Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and
certified/published resume writer with
Referral. She’s authored several books,
to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book,
20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer,and
Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.
You’re 40 something. You’re underemployed, or worse
unemployed, you’re tired of the daily grind, you’re bored (or
frightened) and you’re wondering where your future went.
Join the club. Massive layoffs across the US
industrial sector mean you’re far from alone. Millions of white- and
blue-collar workers are rethinking their career paths. Maybe you should,
Build on What You
You have experience and that’s valuable. To walk away
from 15 years in marketing to become a goat herder is not a
good career move. Build on what you know.
An auto engineer picks up a temporary teaching
certificate after a three-month crash course in principles of education
and becomes a high school CAD instructor. It doesn’t pay as much, but
the intangible rewards more than offset the smaller paycheck.
A real estate agent, tired of the late-night phone
calls and 60-hour work weeks, starts flipping properties on the side.
She knows the market, the inspectors, the contractors, the lenders –
she’s plugged into the local real estate grid from the top down. So, she
takes what she knows (of immense value) and starts her own property
management company buying, selling and renting properties.
A CPA becomes Director of Development for a local
non-profit, a pediatric nurse takes the helm at a drop-off kid care
franchise – you get the idea. Build on what you’ve got.
Make a Critical
Sit down with a nice cup of cocoa and make a list of
your professional skills and personal attributes that could be leveraged
in a new career. You’ll be surprised at the extent of your skill set.
Your list should include proficiency using computer
software programs (these are transportable skills required on almost
every job), special training and knowledge acquired on-the-job.
Now, here’s where the cocoa comes in. Make a second
list of your professional shortcomings. If you think a hard drive is the
evening commute, it’s time to go back to school.
Go back to School
Adult education, the local community college,
technical schools, four-year universities, workshops and seminars are
all great places to develop new skills and update old ones.
Get the certificate, license, the degree or the
credentials you need to start down your new career path.
Study the Job Market
What’s hot and what’s not? Well, the IT sector seems
to be hot again while manufacturing is in free fall. There’s
unprecedented demand for health care providers and educators at all
Go through the classifieds to see what’s hot in your
region. Or, maybe you’re willing to relocate. That’ll expand your
The Absolute Worst
Thing You Can Do
Don’t quit without a plan of action. That’s walking
the tightrope without a net. If at all possible, give your notice, clean
out your desk and move on to the rest of your life starting first thing
Now, if you’re ‘in between positions’ (read
unemployed), you’re walking that tightrope without a net anyway!
In this case, the key is to find a job – any job to
keep the creditors at bay. Build on your skill set by designing a
resume, cover letter and thank-you letter that demonstrate how
your skills translate to this new position, business or industry.
And if you don’t know how to best position those
skills on your paper introduction to potential employers, hire someone
who does. Using a professional resume prep service is one of the best
investments in a brighter future you’ll ever make.