Evaluating Career Opportunities Redux

I wrote this piece early last year, but I thought that in light of the economy (and what I hope are signs of it turning around?), it would be a good time to link again. I really feel that you need to start to think about a career change well before it's time to jump. And though some of you are staying in a position because of the security it offers, the market will be blurbling with new opportunities sooner than you think. And perhaps your change will be overdue.

I know that there are many others of you out there that are looking to re-enter the work-force pronto.  And while the number of open positions have been declining in the market, when they start opening back up, I think it will be dramatic. Companies will move to fill roles that they struggled to do without, they will reward their top performers with promotions (subsequently creating new openings), they will ramp up production once consumer confidence has returned and unemployment has dropped. I'm no economic Nostradamus, but this all seems pretty logical, right?

More open positions mean higher demands on talent, and more choices. And that's goodness. All I am saying is it's a good time to start thinking about what comes next.

Comments (2)

  1. Diane says:

    What advice would you give to a person who is technical (degree in Chemistry minor in Math) but stayed at home with the kids for 17 1/2 years.  I know I will make a great Poject manager some day and have taken a job (to prove I can be dependable and show up everyday) as a receptionist but frankly it is not stimulating enough and the pay sucks.  I see new hires and interns every day who have less to offer than I do but because my technical skills are not current and my degree is 20 yrs old I am finding it hard to get people to take me serious.  I would love to have someone hire me on a “trial” basis because I am confident that I can prove my worth but how do I communicate that?  What classes, training, or other suggetions do you have that will give me a career instead of just a job?  I am willing to invest in the Project Manager education if it will help but I don’t have tons of money right now.  I appreciate any insights you might have.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hi Diane, good question. I am not sure that I have very good news for you. Companies rarely take a chance on someone that they don’t know. And at this point, your resume will likely brand you as a receptionist.  BUt let me see if I can give a little advice…

    Are you at a company that hires people with science /tech/math backgrounds? If not, I recommend that you find a way to get invovled, hands-on, in some kind of endeavor that matches your career aspirations. This might mean volunteering for a non-profit or a school. You need to get that experience on your resume and need to work with someone that can speak to your skills and abilities. You will want to start networking using any contacts that this helps you build in the field. And also, you will want to use your contacts there for references.

    Here is the other thing I want you to do: I want you to ask your company for more work. As a receptionist, are you busy all day at work? Can you fit a project in? We do that here and not only does it lessen the workload on us (which is soo appreciated), it could help build project skills.Then ask for progressively more and more challenging work. It could help build more current skills in your area of education (if your company hires the math and science types) or at least build your resume with more variety other than receptionist stuff.

    If you can make it work financially at some point, you may want to think about temping at a company that hires people with your educational background. Great way to make contacts and prove your ability and willingness to work hard and smart. A temp agancy can let yo uknow if they have any clients that match your needs.

    One last thing I want you to think about. How are you branding yourself? If you were to go out and talk to a potential employer right now, how would you explain your background? Keep the re-entering the workforce info short and sweet and really focus on your capabilities and give that employer an idea of the work that you are targeting in your career search (something more specific than technical or project management work).

    Now is a tough time to be breaking back in to an industry, so you may have to make these small steps first but I have found that once you start taking these smaller steps, more become apparent to you.

    I hope this helps a little bit, Diane! Good luck!

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