A New Career, Anyone?

So, you’ve been laid off, downsized, right-sized, middle-sized, whatever, and now have to start looking for work.  It’s been a tough couple of years since this damn recession started and that’s not making things any easier.  I know.  I’ve been writing resumes left and right for folks who have been blindsided by the economy and the fact that there just doesn’t seem to be any jobs out there.

There are so many people with really strong resumes that are not even getting a call, never mind an interview.  Breaks my heart.

But, there ARE jobs out there.  You just have to find them – and they may not be in a place where you’ve traditionally been looking.

Instead of trying to find a job in your present field, have you thought about the idea of “reinventing” your career?  Many skill sets are transferable to different jobs, different fields and different industries.  Maybe it’s the time to start thinking about moving into a new, perhaps more realistic direction.

Reinvention is about finding your true calling; your passion.  One of the greatest feelings is doing what you love, all day, every day.

I’m fortunate to be one of those people.  Rehabilitating organizations and developing talent is my game and that gives me the opportunity to do pretty much anything I set my heart on.  I had to reinvent myself in the late 90s after leaving a long-term career in a very large organization.  I had a job, but decided to chuck it and start fresh in another state.  Scared?  Heck yea.  But I took the plunge, survived and thrived.  Trust me; you can, too.

While you’re waiting on that call from the recruiter, try doing some of these things.  You never know; you may just reinvent yourself and when that call comes say, “No thanks, I’ve got my dream job.”

Listen to your heart.  Think about all of the things you’ve always dreamed of doing, especially those things that you would do even if you weren’t paid to do them.  Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire calls this “heartstorming.” If your passion is organization and you find that you like keeping things in order, why not think about using that skill set to start a new career or self-owned business, such as managing Medicare or health records for the retiring boomers.  The key here, according to Johnson, is to ask yourself, “What’s standing in my way?” and then developing a plan to get around those barriers.

Start brainstorming.  Think back through your last few jobs. Make a list of the skills and tasks you do daily.  Think about how these skills could used in industries or jobs outside of what you currently do.  Many skills, such as sales, are easily transferable. As you begin to look at opportunities are available in other fields, search for similarities in the job descriptions and the skills on your list.  One of my clients wanted to follow her dream by moving from the retail corporate world to the child development nonprofit arena.  Highlighting her sales skills were what helped her make the transition because the new organization needed someone who could positively influence others to make donations.

Go back to school.  There’s no time like the present to get additional knowledge and skills.  As a matter of fact, tons of people are flocking to undergrad and grad schools alike to pick up that degree they never started or finished.  While you’re in school, check out different courses and curricula related to your interests.  Heck, take a cooking class just for fun.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next top chef! 

Check out the local free career center or one-stop.  If funds are limited, check out the local library, career center or one-stop to see if there are any free classes available.  Career centers also offer information on new positions and job openings, resume writing services, interview help or specific job training.  Many local nonprofit organizations also offer free career planning and development services or courses on entrepreneurship.  They may also be able to hook you up with an internship in your area of interest.  Yes, even 40-somethings can do internships; they’re not just for college kids anymore.  Boston.com has some great ideas for folks in the career change mode.

Volunteer.  Yes, do something for an organization without payment.  Don’t have a job right now?  Have some spare time?  Volunteer.  Pick a nonprofit or service organization that supports one of your passions.  Many people start out by volunteering and end up with full time paying gigs.  It’s a great way to keep your head in the game and build the resume at the same time.  Who said career listings on a resume all have to be paid work!

Network…and then network some more.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  Getting out there and talking to people, making contacts is one of the most productive things we can do.  Talk to friends, neighbors, contacts from old jobs.  Let them know you’re interested in a new career.  They may not know of anything at the moment, but that conversation could lead to something positive down the road.  Have that one-minute elevator speech handy.  You never know; that person standing in line in front of you in the grocery store may just be your ticket to a new career!


Have a good attitude.  How you feel about yourself and your search will be directly reflected in your resume and in your interviews.  Think of this as an opportunity to regroup, refresh, re-energize.  When a door closes in one place, a window can open in another.  As I used to say to my kids, “Patience, Iago”  (comes from the Disney movie, Aladdin).  Good things come to those who take the time to seek them out.

Now, go get ’em.  You can do this!


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