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Career Coaching 101 – What to do when you are in transition

As an executive search firm, Centennial connects with a lot of really talented individuals who are going through career transition.  Whether they are just testing the waters or swimming in the deep waters of an active job search, they want to know – and wisely so – “What is the best way to find a job?”

Of course you don’t want to waste time doing things that are not effective and most people are very eager to land their next job so they can start making a difference in a new organization. I get that and that is why I want to offer my advice, as the CEO of a company who has worked with a lot of people in transition.

As I have coached dozens and dozens of people on the topic of career transition, several reoccurring themes have surfaced that are relevant to everyone.  These reoccurring themes are the areas I want to focus on today.

Coaching for Career Transition

The first bit of advice, which seems paradoxical, is to enjoy this time and make the most of it.  There are some huge benefits to going through the exercises I’m going to recommend.  This can really be a memorable and life changing experience.  So, go into it with an optimistic attitude as opposed to an attitude of dread, fear and frustration.

Beyond the right attitude, there are 3 areas that you should dedicate some time to in order to secure a job that will be fulfilling.  These three things need to be done if you want to ensure you are finding the right job for you – not just an empty seat that you can fill.

  1. Self-reflect
  2. Construct a clear message
  3. Network with purpose

Self-Reflect During Your Transition

Self-Reflection is the foundation to a successful job search.  The reality is, you need time to access your strengths,  weaknesses, your optimal working environment, your passions and your non-negotiables.  These key aspects are not quickly discovered in 2-short minutes.  To really figure out your best fit, you need to reflect on what type of tasks energize you and which tasks usually lead to poor outcomes.  An outside perspective can be extremely eye-opening in this process as well.

The goal of self-reflection is to develop a better idea of who you are and identify the job that you are best suited for.  This helps you to avoid wasting time on the wrong opportunities, and instead, confidently pursue jobs that you know align with who you are and what you are seeking.

Along with reflecting on who you are today, consider who you want to be 3-5 years from now.  Where do you need to plug in today so that you are heading in the right direction for your future?  Figure out the type of environment that will encourage you to put down roots and grow.

Construct a clear message

After you spend some serious time in self-reflection, you must construct a clear message.  Once you are aware of your strengths, weaknesses, passions and so on, you need to be able to articulate them to others.

When you are interviewing, I recommend leading with your perceived liabilities to show what you have already thought about how a weakness can be a positive thing. For example, if you perceive that your lack of industry experience will be a strike against you, have an answer ready to explain why you are still an exceptional candidate.  Let the hiring team know that you have thought about this potential issue and you see it as an advantage.

In general, the clearer you can be with your message, the easier it is for you to find the right job.  When you can clearly state what an organization gains by hiring you, you will leave a lasting impression on the hiring team.  Your competitive advantage over other candidates is being self-aware and knowing how to lead accordingly.

Network with Purpose

Thirdly, I advise you to network with purpose.  This goes beyond telling your best buddies that you are looking for a job.  Now that you have spent time in self-reflection and developing a message, you can confidently tell anyone exactly what you’re looking for.  This allows you to narrow in on the right connections which leads to the right organization.

During this transition time, navigate your way to the people with connections to what you are after.  Deliver your clear message and ask people if they know people in those types of companies.  Tap into your connections to get in front of the right people.  Do not forget your alumni groups, associations, friends, and service providers.

Part of networking with purpose is reciprocating the help.  ALWAYS ask “Is there anything I can do for you?”  You have no idea what they may need, that may be a simple thing for you to make happen.  Remember that the people you are interacting with are not a means to an end.  They are people with needs just like you.  Offer your help and be sure to offer them heartfelt thanks for the time they spend with you.

Don’t Forget the Resume

These 3 aspects are the key to your career search, but I can’t leave out the all-important topic of resume and online presence.  You must have a resume and bios that are noteworthy and eye-catching.  We highly recommend hiring a professional resume writer to help you with this essential piece.  We have an outstanding business partner who can help you if that is an area of need for you.  You can read about her offerings and credentials here.

What I outlined above is the biggest part of what I share with absolutely everyone in transition.  No matter who you are and what career you are looking for, self-reflection, your message, and your network are the key ingredients to help you find the right job for you.