Category Archives: career transition

Tapping into your Parent’s Network for Your Post Graduate Job Search

My oldest will be graduating in May; so this is written for all  the upcoming college graduates.

Maybe you are reluctant to ask your mom or dad if they would help you to build your  professional network.  Don’t be.

Tapping a wider network of professional contacts can advance your job hunt, especially for recent graduates who are still figuring out their professional identities and their job search strategies.

Ask first, then contact.

Ask for some specific introductions and names of people in companies you are interested in.  Then ask your connection to tell you about the person, their career, expertise, and how long they’ve known each other.

When you introduce yourself to the contact, write a personal note, something like: “You know my Mom; she speaks highly of you as a respected leader in Community Development. I’ll be graduating this May and would like to connect with you.”

Have conversations.  Don’t ask for a job.

Learn to have conversations with people. Approach contacts with an “information gathering” perspective.  If the person is available for a brief conversation, ask how they got started in their career, what challenges they faced and any advice they can share with someone getting started in the industry. Use your curiosity to learn about different career options.

Keep in mind that most professionals are happy to help you if they can.  Many like the opportunity to pay-it-forward by helping young professionals make connections and by opening doors.

Be professional.

When someone you know gives you access to their network, recognize its value and treat it with respect. Approach each contact professionally and be sure to follow up.

Don’t forget to follow up with the person who provided the initial contact (whether it’s your mom, dad, neighbor or other relative). Be sure to let them know how your efforts are going.  Your contact may want to send their own note of appreciation.

If you are a college student about to graduate, finish strong and best of luck in your job search!

Serendipity – a fortunate happenstance in your job search

Networking as one of the key components of a successful job search.  As a career coach, I encourage and teach my clients to have what I refer to as “information gathering” conversations as one of the components of their job search strategy. Some career coaches and recruiters refer to these as “exploratory interviews.”  Whatever you call it – networking is key to your job search success.  Especially when you consider that statistically between 65-80% of new jobs are secured through referrals.

Networking and talking to people who work at companies that you are interested is all about building relationships.  Learning how others got their start in their career, or what projects a company is working on, can help you focus your direction, learn about new career options, and reflect on your potential fit with an organization.

Building relationships is a powerful networking tool. Not only are you building your professional network, you could be “the” one who gets a phone call when a new position opens up. You can have conversations with people, whether their company has any current job openings or not. Keep in mind, that most companies welcome employee referrals of high-caliber talent.  Being proactive in your search and making connections can help open doors for you. These conversations can bridge the distance between where you are in your career today and where you want to be.

As a quick anecdote:  Remember the call I received from one of my coaching clients, sharing how she “serendipitously” received a call about a new job opportunity from someone she sat down and had an information gathering conversation with a few months ago?  Well, I’m happy to report back that she secured the job offer and is now working in her dream role in a new industry!

If you want to learn more about how to have information gathering conversations, please feel free to contact me. And if you have your own “serendipitous” experience  – I’d love to hear about it!

Believe in yourself

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

When’s the last time you really believed in yourself?  Get honest with yourself.  When it comes to your career, when was the last time you believed that you could get that promotion or pursue your utopian career goals?

Let’s face it. The wear and tear of lack of appreciation or recognition for your contribution at work takes a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.  After a while you stop believing that what you do makes a difference, or that you really are capable of doing more, of contributing at a greater level.  So you start going through the motions.  Showing up for work when your heart really isn’t in it anymore.  That’s even more exhausting; you leave work tired, so you sit on the couch and watch TV numbing out your feelings so you don’t have to face the pain you are really feeling.  Yet that quiet voice refuses to be quiet.  It’s nudging you to step forward.  To take a chance.  To dream again.  To believe in you again.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  ~ Henry Ford

If you feel frustrated in your current position, undervalued, unappreciated and feel called to do something else with your life you may wonder where to begin. Often as a career coach, I get asked by clients how to rediscover their passion and discover new options for the next chapter in their career.

In my opinion, one of the best career guide books out there is “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles.  The seven stories analysis is a career assessment exercise that has helped thousands of job seekers discover truths about themselves.  Discovery hidden talents and unique abilities is what we use to develop their unique value proposition as part of their strategic job search plan.

“Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities.  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. “ ~ Norman Vincent Peale

As we begin a wondrous new year, I encourage you to believe in yourself again.  Believe in your dreams.  Give yourself permission to pursue your career goals –   a happier you, a more appreciated you, and a more meaningful career path awaits.  Begin.

Yes, you can!

This week I’ve talked to three of my coaching clients who were experiencing different levels of frustration. The job search isn’t going as smoothly as they would like.  Interviews aren’t getting scheduled as quickly as they’d like. One has accepted a better offer, advanced in her career; yet it’s not her utopian role.

Job search frustration, with a side of FEAR. What if you don’t get the job you really want?  What if you don’t transition into your ideal role?

Well, what if you do?  What if you can land the career of your dreams?

Many of us have the voice of the naysayer, the critic, ever present, constantly projecting negative outcomes.  The committee that won’t stop talking.  Today, that voice needs to stop.

When you doubt your abilities, feel discouraged, or are on the verge of despair, don’t give up.   I pray that you hear another voice telling you,“You can do it and you will!”

No one said a job search or job transition was easy. It’s hard work. Even when you are using a strategic job search road map.  Even when you are leveraging the power of networking, reaching out and establishing connections with key contacts at your target potential employers.  Relationships take time.  Building trust and credibility takes time.  Having the right doors open takes time.  Be patient and persist.

I know you can do this.  You are worthy of engaging in work that you are both capable of and passionate about.   If today you are frustrated, give yourself permission to feel your feelings; just remember feelings aren’t facts.  Don’t let your feelings derail you from taking action toward your career goals.

Pause and reflect on what brings you the most joy and satisfaction in your work?  Would you like to feel that way more than less?  Visualize you in your dream job.

Now, take an honest inventory of the actual work you’ve completed this week in your job search.  How many new contacts did you make?  Networking events that you attended?  Number of calls to former colleagues who are working in your target niche or who have connections that could help you?  If you didn’t reach your target job search activities; then recommit to completing the actions next week.

ACTION is the magic key.  Keep taking positive actions forward.  Make the call.  Send the LinkedIn request to connect.  Call your former colleague; catch up on projects they are working on and bring them up to date on your career goals.

Keep believing. Keep taking positive steps daily toward your goals.  You can do this!  You are not alone, I’m here every step of the way cheering you on.

May you hear my voice encouraging you: “You CAN do this, and you will.”