Career Changers and Job Seekers Take Heart – You Only Need to Find ONE
Career changers and job seekers are often looking for greater alignment between their natural talents, honed skills, and genuine passions in life. This is a perfectly wonderful intention and I applaud the courage and enthusiasm one must find to plunge into the unknown. At some point, your enthusiasm may waver and your courage turn to doubt. During these darker times, I want you to know and remember that you only need to find ONE person willing to give you a chance.
In the age of AI software and online job application processes, switching careers or jobs can feel daunting and depress even the hardiest job seekers. There are certainly ways to strategically arrange your resume and highlight your relevant experience to align with what you what. Chances are though, you haven’t had the job title in the past that you are looking to have in the future. This puts you at a disadvantage to those other applicants who have had a linear career path and come with a pre-populated and strongly aligned job title. As a career or job changer, sitting behind a computer, sending resumes off into the ether is not your highest value activity.
What is a high-value activity? People tell you to network, but it’s the last thing you want to do. You are in a place of uncertainty, which is uncomfortable. The idea of networking from this place of discomfort feels like a root canal.
Take heart. You can do this.
Remember. You only need to find ONE person willing to give you a chance. There are people out there who do think out of the box. There are people out there who will see that your unique mix of skills, talents, and experience will be an asset to their company. Your story will make sense to them. You will present as having all the right elements, even if your recent job titles don’t match your future one. Your job right now is to find these people – the out of the box thinkers, the creative problem solvers, the people who are willing to see you for the value you bring.
To my clients, I recommend finding these people through a genuine connection. This means having REAL conversations with REAL people!
Start easy. Start by asking people who know you and love you and care about your happiness to meet you for coffee, or talk with you on the phone or video. These are friends, relatives, former colleagues and managers with whom you were close, and former teachers or professors with whom you had a strong connection. These people will be more likely to say yes to your request for 20-30 minutes of their time. These are also the people with whom you will feel more comfortable speaking awkwardly about your story. From these conversations, you will get some leads and they will ask you questions and offer feedback on your story that will help you to hone your narrative.
Once you are ready for the next level, do a search in your LinkedIn network. Look for people doing the job you want to do, and/or working for a company you want to work for, and/or working in the industry you want to break into. If you are a 1st-degree connection, message them. If you are a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection, use a free 30-day trial of LinkedIn Premium to send InMails. You can also see who you know that is a 1st-degree connection with both you and the person you want to send the conversation request to, and then ask your 1st-degree connection to make an intro for you. Asking to be introduced is a more time-consuming method, however, if you get lucky your 1st-degree connection knows that person well, and could easily get a yes to your conversation request.
Set a goal of 50 coffee chats by xx date. Set subgoals of xx number of coffee chats per week, and xx number of outreach actions per day. Based on your subgoals, calculate how long it should take you to achieve your goal of 50 coffee chats. If this is too long, adjust your subgoals upward.
As you complete your first 10 coffee chats, you will start to generate momentum. Your story flows more easily and your vision is more informed. You are feeling positive, which sparks enthusiasm and motivates you to further action. You have created a virtuous circle. You meet one person willing to give you a chance, then you start to meet other people who seem open to giving you a chance. Real opportunities begin to emerge. Your conversations become a mixture of introductory coffee chats, ideating around specific opportunities, requests to apply to jobs, actual interviews, and negotiations.
When you feel like you have identified an exciting opportunity and things are looking good, keep going. Do not stop your coffee chat activity. The best outcome is for you to have more than one opportunity to consider. This gives you something to negotiate against, options, choice, freedom, and personal power.
Take heart. You can do this.
Guess what? Kelly is the one! Need help wrapping your mind and your career history around the coffee chats plan? Craft your story, define your goals, and create your virtuous circle with a compassionate coach. Contact Kelly for a FREE 30-minute session – available to all first-time clients.