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Chapter 23. Jump-Start Your Job Hunt > The Top Ten Tactics for Making Career Ch...

The Top Ten Tactics for Making Career Changes

As you plan your next move, use these tried-and-true tactics for changing careers, entering the job market, or finding a better job faster.

  1. Take care of yourself. Being unemployed can mean wear and tear on your self-esteem. It's not fair or true, but in this society we often get hooked into thinking that we are our job titles—and if you haven't got one, you're nobody. The truth is that your job is what you do, not who you are. Who you are is a human being with talents, skills, interests, and an infinite ability to learn. Since predictions tell us that at least several of our future job changes will be involuntary, the results of downsizings, mergers, or moves, it's wise to begin to separate who you are from what you do. Develop multiple identities: as a fund-raiser for the Boy Scouts, as someone who serves on the board of a professional association, as a part-time image consultant. Use your time between jobs to learn new skills, relax, build your network, and see more of your family.

    Buy a spiral notebook or a gorgeous leather-bound journal. Use it to write down your hopes, challenges, frustrations, ideas, strategies, steps, and plans. It's like having a dialog with your best friend—you! You are the one person who knows the most about who you are and where you want to go. Whenever you get an idea or feel stuck or want to think something through, pull out your notebook and start writing. You'll be amazed at how this process helps you get in touch with what you want, tap into hidden energy, and map out clear plans of action

    Job hunting is lonely. People who link up with others keep their spirits up and learn from one another. Join or start a job-hunting support and strategy group. Support groups are often sponsored by religious groups, adult education centers, or women's centers. One such group has the elegant name the Hunt Club.

    If you can't find a group, start one. Limit membership to four or five people who are changing careers or job hunting. Give each person a turn to share the week's accomplishments: "Sent a follow-up letter to Garrett at Financial First." "Had an interview with Barker & Co." Get help strategizing about upcoming challenges. Mark's group helped him to think through his answer to the inevitable job interview question "How much are you willing to travel?" Suzanne's group gave her innovative ideas on how to become known to people in the public affairs departments at companies where she'd like to work.

  2. Make it easy, not hard, for people to help you. Lots of people have the erroneous idea that networking is scheduling information interviews. But networking is not an appointment. As the workplace becomes more and more streamlined, people who have jobs have little or no time to meet with people who are looking for jobs. You don't need to set up an information interview in someone's office in order to network. If you are networking effectively, life is an information interview.

    Use the informal and unstructured time at association meetings, training classes, conferences, and even social events to do "mini" interviews.

  3. Target groups and teach people who you are. Look over the hierarchy of networking opportunities in Chapter 3. Target four to six Arenas and become known in them. Teach people what skills you have and what kinds of resources and leads you're looking for. Good bets are your family (does your brother-in-law really know what you want to do in your next job? does Aunt Sally?), your church or synagogue, your health club, your alumni group, the parents of kids on your daughter's basketball team, the community association you belong to, the volleyball team you play on, and certainly the professional association that serves the job type or industry you've targeted.



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