career

How to prepare for your next career move | Cody McBride |Women Behind The Network Series |Female Leaders At 50 Network

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 wish that I had duck feet…. Women Behind the Network- Female Leaders At 50 – Sweet Gill

I wish that I had duck feet

…and I can tell you why.

You can splash around in duck feet.

You don’t have to keep them dry.

I loved reading this wonderful children’s book by Dr. Seuss to my three boys when they were young. First published in 1965 and with cartoon illustrations, it’s a simple story about a boy who wishes that he could have different animal parts such as duck feet, a whale spout and a long, long tail. He thinks this will give him an advantage over his nemesis Big Bill Brown. The boy quickly finds out there are consequences to pretending to be someone else.

It got me thinking about how we adopt certain styles of leadership depending on the business situation we find ourselves in – it could be to connect more fully with customers; to launch a new product to stay ahead of competitors; to adapt strategically when uncertain times emerge or to simply be excellent communicators and motivate our team. What should a good leader look like? Is there such a thing as a Natural Born Leader and if the aliens landed tomorrow demanding: ‘Take Me to Your Leader!’ where would they go?

Setting up and running Maurizio Dining & Co. with my husband in August 2016 was a huge learning curve. Along the way I discovered some interesting things about myself (who knew I hadenough resilience to work with the husband!) and in hospitality, an area of business that initially I knew nothing about (love eating pizza but selling it was a new concept). Having a blended career means there’s definitely overlap in skills and attitude. My part-time work as a Video Producer is creative and it comes more naturally to me as I’ve been in the industry of broadcast television (firstly as a runner on a show called Beadle’s About!), and then video communications (mostly in education) for over 25 years. But nothing really prepares you for starting a new business as much as taking a risk and just getting stuck in.

Adventures in Pasta Land: How Not To Start A Food Business

It began so quickly that we barely had time to think. But I soon learned that this suited my leadership style well. In February 2017 we launched A Valentine’s Venetian Dinner and Drink pop-up event in an empty shop on Mill Road, Cambridge. Within two weeks we had the challenge to source ingredients, produce and price menus, market the event, sell tickets and run the evening making sure all 40 diners had delicious food and drink to enjoyplus a great ambience to be in. It confirmed to me that, despite the pressures of troubleshooting right up to opening, I’m driven by deadlines, enjoy a challenge, can lead a project creatively and be innovative on a tight budget. 

The night was a huge success and within three months we’d opened permanently as a small, local, independent Italian kitchen and wine bar. It really was a case of frugal innovation – a concept that Professor Jaideep Prabhu from University of Cambridge says is: ‘Doing more with less – whatever your location’. It’s about adopting a mindset of keeping things simple for maximum effect. Since then, I’ve tried to keep this in focus when making decisions. Here’s what’s helped me so far:• Mentoring. We were lucky enough to find a neutral voice with oodles of business experience. He helped us see different viewpoints and find solutions to move forward.Perfect at managing our different personalities, understanding our vision and giving advice.• Networking. Join like-minded groups and communities where you can build relationships and contacts to share ideasand keep learning. Locally I found the resources and short courses at EnterpriseWOMEN useful: https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/insight/2019/entrepreneurial-myths/ and to connect nationwide I like: https://f-entrepreneur.com/about-us/• Investing in my team. Having the right personalities on board can complement your strengths and weaknesses. It’s an on-going process but a range of experience and diversity certainly helps – we’re about to employ an apprentice pizza maker who will grow professionally alongside our business.• Being creative. Thinking outside the box can bring new ideas to the forefront. Our brainstorming sessions have resulted in delicious food and drink additions to our menu. Pasta with chocolate? Er, no thanks but our Sofia Loren pizza is a firm favourite.• Trusting my senses. At first, I found it difficult to listen to customers who didn’t enjoy their dining experience. But I learned that all feedback is valuable and it’s okay to get it wrong…as long as we then put it right.• Taking time out. It’s so important to relax and spend quality time away from the business. One of our team sayings is: “And don’t forget to breathe!” Keeping your sense of humour is essential to get through tricky times.

Psychologist Kurt Lewin says there are three main leadership styles but of course there are many more: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/leadership-styles explains these in a bit more detail.

Keeping leadership fluid and transformational is what works best for me as I’m not a natural leader as such. But we do all lead in some way or other at some point in our lives, even if we don’trealise it at the time. Whether it’s taking charge of family life, standing up for ourselves at work or diving into a new venture, leadership exists in many shapes and forms. 

We’re Not Saving Lives, Just Cooking Pizzas And Pastas

I think it’s important to remember perspective. This can be easy to forget especially when things sometimes go wrong (power cut in the middle of service, dealing with unreliable suppliers or having to pivot in a pandemic).

We’ve created our 3E philosophy to help us maintain perspective.The 3Es are:

ENHANCE our customers’ dining experience (and we’re proud to say we’re finalists in the Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards).

ENCOURAGE working in a collaborative way as this helps to build our brand more organically.

EMPOWER our team to be the best they can be by encouraging a flexible and inclusive working culture where all ideas and opinions are welcome.

It’s okay not to have all the answers straight away as I believe sometimes there is no right or wrong decision to be made. I think of myself driving along my own business journey with lots of spaghetti junctions along the way. There are traffic lights that make you stop and reflect; fast lanes when you have a deadline; roundabouts to revisit a problem; hitting the curbside when it all goes a bit wrong; dead ends when it’s time to move on and success when you find that perfect parking space. The point is,whatever the adventure, I’ll get there in the end.

As Dr. Seuss says at the end of I Wish I Had Duck Feet:

And So…

I think

there are some things

I do not wish to be.

And that is why

I think that I

just wish to be like ME.

Be your authentic self and lead the way that works best for you.

Contact Sweet Gill D’Apollonio at: info@mauriziodining.com

www.linkedin.com/in/mauriziodining

Website: www.mauriziodining.com

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