Tag Archives: career management

Transitioning to a Second Career? 5 Questions to ask yourself first

Second Career Danger Zone Ahead:  5 Questions to ask before leaping

About to embark on a second career, or even a third?  Maybe yours will send you back to school for the first time in years. Like any transition, that can be exciting and scary at the same time.

You completed an intensive career exploration program and found a career where you can be remarkable, given your temperament and interests. They’re saying employers will line up to hire you when you graduate in two years.

Career Exploration is just a first step toward a second career

There are a few more questions you need to answer. I don’t mean the kind of answers you can’t get from the recruiting officer at the local college or by surfing the internet. I mean the honest, unbiased answers you only get from talking to people who actually hire in the new field.

I’ve experienced first-hand a second career transition, from retail lumber manager to corporate banking after an MBA. My resume wasn’t anything like corporate recruiters were seeking. Had I known then what I know now, I could have changed that resume significantly with some targeted activities during my time as a student. In my resume, my appearance and in my answers job interview questions, I needed to look like someone who had already made the transition from manager of a lumber yard to an executive position.

Choose a Second Career Carefully

Choose a Second Career Carefully

If your new career is a very predictable extension of your current career, you don’t need to concern yourself much with these 5 issues. But if there is little or no continuation from old to new, like truck driver to restaurant manager or plumber to librarian, they may matter a lot when it comes to your jobsearch.

You only need one job, but….

Add your new diploma to your current resume. Imagine that you are applying today for the position you want in two years. What’s missing?

Need more accomplishments? If so, between now and graduation, you need to create enough significant accomplishments to make you remarkable.And just completing the requirements of your program won’t make you remarkable.

Suppose your career exploration tells you financial planning would be just right for you. Your dream will differ but the basic issues are the same.

5 Questions to ask before investing your time and money: Continue reading

Should you ever turn down a job promotion?

Job promotions are often welcome, well-deserved and timely as they should be. But that isn’t always true. Early in my career, I was offered an outstanding opportunity that I strongly felt was just not right for me at the time. A promotion when you aren’t ready for all that it entails can be unnecessarily stressful and limit your career options. 

Can you turn down a job promotion?Can you turn down a job promotion?

Can you turn down a job promotion?

Fresh out of my MBA, I was hired into a position with a large association. It was a perfect fit for my temperament and qualifications. I was immediately assigned a few choice projects that provided perfect opportunities to show what I could do. The work that I did on those assignments was well and widely received.

When my boss was promoted to the top position in the organization, he pressed me to apply to replace him. It was flattering but I felt very strongly that it was premature. Any national association is  rife with politics, which had never been a factor in my pre-MBA work experience as a store manager in the retail lumber industry. I was presently insulated from those concerns which suited me fine.

As you probably guessed by now, I accepted the promotion which brought a nice office, a higher salary, status and travel. Over time I learned a great deal about leadership in a large association but the role was never a great fit. And the new job, with a higher salary and title made it much more difficult to move into other employment.

What advice would I give today to that 30 year old version of myself? Continue reading

Don’t Let Resistance Sabotage Your New Years Resolutions

resistanceYou don’t need another me to tell you that we don’t keep most of our resolutions. Every TV station around has served up the obligatory visit to the local Gym.

They interview people who just joined in early January, fully expecting to stick with some new commitment right through to December 31st.  Most don’t. The initial excitement of those commitment quickly fades.

Why Does Resistance Sabotage your Commitments?

Here are three ways to frame those feelings of resistance from authors who have each taught me a great deal: Continue reading

Are you popping buttons on God’s vest?

When you do the most what you do the best, you pop the buttons on the vest of God

Max Lucado

Max Lucado is clear. There is something that you could be doing that would make God very proud. Presumably if you were already doing what that was you would know clearly. No doubt you have met other people who seem to know that they are doing what makes God proudest of them. And if you don’t feel that way too, you may very well wonder where you took a wrong turn. And you may suppose that it is too late for you to get back on track.

I can relate. When you are a minister’s son, you meet lots of folks who knew what they were “called to do” in their teens. They became nurses and ministers, teachers and doctors. They headed off to university and the rest is history. They couldn’t imagine doing anything else and everyone agrees that they are doing the thing that fits them perfectly. Continue reading

6 Job interview questions a blogger should welcome

We all dread certain job interview questions, but with a good answer ready you can actually look forward to any question.

Successfully launching a blog is not easy and just the fact that you have a blog that is in any way career related gives you a conversation starter and icebreaker. But your blog can provide much more than that. Here are a few questions that you can respond to by drawing from your blogging experiences:

Provide an example of your problem solving skills:

If you have successfully launched a blog and sustained it for a significant amount of time, you have solved many problems. So every time you solve a significant problem, write down a short description. Note the nature of the problem and the implications it has for your blog’s availability or effectiveness. Describe exactly your problem solving process. what you did to solve the problem (e.g. use Google, phone a friend etc.). Specify clearly the outcome of the action you took and what you learned if anything. Tell the whole story in less than 60 seconds if possible in a way that is easy to understand. Continue reading

Try Social Media Cross-training for new skills

A couple of days ago I provided a few examples of lessons I have learned through my experience posting photographs on Flickr. After buying my first digital SLR I was looking for a venue to share my photos and to learn about photography. Flickr has provided exactly that. But you don’t draw attention to your photos without learning a few things. Like finding others who find the same things interesting. Here are a few more things I have learned, all of which translate to blogging!

  •  I began photographing sunrises for one simple reason. I can take some nice photos right out the window of my 15th floor condo as the photo at right demonstrates. I found that there are other Flickr members who enjoy these photos (and don’t bore of them too quickly) by joining Flickr groups particularly focused on sunrises and sunsets. I also learned from participating in those groups exactly what other people respond to most strongly. I can recognize other photographers whose photos are clearly superior to mine and ask them to critique my work. Ditto for blogs. Continue reading

5 simple career blog strategies for a first-time blogger

Launching a new blog it may seem like an intimidating project but it doesn’t need to be.

In my last post, I listed 12 benefits of a career-related blog. They are just a start.

If you aren’t sure how to get started on a blog to boost your career out of its rut, there is lots of help available. Start here with a great post and podcast from Michael Hyatt.

What subject matter you could write about might be a mystery for you.

6 ways to find blogging topics: Continue reading

Consider blogging your way out of a career rut

Establishing a blog related to your career can cure a lot of ills. Feeling stuck in a rut is just one. It has never been easier and the benefits have never been clearer.

12 benefits from a career-related blog:

  1. Blogging  gives you, not your employer or anyone else, total control over the heart of career management, your personal brand.
  2. Here’s your chance to broadcast the experience and wisdom you have accumulated in your professional career. You can answer those questions that no one ever asks or provide the advice to a newcomer that you wish someone would tell them. Continue reading

Support Your Inner Careerist

“Nobody ever warns us about behavioural drift” .. Dr. Joshua C. Klapow

Every September I made the same vow. “This year will be different. I’ll be the ideal student, starting assignments the day they are assigned, ask for extra problems in Math, outlining “The Tempest” for English and practicing my Latin vocabulary. Long before Cal Newport wrote his first book for students, I had it all clear in my mind. If I acted on those plans, my high school career would have been stellar. But like many others with good intentions, I drifted and that fall ended pretty much the same way as the previous year did with a mix of Bs and Cs. Usually by early October I had abandoned the dream. It wasn’t until I was a university student that I learned the habits that deliver a consistently high GPA and ultimately earned an MBA.

For a label that describes my high-school pattern, I turn to Dr. Joshua C. Klapow, author of “Living SMART: Five Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever” Apparently, I was experiencing “behavioural drift, going back to my old patterns despite a genuine desire to make a substantial change”. Continue reading

Lesson 2: My camera taught me to be teachable

It was too easy at first. Jump out of bed, grab a quick shot of the beautiful sunrise, post it on Flickr.com and marinade in the compliments. Repeat daily. At first, Mother Nature provided enough variety to ensure that, like snowflakes, the sunrises weren’t exactly identical. But there got to be enough similarity that I needed to do something different. Anyway, I was shooting fish in a barrel. A 10 mile drive to Toronto lake shore changed the perspective and my viewer count surged temporarily. A suggestion from a regular visitor from Scotland jolted me out of my duffer rut. By letting the Toronto skyline remain out of focus, I achieved the result displayed at right. That photo reached 200 views in a couple of days, quadruple my previous high. My Scottish visitor was delighted that I welcomed his advice, apparently something that is rare in his experience. And that is the second lesson. Continue reading