In today’s war for talent, mature job seekers have a unique opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. We’ll be covering all things career in a four-part series, and this week we are garnering insight from Indy Maven member, executive and leadership coach, and sought-after speaker, Beth St. Clair of Actup Consulting.
In our first round, we’ll be tackling your career from a holistic perspective. What are employers looking for today? How do you make the jump from individual contributor status? What if you’ve got a career gap to account for, or what if it’s time for something entirely new? Beth has some insight for you, no matter where you are in your career journey.
FOR THOSE FEELING THAT A CHANGE IS IN ORDER, BUT AREN’T SURE WHERE TO START:
“When I have made career shifts, it has not been overnight, and the answer was not clear right away. Bummer, I know! This phase is called ‘exploration’ and it can require time. If you are in it, you know it can be highly frustrating because the answer takes time to reveal itself,” Beth admitted.
“Some years ago, I heard Tony Hsieh (former CEO of Zappos.com) speak. He posed the question to the audience: ‘What would you do for the rest of your life even if you were not paid a dime?’ I love this question because it forces us to focus on what we really feel passionate about; what makes us feel alive and fulfilled. Ask yourself this question and keep getting curious about your response. Clarity will come, I promise!”
What would you do for the rest of your life even if you were not paid a dime?
FOR JOB SEEKERS LOOKING TO MAKE A CAREER SHIFT OR CHANGE FIELDS:
“Use your network! Connect with people in this new field and ask them directly: What would someone like me need to do or have to be able to make a successful career change? The easy response is often more school. And this absolutely could be right for you. Given the level of financial investment though — is it worth it to challenge yourself to think through other options? [Consider] online workshops, certifications, project-based work in your new field at night, mentors in the field, etc… There is so much information available now. Can you get creative here?” Beth prompted.
“Understand your why. Is it because you find a different field more intriguing? Because you can contribute in a more meaningful way? Because your skills and passion are pointing you in a different direction? If you understand your [own unique] why, it will be much easier to communicate this to potential employers when you are at that stage.”
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN RE-ENTERING THE WORKFORCE AFTER TIME AWAY:
“My thought here is to lean into the life experiences you had while you were away. For example, if you were away on an extended maternity leave to start your family, what have you learned during that time? Who have you become and how have you evolved?” Beth offered.
“I know for me, starting my family and taking time away gave me a much larger perspective that has helped me be a more effective leader. I do not sweat the small stuff nearly as much now — and tend to give myself and others permission to make mistakes and grow (something that was much harder for me to do when I didn’t have kids! Enter: Cannot control everything!),” she continued.
Beth added, “To build your confidence, understand what has changed in your field or area of interest while you were away. Connect with a few people in your field, do some reading, and make connections for yourself on how you can contribute even MORE now. You got this!”
FEELING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ITCH?
Check out next week’s newsletter for a conversation with Kristen Cooper, CEO and Founder of The Startup Ladies.
Natalie Derrickson is a freelance writer who is obsessed with cracking the code of the intersection of career fulfillment and life’s purpose. You can find her on LinkedIn.
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