How to Prepare for Your Next Big Career Move
You’ve reached an impasse at your current job. Your pay and responsibilities aren’t going anywhere, and you’re ready for a new opportunity to grow your career and income. Except for the burning question: What, exactly, does that look like?
To land a new job, you’ll need to perfect your resume and refine your cover letters. But if you think that’s all that goes into a career move, you’re mistaken. In order to be the most competitive candidate, you need a strategic approach to your job hunt. Keep in mind that job hunting is a lot like defining a market when you own a business; you have to know what you have to offer, and be able to provide it without hesitation. Here’s where to start.
Know Your Career Roadmap
There are many opportunities out there for job seekers at all levels, but not all of them are the right fit for you. To identify the opportunities best-suited to your experience and career goals, lay out a roadmap for your career. Think about where you are now and what skills you have to offer, then consider where you’d like to be in five to 10 years. Don’t just examine the expertise you want to develop; consider the culture you want in a company, and seek out organizations with a good cultural fit. Ask the hard questions, and demand honesty from potential employers. After all, issues like ageism and misogyny are still present in today’s workplace, and you don’t want to end up at a company that allows either.
Curate Your Online Presence
A resume lays out your qualifications, but it doesn’t give employers the full picture of who you are. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to showcase how you’re unique. Rather than trying to cram information into your resume and cover letter, use your online presence to define your personal brand.
It’s guaranteed that employers will look at your LinkedIn profileand Google your name to learn more about you. Make sure your social media and personal website reflect your recent work history and that personal profiles show nothing controversial. If search results return hits you’d rather employers not see, contract with a reputation management agency, which can develop blog posts, press releases, and other online content that showcases your accomplishments while pushing negative content further into the search results.
Revitalize Your Network
Your professional network is an invaluable resource in your job hunt. Your network can alert you to opportunities, put in a good word with employers, and get you past the hiring gatekeepers. Ideally, you’ve nurtured your network all along, but if you’ve let connections lapse, renew them now. It’s awkward reaching out after a long period of silence, but it’s better than not reaching out at all.
Stay Abreast of Industry Trends
When you hold a position for a long time, you learn a lot about that particular niche but fall behind on broader industry trends. You’ll need a strong understanding of the changes and challenges organizations face in order to present yourself as an expert in the field, so if your industry knowledge has fallen out of date, spend time on research before launching a job search. Catching up on industry news is a great excuse to reconnect with old networking leads. You can also dig into research reports, industry publications, and influential blogs and social media profiles to find the latest news.
Learn How to Talk About Your Accomplishments — And Failures
Job interviews are full of hard-hitting questions, so make sure you’re prepared to answer them. Articulating career accomplishments with compelling storytelling is important, but be ready to talk about your failures, too. The ability to admit to your failures and show how you’ve grown — without complaining or deflecting blame — shows employers you have the integrity to serve their organization.
Think Outside the Box
Maybe you need more than just a new job, working for someone else. Entrepreneurship is a smart way to reshape your career. It’s loaded with benefits, like setting your own schedule and choosing with whom you work. It’s also loaded with responsibilities, since the buck stops with you.
If you decide to start your own business, make sure you apply the same level of discernment and attention to detail that has served you well in your career so far. In addition to choosing the right name, you’ll need a well-thought business plan, a detailed market analysis, and the right legal structure. The latter can be daunting, but there are online services that help. For a small fee, they’ll walk you through the required steps to register with your state. Once that is done, you’ll be ready for customer zero!
A big career change is a high-stakes move, especially if you have a family. If you dive in unprepared, you could make a bad impression with the very people you’re hoping to impress. Taking these steps before pitching yourself to prospective employers will set your job search on the right track and pave the way for future success.
If you are looking to connect with a group of passionate, hard-working women leaders ages 50 and older, please get in touch!
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I recall being asked to write a short biography for when I worked as a Management Research Fellow back in my early forties. I had secured working with the fabulous Professor David Buchanan and his team at Cranfield Business School . The first thought was “goodness me what’s that for?” and “why would anyone want to read my biography” even if it was only 150 words. The second thought was I have nothing to say. I thought “I am not clever enough!” at the time I had not even started my Masters! I had the cold hand of doubt on my heart telling me I was not good enough. I plucked up my courage and spoke to David in his sunny, book filled office, suggesting it really would not matter if I didn’t write a biography and that I had no Masters or PHd to add to my name, I had left school and gone straight to work at 18 fully intending to plan for further education the following year and get a degree in social care but the weekly brown envelope with money soon drew me in and I started to work in retail deciding I did not really need that degree .
So now I was kicking myself that I had to write this biography of 150 words about myself for an international renowned business school. I was a bit stuck. The training courses I lapped up over the years and even the Diploma in Management Studies felt pre-school next to these great scholars and researchers I was now rubbing shoulders with. David sat me down, smiled and said :Why did we invite you as a manager to work on our research?”I blinked back at him waiting for the answer (he is a researcher and skilled interviewer can wait for answer), when I realised I had to provide it, I recalled and mumbled that at my interview he told he needed me as I had (at the time almost 20 years in experience in managemnt’.) “That’s correct Ciara and what have you managed?” he asked. “I have managed services within large complex hospitals, implemented service transformation and innovation…..I stopped. “This Ciara is your biography, describe what you do and what you have done. We have employed you to work with us based on your experience. We have the degrees, we have the PHds we do not have your workplace experience and in depth knowledge of hospitals. We need you”.
I finally wrote my 150 word biography. Lesson learned. I mattered, I had something others did not.
Over three years ago I set up the Female Leaders At Fifty network. Since it’s Inception sharing biographies of the women who are part of this network, writing blogs about women behind the network has been really key.
Feedback on these biographies and the blogs has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, when I suggest or ask some members that they too could present their biography or write a blog they respond by saying “oh no not me, I’m not interesting enough” or “oh haven’t you got anyone better than me ?”
In creating a Bio you are branding yourself, you are telling people
this is what I stand for
this is what I do
here is what I can offer you.
All the women within our network are talented , they are creative, they are beautiful and most of all they are smashing their glass ceilings, raising families , caring for their parents, studying, taking on physical challenges …. we are every woman.
So if you haven’t written a bio ever or in a long time – do it now, You will be amazed at what you have actually achieved and I’m sure you won’t be able to contain it in 150 words……,
Looking to thrive in your 50s and beyond? Then you need helpful professional, leadership, and life resources like this one from Female Leadership at Fifty. Subscribe to the blog today.
This year’s vision is to build the network, create a brand-new website, and develop it further so we can create groups of advisors and signpost you and future members to what you need or are interested in.
Creativity and Leadership are intertwined.
I spent my happiest years at art college learning so many different techniques, artistic mediums, and doing what students do! But when I finished and walked away with my degree, I struggled to find a job in the creative space.
Fortunately, I had a back-up plan, having worked in bars and shops since the age of fourteen, I decided to find a temporary job in retail whilst I found the perfect creative position. Guess what? Twenty-five years passed by and I had become a Divisional Executive!
I mourned my creative career daily but applied my creative thinking to my job and it was like magic. The ability to see the end result clearly, within seconds of understanding the problem set me apart from my peers and I became a supervisor, then a department manager, then a stock investigation officer, then a store manager……the gift that just keeps giving.
But guess what? Most ‘creatives’ have this innate power to creatively problem solve, yet they are often overlooked or lack the confidence to step into a leadership role and take risks. I want to break down those limitations that are in place, on both sides, and see and feel the change when women step into their creative power. That is why I decided to become a ‘Creative Genius Consultant’. Yes, I consult with Creative Geniuses to help them to launch, grow and scale their creative business and make more money.
I do this because I am one of those rare breeds that has been successful in both arenas. It is my duty to share. So, I manifested my Creative Business Academy to help female entrepreneurs to step into their creative power and become the leader in their life and business. I want to share some of my steps into ‘Creative Leadership’, because the more people that understand there is nothing wrong with them because they think and see ‘differently’ the better this planet we live on will become (personal opinion disclaimer – you don’t have tothink, see or be like me!).
What you see IS possible: I know that you may see in pictures and those around you just won’t get it. Let me tell you a story. I walked into my first store as a newly appointed manager and there really wasn’t much that was right. The team were deflated, nervous about this odd woman coming in as a manager (after all there were no women managers), the store was seriously underperforming, unwelcoming and the service was shocking. I think I was being tested! But I saw what I knew it could look like, feel like and absolutely be like. It was vivid this picture in my head, all I had to do was figure out the ‘how’ and I knew this would already exist in the hearts and minds of that deflated team. I just had to coax it out.
Fast forward twelve months and we had the best performing store in the company (over 800 stores!). I was being ‘visited’ by everyone and their granny in disbelief that I could have sales of +376%YOY.
What you believe IS true: I believe in my vision and in my creative ability to get there. I have always inherently believed it because my dad told me I could be anything and do anything I imagined. So, I imagined myself into everything I wanted. 98% of children are creative, unfortunately academic subjects are favoured and it is ‘trained’ out of them in favour of a proper job. Those who know creativity sets them apart in a crowd go on to achieve success whatever they do, and the rest settle and live within the constraints of societies expectations of them. Creative’s are often seen as the weird and the whacky in society, the dreamers, but they are also the change bringers. Think – Einstein, Da Vinci, Picasso, Michelangelo, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Leymah Gbowee, J K Rowling and so many more.
You may not immediately associate all of these as creative, but they absolutely were/are creative thinkers and leaders. If I can feel it, then I can see it, then I can create it: Many creative people are communicating a feeling, a desire, an ending. It is the same in leadership. As the leader you want the team of people who you work side by side with to feel their way to a better future.
How will they feel to be a part of a high performing team?
How will they feel to secure their future success?
How will YOU feel when the job is done, and you can promote your right-hand woman and move on to the next project. It is like finishing that painting and starting a blank canvas, exciting and filled with whatever design is in your head. Feel it and create it. You have my permission to go and be the creative leader that you were born to be.
Everything else in life is just like the operation in a business, you learn how to do it, do it, retire and die. So, how much more joyful and purposeful can this journey we are all on be if we tap into our ‘Creative Leadership’ power and make the journey one of our own design?
Love & colour
To contact Mandy
Website – www.violetauraart.comFacebook personal page, I am happy to accept friend requests: http://bit.ly/2TbzDdwFacebook Biz page: http://bit.ly/2uxk45ULinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandyrussell/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mandyjnicholson/