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5 Steps To Transition From An Unfulfilling Job To A Career You Love
May 19, 2020
There came a time in my previous life in corporate communications, where I found myself suffering from a case of the “should’s.”
I should be happy. (This was ‘supposed’ to be my dream job!)
I should stick it out in this role.
I should suck it up and provide for my family in this role that makes me miserable.
But the truth was, I felt stuck, paralyzed, and trapped in a bad job where I knew deep down that something was missing.
As I drove home from work each day, I caught myself thinking… “this isn’t where my career story is supposed to end.”
Today, as an Executive Career Change Coach (my actual dream job), I find myself speaking with so many successful corporate directors, vice presidents, and executives who are struggling with a similar set of “should’s.”
Now, what I have uncovered, is that most senior corporate women stay stuck in their unfulfilling jobs because….
1) They trap themselves with limiting beliefs and other self-sabotaging thoughts.
2) They don’t have clarity on what WOULD make them happy.
3) They don’t understand how to build a bridge to get themselves there even once they do get clarity.
So today, I’m going to walk you through how to move from feeling stuck in an unfulfilling job to identifying AND achieving a career that you love through my 5 step Career Bliss coaching formula.
For those of you who prefer this kind of training in video format…
CLICK HERE for a free 4-part training series on the 5 steps it takes to move from unfulfilling job to career you love.
5 STEPS TO TRANSITION FROM AN UNFULFILLING JOB TO A CAREER YOU LOVE
STEP #1: OVERCOME SELF SABOTAGE
You have to learn to get out of your own way!
Before we dive right into getting clarity on the right career path, first we need to nip in the bud how you are potentially or subconsciously holding yourself back.
We need to move you into a headspace where once you do see that brass ring (the dream job), you have the courage to reach out and grab it.
There are 4 ways you may be holding yourself back from a career you love
1) INNER CRITIC
The first way is your inner critic which tells you in one way or another, that YOU are NOT good enough to make a career switch into something you love…. creating a feeling of inadequacy.
The inner critic’s job is to keep you safe & small.
Your inner critic voice is some version of, “I’m not smart enough, good enough, or confident enough to do THAT type of role.”
2) LIMITING BELIEF
A “Limiting Belief” is something that you accept about life, about your career, about your world, or about the people in it, that limits you in some way.
Limiting beliefs may hold you back from taking chances and keep you blind to opportunities in your path.
Here are some examples of a limiting belief around career:
You can’t make a great salary AND love what you do. It’s one or the other.
It’s too late in the game for me to career change.
The third way you may be holding yourself back from a career you love is with your mindset.
If you want to achieve better RESULTS…. You need to attach yourself to a new thought.
THOUGHTS trigger FEELINGS which trigger the ACTIONS or INACTIONS you take, which trigger the RESULTS you are seeing in your career.
The key here is to learn to authentically attach to a thought that serves your goals.
The last of the 4 ways you are holding yourself back from a career you love… is straight up FEAR.
It’s that constant nagging focus on worst case scenario when it comes to career change.
At the bottom of every one of your fears around career change is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you.
But here’s the question:
If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear?
Most clients tell me the answer to that question is: Nothing.
So all you have to do to diminish your fear around career change is to develop more trust in yourself.
“No matter what happens, no matter what comes my way, I can handle it.” ~your new mantra
Write this down on a sticky note, put in on your mirror.
Below, my client Krista shares her breakthrough after I coached her through Step 1: Overcoming Self-Sabotage.
STEP 2: HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR DREAM ROLE
Often women come to me saying…
“Just get me out of this bad job and I’ll be happy.”
But, it doesn’t work that way.
You don’t want to hop out of the frying pan into the fire.
FIRST it’s imperative that you get crystal clear on what your target is.
You do NOT just want to figure out “what’s next.”
This is a chess game & we want to map out your long term strategy.
You want to uncover what career will truly make you fulfilled and passionate about what you do for years to come.
The goal at the end of Step 2 is for you to have selected a career that makes you want to FLING your covers off on a Monday morning because you truly can’t WAIT to get to work.
If that’s not happening for you now, you’re in the wrong career.
In order to identify your dream role, we have to examine every part of what make you, who you are and come up with your career non-negotiables.
1. Meet Your Future Self
First, I give my clients guided audio visualization exercises where they meet a “best” version of their future self and pick her brain to uncover how she got there. Oftentimes your future self has words of wisdom for you.
2. Unpack Your Past
Next, we want to uncover lessons you learned from your job history so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes and you can get off the hamster wheel of bad jobs.
1) What did you LOVE about each job? (Let’s replicate that.)
2) What are you no longer willing to tolerate about each job? (Let’s avoid that.)
3. Personality Type
Does your current career match up with your personality type?
It’s important we identify a career that HONORS who you really are at your core, not hand slaps you for your personality type.
What MOTIVATES you when it comes to your career? Financial reward? Recognition? Affiliation? What’s BEHIND the role?
If you are in a line of work that doesn’t MOTIVATE you…. It’s going to be a struggle just to get through the day.
5. State of Flow
Have you ever been in a state of flow?
Time seems to fly. You could do that particular activity forever.
We need to pinpoint different job functions that you actually look forward to doing.
The goal is that we identify careers where you can increase the amount of time spent doing these specific job functions where you are in a state of flow.
When there is a misalignment between your values and your career, you will feel a sense of angst and discomfort.
It’s important to first identify what your values are and then examine which career paths would align with their values.
What are you naturally gifted at doing?
Think about the parts of your current job or previous jobs that you could do in your sleep.
Where are others constantly coming to you for help?
We need to examine careers that allow you to step into and maximize your strengths.
8. Life Plan
It’s important that you examine not just what you want your career to look like…. But what you want your life to look like.
Because your career is simply a bridge to get you closer to living the life you want to create.
9. Personal Mission Statement
When you sign on to a corporate job, by default, you are signing on to their mission statement.
This needs to be the other way around.
You need to start with YOU. What’s your personal mission statement? What were you put on this earth to do?
Define your “why.”
Once you have your personal mission statement, you then want to reverse engineer it as it pertains to your dream job.
In other words, seek out companies whose mission statement aligns with yours and allow you to honor your mission each and every day.
10. Dream Career Scorecard
The pinnacle of identifying a career you love is what I call the Dream Career Scorecard.
We want to take all the elements of what makes you tick listed above and cross reference them with your “best bet careers.”
Now how do you come up with your best bet careers? This is part of the coaching process I work through with my clients and the library vault of assessments I provide.
This is where we quantifiably rank out which career direction makes the most sense for you based on your unique set of career non-negotiables.
At the end of working through your dream career scorecard, your dream career should be popping off the page at you.
This is important, because it moves you out of “shiny object syndrome” (that career sounds good) and into black and white – this career scored out the highest and makes the most sense for me.
This way you can get behind your choice and feel confidence and empowered moving into your new path.
STEP #3: LAUNCH YOUR PERSONAL BRAND REVOLUTION
I want you to stand out from the sea of applicants! Don’t let outdated marketing material be the bottleneck that keeps you from getting an interview!
If you think, “I just need a new resume to get my dream job and I’m golden,” think again.
You need to get career clarity FIRST before you can create compelling marketing material. Your resume is 100% based on what role you are targeting. Generic resumes will not get you traction.
Second, even after you have role clarity, you don’t just need a new resume. You need an entire personal brand revolution, especially at your level
This includes the following:
Targeted and ATS-friendly resume
Rebranded and SEO-optimized LinkedIn
Compelling Elevator Pitch
Disruptive Cover Letter
WHAT DOES A KILLER RESUME LOOK LIKE?
ATS-friendly means if you submit your resume online, the resume robot will pull the information effectively. You don’t want your document to get rejected before it even gets to the eyes of a human because of formatting or missing key words.
2) Attention-grabbing headline
Your headline should be some combination of the following: a descriptor, your target job title, years experience, industry, quantitative data or how you drive results.
3) Enticing Summary
This is a short paragraph at the top of your resume. Essentially it’s your elevator pitch on paper. Hiring managers or recruiters may take 7 seconds to initially scan your resume, so you need to make this count.
In this section, list out key words or areas of expertise from the job description that are true of you. This will also boost the ATS.
5) Job Experience
When you list your job history, instead of focusing on job responsibilities, focus on your accomplishments or wins.
Each bullet point should lead with a quantifiable result you achieved based on an action you took (plus context as needed.)
Education, certifications, volunteer work, boards you served on, go at the bottom.
This process worked well for my client Teju. Her re-targeted resume helped her get her foot in the door at a major tech headquarters in San Francisco. She went from stay-at-home mom to landing her dream role in human resources during the COVID-crisis.
REBRAND & OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Your LinkedIn profile is the FIRST thing an employer checks when they receive a resume OR when they hear about you as a referral.
It can NOT be a straight up cut and paste of your resume.
PLUS, LinkedIn is an incredible tool with a ton of features and I want you to optimize it.
We want your LinkedIn to have effective branding and SEO that has hiring managers and recruiters not only pay attention to you but seeking you out.
1) Profile Picture
You need to have a professional looking headshot where you are smiling and looking directly into the camera.
2) LinkedIn Banner
This is like your own personal billboard. It needs to represent the type of role or industry you are targeting.
LinkedIn automatically populates your headline based on your current job. We want to change that. This is your brand statement so it really needs to pack a punch.
4) Key Words
Examine job postings for your target role and identify the common words or phrases used. Pepper into your profile strategically to increase the odds of showing up in recruiter search results.
This is your most important section on your LinkedIn page.
You have a LOT more space here than your resume summary, so you really want to beef this up. It’s your online elevator pitch.
This is also an opportunity for you to be human. Get them to know, like, and trust you. You can get personal where you wouldn’t otherwise in your resume.
Optimize LinkedIn by adding multimedia: powerpoint presentations, videos of you presenting, graphics, etc. This is like a live portfolio.
7) Job Experience Section
Instead of focusing on job responsibilities, focus on your accomplishments or wins.
8) Skills and Endorsements
Focus only on the skills that are relevant to the role you are targeting.
These are powerful testimonials. Collect recommendations by first doling them out to others. Ask those same colleagues if they would mind returning the favor.
REFINE YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH
In addition to your marketing material, you need a compelling elevator pitch that will get your foot in the door of any company. If the words coming out of your mouth don’t align with your marketing material, there will be disconnect
It should weave a golden thread throughout your story, so that the hiring manager understands exactly why you are in front of her and why you are the perfect fit.
Your elevator pitch will set the tone for the rest of your professional relationship with that person or your interview.
Also, having this down gives you confidence.
What you don’t want to do is “ramble” your entire job history when someone asks “Tell me about yourself” or the other party will check out.
Your goal is to emphasize to the other person how you add VALUE as it pertains to THEM.
JOB SEARCH 2.0
A targeted, elevated, SEO-optimized LinkedIn. A targeted, ATS-friendly resume and compelling cover letter. A powerful elevator pitch. Thought leadership.
This is Job Search 2.0. Welcome to the new age of job seeking.
This is why when I work with a client, I’m sending in my army to create your marketing material to target you in your new career direction.
You will have a team behind you: an experienced executive resume writer, a Forbes Communication Council LinkedIn branding specialist, and yours truly, to coach you through your elevator pitch, cover letter, and thought leadership.
You need a team. Imagine trying to excel at your current corporate job without the support of a team of experts.
This is the most important project you will ever work on so don’t go after it in a silo.
STEP 4: SECRET NETWORKING STRATEGIES
Here’s what I hear sometimes that makes me cringe.
“Betty, I applied to hundreds of jobs but haven’t heard back! I guess I need to give up this dream and stick with the job I’m doing now.”
Please don’t give up on your dream.
And please do not use the spaghetti method of throwing around your resume online and seeing what sticks. This does not work.
The truth is, at the director/VP/executive-level, most jobs you land will be through strategic networking.
You need to be building relationships and warming up your target companies BEFORE the job is even posted. Building these relationships takes TIME. You need to plant seeds and water them …. So that once a job opens up, you are top of mind.
You want to find ways to be seen as a giver and a server now, versus a “taker” later (reaching out cold to someone once you need something.)
Did you know that for every corporate job there are 250 applicants online and with COVID that number is exponentially increasing?
An effective networking strategy is crucial to overcome these odds.
70-80% of jobs are landed through NETWORKING.
An effective networking strategy will get your foot in the door and allow you to tap into the hidden job market (many roles which aren’t even posted yet.) Get into the crucial conversations that are happening behind the scenes.
The term “networking” is kind of nebulous. We need to put some steps, structure, and scripts to this in order to make it tangible.
For example, here are 5 steps to get your foot in the door BEFORE the job gets posted.
1) Create a target company list
The goal is to get on your target companies’ radar BEFORE they post a job, and/or to get a referral at one of your target companies.
2) Empower your inner circle to help you
Leverage your inner circle who ALREADY know, like, and trust you… and want the best for you.
Share your target company list with them and ask if they happen to know ANYONE who works at any of these companies. Request a virtual introduction so that you can learn more about the company culture.
3) Virtual Coffee Chat
Once your inner circle connects you to someone at your target company, request a 15 minute virtual coffee chat.
Share why you are a fan of XYZ company and that you’d love to learn more about their experience working there.
This person is your “sponsor.” They are someone within the four walls of your target company who down the road has the potential to refer you for a role OR connect you to the hiring manager.
4) Plant the Seed
Have the virtual coffee chat.
Come from a place of genuine curiosity AND service.
Share that the purpose of this conversation is to learn about company culture and what their experience is like working there. (It’s a non-aggressive way of building the relationship versus asking directly for a job.)
Conclude the conversation by asking, “How can I support you right now?” (From the smallest thing, like an introduction to someone else to something bigger like working on a pro bono project.)
Finally, ask, “Is there anyone else you recommend I speak with to learn more?” (Keep the ball rolling.)
5) Water the Seed
This is the most important part.
Build the relationship.
After the zoom call, send them a thank you note. Follow up with anything you promised you’d do in support of their endeavors.
Over time, send them random articles you think they’d enjoy based on your conversation. Comment and engage on their LinkedIn posts. Find ways to keep the relationship alive and be of value.
Down the road, you can explore if they’d be comfortable connecting you with the hiring manager of your target department OR referring you for a role.
NOW IMAGINE MULTIPLYING THIS EFFORT.
A list of 20 target companies distributed to all your immediate network who already know, like, and trust you.
Imagine how many potentially valuable conversations you might have. Imagine who will be TOP-OF-MIND when a role opens up at that company.
OR once you see a role posted, you’ll have someone to reach out to, from the inside.
This strategy is only a PIECE of the pie when it comes to networking. In the Career Bliss Coaching program, there are MANY strategies I’ll be coaching you on, to network and get your foot in the door at your target company.
STEP 5: INTERVIEW AND NEGOTIATE LIKE A PRO
There is a lot to cover when it comes to interview prep. In fact, this tends to be sessions worth of prep, coaching, mock interviews, and feedback.
But for the sake of this article, I want to touch on how to get into the head of your hiring manager.
Usually a hiring manager is thinking some combination of the following:
Do I like her? Do I want to see this person every day and work with this person every day?
Will she fit into the company culture?
Can she do the job’s basic requirements?
What is her ROI? Is the salary we will pay her worth the ROI? Can she solve my problem or the department pain point?
Now how do you uncover your future job’s pain point in order to prove your ROI?
-Research company pain points ahead of time.
-Study press releases and news articles.
-Read customer feedback (what are they saying on social media/ twitter?) And study employee feedback (what are they saying on Glassdoor?)
During the interview:
When the hiring manager asks, “What questions do you have for me?”
-What keeps you up at night as it pertains to this department’s goals?
-What is the most important problem or pain point are you hoping will be solved by hiring for this role?
-Define what success looks like in the first 90 days? In the first year?
After the interview:
-Express in your thank you email, why YOU are uniquely qualified to solve their pain point based on your experience, background, and expertise.
-Share your framework on how you will approach this problem. Share how you solved something similar in a previous role.
This is where the magic happens and where you get the role versus someone who may even have more experience.
OK – so fast foward….. you nailed the interview – and you got the offer!
Time to celebrate!
NO, ladies, not yet.
We know that women in the United States earned only about 77.4% of men’s median annual earnings.
Negotiation is the key to closing the pay and value gap in the workplace and business.
Not only that, only 30% of women bother to negotiate at all, while almost 50% of men negotiate.
These figures add up to almost $2 million in lost revenue over a lifetime for the average woman seeking to climb the leadership ladder.
Did you know that according to Glassdoor you could earn 13.3 percent, more per year than your current annual base salary?
Do the math. That’s how much money you are missing out on. Per year.
After going through the Career Bliss Coaching program, my client, Lisa received an offer for her dream role as the Director of Research for a major organization.
While it was tempting for her to accept the dream offer once it was handed to her, we did not stop there.
I coached her through negotiating an additional $15,000 onto her base salary. This adds up over the course of a lifetime. If she works 20 more years, thats an additional $300,000. And that $300,000 is not even taking into account her salary increases which will now be larger. This could end up being a half a million extra dollars.
You do NOT want to let that additional income disappear.
It’s important to learn to fearlessly and strategically negotiate for what you are worth.
There is a formula to this. There are scripts to use. You should not be winging this.
The sooner we START, the sooner we can CELEBRATE!
These five steps work.
I hope you get the sense after reading this that, “Hey… this IS possible. It’s not some nebulous, pie-in-the-sky dream to think you can transition into a career that you love.”
It’s simply about effectively executing this five-step strategy.
We spend one third of our lives working.
You deserve that time to be spent in a career you love that supports your values, strengths, and life vision.
HAVE I LIT A FIRE UNDER YOU YET?
Start the discovery process to learn the 5 steps to transition into a career you love.
CLICK HERE to download a free 4-part video training series: “5 Steps to Transition into a Career You Love.”
Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP, is an executive career coach helping mid to senior-level corporate women transition out of unfulfilling jobs and into their dream careers.