(This is part 1 of The Sher Way to “Simplifying Your Job Search through TRUST” which is an acronym for Take Inventory, Resume, Understanding Social Media, STARS, Trust the Process)
Many of my clients still say they “don’t know what they want to be when they grow up” even when they are deep into their professional years. Sometimes, that lack of clarity is okay, and their professional needs are reasonably satisfied through their job. But, this lack of clarity can morph into a sense of being lost and not knowing what to do when faced with a sudden job loss… especially when you’re mid-late career (i.e. over 40-years old).
Who am I? What do I have to offer the world and what direction should I take my career are common questions for the over-40 job seeker. General life and work experiences can alter both personal and professional goals. This leads to a lack of clarity which can be exacerbated by a job loss and often leads to feelings of insecurity and fear for the future. When in this state of uncertainty, it is helpful to “Take Inventory” of one’s values, experiences, and skills. This helps to reinforce the value you can bring to an employer, boosts your confidence, and will help determine the direction you might want to take your career. Here are key areas of focus:
These are your principles and standards that you are not willing to compromise. They are typically stable, but can shift as we mature both personally and professionally. Create a list of your values to include things like trustworthiness, autonomy, work/life balance, integrity, wealth, community and there are many more to consider.
Consider the projects and experiences you’ve had in your professional and personal life. When were you happiest? What were you doing and what were the circumstances of your activities? Were you working as part of a team or as an individual contributor? Was there direct interaction with the end user or were you behind the scenes? Was your work of a charitable nature or focused on profit? Write down as many personal and professional experiences you can think of.
In considering your experiences, what specific skills did you use? It’s not enough to say, “I enjoyed selling to a big client”. Or, “I like operations”. Dig deep to find out what aspects of a job or project you enjoyed. Did you like analyzing data to develop target lists and a sales strategy? Did you excel in uncovering new business opportunities or were you proficient in nurturing existing clients and finding new sales opportunities? Did you like leading operations or was it a specific part of the job you enjoyed like logistics or supply chain? Create a list of your skills and highlight your superpowers.
Taking inventory of your values, experiences and skills is an important step in deciding what direction you want to take your career. Take the lists that you developed from the above areas of focus and consider whether they are the things that truly illustrate the person you are, what you’re good at and what you like to do. Don’t do this in a vacuum. Once you feel you have documented a clear picture of who you are and what makes you happy and fulfilled, look to people in your personal and professional network and discuss with them the things you’ve identified as important to your personal happiness and fulfillment. Then, begin to identify potential career opportunities for you to investigate.
Part 2 of the TRUST model will be posted shortly, and the topic is building your Resume to communicate your inventory of values, skills and experiences.