the better, forever. However, keep in mind that all the time that you’re worried about what other people think, say, or do, you’ll never be free.

  • Consider the maxim, “Whatever other people think of me is none of my business.”
  • We have no way to influence what others think of us other than by setting a good example. Let them think whatever they want while you go out and get things done! Never let those who think it can’t be done interrupt those who are already out there doing it. 

3. Will I be good enough to make it work?

The very fact that you’re reading this says that you’re searching for change, reassurance about change and that something is pulling you forward towards change.

You already considered that there is more to your life than that which you are currently experiencing, and you want to know what it is and get fully engaged with it, right?

Mindset is vitally important. Let your motivation carry you forward. As you take action, a positive mindset will help you overcome any obstacles that may arise.

4. Will it meet my financial goals and needs? 

You’ll want to consider how you’ll monetize your interest and what pursuing that aspect will entail for you. This requires having clarity of what your financial needs and goals are, not just for now, but in the future. For example, are you a new parent (or soon to be) who now needs more housing space, increased expenses in childcare, college savings, etc?

  • What is the cost of living like in the place where the job is located, and how do income and benefits from this new job measure up?
  •  Or you might even ponder if you want to get a new job in this field? Or start your own business? Many people are discovering these days what they can do from their home using the power of the internet and social media.

Your life is entirely under your control and what you do with it is your decision alone. Get busy, make some decisions and take action, and keep moving forward with your ideas and intentions.

The answers may not come overnight, but as long as you pursue what interests you, fascinates you, and makes you happy, you will find the answers that you seek.

Beware of any criticism of your dreams and ideas from anyone you wouldn’t go to for sound advice. After all, opinions are ten a penny. Everyone has them, but opinions are not going to help or support you.

Be relentless in your pursuit of happiness and fulfilment. Go at it like your whole life depends on it. Because it does.

Need help clarifying your life purpose?

I will help you clarify your life purpose and uncover the hidden challenges that are sabotaging your career success. Click the button below to sign up for a quick chat to see if we can work together.

How To Make A Career Change Even In The Middle Of A Pandemic

A client of mine named Hayden (Hayden is actually not his real name) once told me this: “I have done everything that was expected of me since graduating college. I got a well-paying job in a well-known company, excelled in my work, and had been promoted many times. I’ve bought a home, and have traveled quite a bit around the world because of my job. I think I have attained what you will consider a successful career. Yet, I keep feeling unfulfilled… that I am not making any reasonable contribution to society through my work. I feel uninspired driving to work in the morning. I know I want a career change, but I don’t know what to do.”

Hayden went on to share that he feels sick on Sunday nights whenever he thinks about the Monday commute.


Perhaps, you are reading this piece because you feel uninspired about your job like Hayden, or you have other reasons why you want a career change: work-life balance, burn-out, more money, or you need a different type of challenge.

But why continue to suffer in silence and remain depressed?

Reasons Why People Feel Stuck at Their Jobs even Though They Know They Want to Leave

1. Fear: 

One of the main reasons why people stay stuck at their miserable jobs is fear of income or status loss. You may not want to give up what you currently consider a “good-paying” job. You are probably hiding behind that old saying: “a bird at hand is worth two in the forest.”

If you have worked for any number of years, you may have accumulated a number of financial liabilities like mortgage or automobile loan, and you are now starting to feel trapped.

You may also be concerned about losing your status and seniority in your current job and starting a new career as a beginner. Or you may be concerned about what people might say, especially your friends, professional colleagues, and family members.

2. Trying to Figure It Out:

A second reason why people are stuck in their job is because they keep analyzing it.

It’s called analysis paralysis. Psychology Today describes analysis paralysis (AP) as the inability to move forward with a decision or action as a result of overanalyzing or overthinking a problem. I mean, the reason why you’re here reading this is because you are still “trying to figure it out.”

The problem is: if trying to figure it out is the way to get the answer you would have gotten it a long time ago.

3. Self-Sabotage:

This is the one that is the most insidious. Many people know they want a career change, but they keep standing in the way of their own progress by giving themselves all kinds of excuses.

You may be thinking you are not good enough, or that you don’t have the degree or certification or experience.

Or you might think that you are too old to start a new career and keep telling yourself that you will not be able to catch up to those who are already on that career path.

The fact of the matter, however, is that if you truly want a new career, you can easily overcome all of these challenges by doing the following things:

What To Do To Make A Career Change

1. Know Why You Want A Career Change: 

You must be clear about why you want a career change. Do not rush to a career change just for the sake of making a change; you may end up jumping from the frying pan to the fire.

Ask yourself these questions: Is your current job out of alignment with your purpose and values? Do you want more money, more flexibility, or more time with your family?

Do you want a career change because of a change in your health, family status, or residence? Do you want a change because you hate your boss or you cannot stand your co-workers?

Be clear-eyed why you want a career change.

2. Start Moving:

Do not get stuck with analysis-paralysis. Once you’re clear about why you want a change, stop analyzing and start taking action.

Sometimes, when clients say to me that they have no idea what to do, what they are actually saying is that they have plenty of options, but they don’t know which one to take. They are afraid of getting it “wrong again,” so they freeze.

Yet, you cannot achieve the career dream you seek until you start moving.

You should start trying different things in the areas of your new interest, or as they say, start testing the waters.

Enroll in classes (online or in your local community college) in one of those areas you are thinking about. You may even decide to get a relevant certification or two.

Online learning is exploding right now. Take advantage of it. There are many great sites like LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, Udemy, Lynda.com, Cousera, 360Training and a whole host of them out there.

Join online forums and ask questions about what those career fields are like. You may also try your hands at a side hustle, freelancing, or blogging in the new industry of your interest, if possible. 

These actions will help you filter out the options that are not for you. 

3. Leverage Your Network:

If there is any time you seriously need your professional network, it’s now. Use it, but of course, respectfully. And remember to pay it forward after your successful career change.              

When you’re making a change to a career or industry in which you have limited work experience, networking is the most important tool in your job search kit.

Remember that old saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know…”? That is so true. Networking is one of the most important strategies for tapping into the unpublished job market.

Networking can help you get around the stumbling block of the resume filtering system, which many businesses use these days to automate part of their hiring process.

So, be sure to update and optimize your LinkedIn profile; and get active with your alumni offices and networks. Hit up your former colleagues; and use your church or sports groups or reading club.

4. Market Your Strength and Talent:

In the popular book, Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry wrote emphatically: “Embrace this fact: it’s rarely the best qualified candidates who win the most coveted positions. Instead, it is most often the person who ‘packages’ his experiences best to meet the needs of employers.” In other words, the people who best market their talents win.

Indeed, one of the best ways of getting around the feeling of inadequacy when you are job hunting is to market your strengths and talent.

Your personal brand and marketing strategy are what determine if you even get the interview. In other words, you must identify your unique strengths and talents, and communicate them in a way that makes you stand out from other job searchers, and hence, irresistible to the employer.

If you have been working for any number of years, you have likely accumulated some transferable skills that a new employer might find valuable.

Employers are especially happy when a candidate’s strengths match the particular needs they are looking for. But you have to show it; don’t leave it to the hiring officer to guess.

Do not apologize for what you think might be your deficiencies, or what you don’t have – rather highlight what you do have.

For example, instead of apologizing for your youthful age and relatively little experience, emphasize your youthful vigor and energy to work even longer hours if need be, or flexibility to quickly relocate to another branch of the firm if you get a hint that such might be in the works.

Conversely, if you’re an older applicant, emphasize your experience, knowledge and wisdom and even useful connections that you can bring to the new job.

Apologizing for what you don’t have might be seen as a sign of a lack of confidence. You have to believe that you’re uniquely qualified for the new position precisely because of your unique background, strength or talent, not in spite of, so you can move forward with confidence.

CONCLUSION

Stop suffering in silence at a job (or even career) you hate. You should step out to pursue a job that is meaningful to you, the kind of work that energizes and fulfills you, that brings you excitement and a sense of purpose. And it’s within your reach, no matter the political and economic conditions.

Are you thinking about career change, but don’t know where to start?

I will help you clarify your life purpose and uncover the hidden challenges that are sabotaging your career success. Click the button below to sign up for a quick chat to see if we can work together.


How to Craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short, compelling introduction of who you are and what you do, that can be delivered in 60 seconds or less.

This is an important asset for your job search.

Imagine that you stepped into the elevator and behold, right in front of you, is the CEO of that company you have been dreaming about working for. Just the two of you! And the CEO asks you: “What do you do?” Can you communicate to him who you are, what you do, and how you can contribute to his organization within the time it takes to ride that elevator to his floor?

 The key here is to be succinct, unique and memorable.

Although the usual imagery is the elevator ride, this pitch can be used anywhere when introducing yourself to people… during job interviews, at networking events, at conferences, during sales pitches or anywhere else where it is necessary to market yourself.

The perfect elevator pitch does not come by chance. You have to craft it, and practice it. The following suggestions can help you prepare and present your introduction.

Preparing Your Perfect Elevator Pitch


1.Watch 30-second Television Commercials:

Yes, you read that right. Spend some time in front of the television (or on YouTube) and watch a bunch of good 30-second ads. Pay attention to how the presenters try to convince you to buy the product or service. This simple exercise will help you understand the idea behind “marketing” yourself in 60 seconds or less.

2. Pen and Paper:

You will need to write down your pitch. And you will have to go through multiples drafts. You’ll be able to tell if it flows well and covers all the essential points.

3. Clarify your goals: 

Identify what you consider to be the goal of the pitch. Perhaps you’re targeting a specific position at a certain company. Maybe you want to explore a range of opportunities related to teaching biology or selling real estate.

4. Quantify your achievements:

Summarize your accomplishments. Be specific. Consider these two intro: “I am great at sales,” or “I turned around sales performance of a last-placed branch to #1 out of 67 in two years.” Which one do you think will raise the interest of that CEO in the elevator?

5. Focus on your audience:

Think about what your listener needs and discuss the benefits you could deliver to them. State your ability to enhance quality, save money, or create more efficient systems. Be prepared with more details in case there are any questions.

6. Emphasize your strengths: 

Use a positive statement about your qualifications that focuses on your strengths. During the interview process, you may be asked about your weaknesses, but you can worry about that later.

7. Keep it brief: 

You want a pitch that would fit into the average elevator ride of about 30 seconds to 2 minutes. In most cases, that means less than 200 words. Cut out industry jargon and any redundancies.

Presenting Your Elevator Pitch

1. Craft multiple versions: 

Adapt your elevator pitch to a variety of circumstances. That way you can respond if you have extra time. You’ll also be able to talk to industry insiders and other professionals who are less familiar with your background.

2. Practice, practice, practice:

Practice while looking in a mirror. Talking out loud will help you determine if your speech sounds natural. Ask friends to let you practice on them. Use their feedback to make revisions. Record yourself and play back the recording to gauge how you sound. Be sure you are not talking too fast.

3. Stay up to date:

Review your pitch on a regular basis. There may be buzzwords that grow stale over time and need to be replaced. Also, you may have earned new credentials that you want to include.

4. Spend time listening:

Watch for the other person’s reactions and listen to their comments. Ideally, you’ll open up a two-way conversation. Pick someone you admire and pay attention to the way they introduce themselves. It could give you some worthwhile ideas.

5. Project confidence: 

Start out with a firm handshake as long as it’s appropriate for the setting and situation. Radiate enthusiasm. Hold your head up high and smile. Make eye contact for a few seconds.

6. Follow up: 

Think of your pitch as the first step in a longer process. Give out and collect business cards. Suggest getting together for coffee to continue a discussion.

The perfect elevator pitch stirs people’s curiosity and makes them want to learn more about you. Equip yourself with an introduction that will show potential employers why you would be a valuable addition to their team.

How to Use Mock Job Interviews to Land Your Dream Job

It’s natural to feel nervous about job interviews. But you can use mock interviews to gain confidence and make a better impression on a potential employer.

Mock interview is a stress-free way to explore your strengths and weaknesses in an interview process. It can help you find out which part of an interview process you are good at, and which part you need to work on. I mean, if you’re going to bomb a question, wouldn’t you rather prefer to have it be in a mock interview?

Mock practices are important preparation strategies.

Attorneys use mock trials to prepare for real trials. They get volunteer judge, plaintiff and defendant, witnesses, jury and opposing attorneys, and test out their legal arguments and theories with each other.

Politicians use mock debates to prepare for the real debates during elections.

Some students take mock SAT or GRE (practice SAT or GRE) to help them prepare for the real thing.

Mock interview is a good way to build confidence in yourself. You begin to feel more comfortable with the whole interview process … perhaps, even begin to feel like a pro.

Mock job interviews help you sharpen your pitch. Remember that old saying: practice makes perfect.

Preparing for a Mock Interview

1. Do your research:

Act like you’re preparing for the real thing, starting with comprehensive research. Identify the industry and the type of position you want. It may be helpful to use an actual job description from a specific company to keep you focused.

2. Rehearse answers to common questions:

Put together a list of questions that are likely to get asked in an interview. Practice a brief opening statement describing your qualifications. You can customize this for each situation. Go over your job history and training to extract several success stories that demonstrate your abilities, competencies and potentials.

3. Develop your own questions:

Brainstorm relevant questions you can ask to demonstrate your interest and knowledge about the job opening. Find out how industry trends are affecting your potential employer. Clarify aspects of the organizational culture that may not be described in its written materials.

4. Choose your mock interviewer carefully:

A friend who works in human resources may be an ideal choice. Someone with a managerial position in your chosen field can also be helpful. Look for someone who can devote adequate time and take the task seriously.

5. Discuss your goals:

Have a preliminary talk with the person who’s helping you. Share what you want to achieve with them. Let them know that you appreciate candid feedback on your entire performance, from body language to verbal responses. An outside observer can help you identify any distracting mannerisms you may have.

6. Select a neutral setting:

Try to hold your interview in the same type of setting you want to work in. If you’re looking for an office job, visit your friend’s office before work or book a meeting room at a local restaurant.

7. Dress the part:

Wear your interview suit. It will help to put you into the right mindset and give your friend a chance to confirm that you’re dressing appropriately.

Conducting a Mock Interview

1. Record your session:

A video or audio recording provides helpful documentation. You’ll be able to see how much you really fidget or how often you insert the word “like” into your sentences.

2. Repeat as often as possible:

Schedule as many drills as you need to get comfortable and competent with the interview process. Ask your friend to vary their questions and approach each time. Keep track of your progress.

3. Work on your greeting and closing:

Everything you do contributes to the impression you make on your potential employer. Learn to shake hands smoothly while you’re carrying a briefcase. Prepare concise closing statements that sound natural while expressing your gratitude and enthusiasm.

4. Finish up with a debriefing:

Review every session with the person helping you. Gather all the advice you can. Write down what you need to work on, as well as the areas where you succeed in making improvements.

5. Watch yourself in a mirror:

It’s best to train with another person, but using a mirror is the next best thing if no one else is available. You’ll be able to see whether you look poised or anxious. Watch your hand gestures and observe your facial expressions. Even if you do have someone to help you, practicing with a mirror is a valuable supplement to your mock interviews.

6. Consider professional services:

If you want to go a step further, explore professional services. Most universities offer a wide range of support through their career service centers. Employment agencies or career coaches are good resources to explore.

So, go ahead and try some mock interviews. They can help you ace your next real interview and land your dream job.

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