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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Experienced professionals - 5 quick ways to start your search

Updated: Jun 7

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Play to your strengths

As an experienced professional, you have numerous advantages when deciding to job search, shift career paths, or vie for a promotion. Your professional achievements and life experience give enhanced clarity to goals, that you may not have had earlier in your career.

At the same time, if you're nervous or unsure how to develop a job search strategy, update professional branding materials, and jump back into networking, you're not alone.

Here are some ways to make the process easier and more effective.

1) Reach out for support and information.

This is the single best thing you can do to accelerate your job search/promotion success. While it's wise to exercise discretion, there's no need feel as though you need to figure everything out on your own.

The job market is constantly changing and job search strategy, trends, and best practices may be different than the last time you applied for jobs. It makes sense to assess the current landscape and ensure your approach matches the market. Collaborating with a skilled job search coach, quality mentors, and trusted advisors can help target and realize your goal, with less stress and more callbacks. Similarly, it can be helpful to confidentially obtain feedback and information from those you trust about a promotional opportunity, to help you prepare.

Equally, support from encouraging friends, family members, or your partner makes a huge difference. Depending on the impetus for your search, such as an unexpected job loss, it can also be valuable to bring in a qualified mental health professional. Besides listening with empathy, she/he/they can assist with regaining confidence, how to process a sudden job change, and be there for any relationship/family issues that overlap with the effects of temporary changes in employment.

You probably have financial responsibilities that are different than those of a new graduate. Sitting down with a financial advisor and/or becoming informed through online resources is useful for things like adjusting budgets and discussing rent/mortgage, childcare/eldercare costs, retirement implications, or other related matters. A little planning goes a long way to prevent surprises, adapt during this transition, and feel empowered. Bonus: Having a clear picture of your financial health, expenses, goals, and income needed will help you to be informed when you assess job opportunities or have salary conversations with a potential employer, when the time comes.

2) Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.

It can be exciting and/or overwhelming to begin this process, especially if you have not looked at your resume in years or if you are not active on LinkedIn, yet. This is where a skilled job search coach can save you time, while bringing your professional branding materials up to speed. You can also explore resources through the Internet or your alumni network. Many universities, community colleges, and libraries offer free and reduced-cost tutorials and webinars on resume writing and related topics.

3) Spend some time brainstorming.

I typically recommend updating your resume, first, to immediately remind yourself of your fantastic skills and experience. While it takes some time, resume writing can build confidence just when you need it the most. Since financial need drives most job searches, it's also a good idea to start applying to closely-matching opportunities without letting too much time go by. This doesn't mean panicking nor making any rash decisions; it just means taking positive action. Plus, it's human nature: the longer you wait to start your search, the more self-doubt, worry, and procrastination can set in. Better to feel and be productive in doing the things within your control.

Concurrently, you can start brainstorming. Whether you desire a change or need to regain employment, it's skillful to reflect on what you like and the direction you'd prefer to go. Even if you don't meet this ideal exactly, your chances increase for getting as close as you can.

  • What do I like in my current/last job(s) and why?

  • What would I rather not do again, or do less of?

  • Which of my skills do people notice and compliment?

  • Is there an adjacent career path that would be interesting to explore?

  • Which are my most transferable skills, that could be useful in other industries/organizations?

  • What value do I bring and/or what am I most proud of?

4) Consider reverse mentoring and catching up with people.

At this point in your career, you have probably mentored a lot of up-and-coming talent. Reconnecting with some of these folks, for a fresh generational perspective can be the energy boost you need, while gaining valuable insight and connections. It is flattering - and efficient - to approach those in your network, whom you have previously guided.

As a senior leader, you may be surprised at how much robust information mid-level professionals have about industry trends and organizational dynamics. The latter group is also more likely to be actively or recently interviewing and can share on-the-ground intel, to help your own search efforts. Since you're not competing for the same level roles, there is no conflict, just an open information exchange. Likewise, there is a natural tendency to feel a sense of ease when chatting with someone in a different life stage than you; it is invigorating and will help keep your spirits up. It's also infinitely inspiring to be the example of pursuing something new or overcoming a tough situation; the teaching is still occurring, as we share a piece of common humanity.

By the same sentiment, I recommend taking a more casual approach to networking and reaching out to people just to catch up. It takes the pressure off of both parties. Keep it friendly and upbeat (e.g., prepare at least one positive story to share) and see how you can help one another. Networking can be a source of encouragement as well as information.

5) Discover or recommit to self-care.

Most of us know, intellectually, the benefits of taking care of ourselves. Yet, we let this component slide. Now is a great time to revitalize your efforts and routines. As a result, you'll have the energy needed to begin & sustain a job search and contribute positively to relationships & friendships.

Start with the basics: sleep, nourishment, and movement. There are lots of great online resources to explore in addition to listening to what your body needs to achieve balance. Next, have fun adding things like yoga, Qigong, tai chi, deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, favorite hobbies, and aiming to get some fresh air daily, even for 10-minutes. These are good habits and relaxing activities that the whole family can do. Sometimes, clients initially feel hesitant to take time for themselves or worry that it's selfish; conversely, when we are feeling content and modeling calmness, this energy creates a ripple effect within our living space. We're able to give more.

The more well-rested & energized you are, the easier it is to devote time to your search. Your mood will also be more optimistic, pleasant, and hopeful. This will shine through on interviews, too. When I work with clients, we come up with a game plan for both job search strategy and carving out time for self-care. The cool thing about self-care is, it enables you to do more for your future and to be more present for the ones you love.

Leverage your life experience

You will find a job.

If you're like most professionals, when facing a job transition, you have the benefit of having already overcome a variety of other life challenges. You have inner resources and you've seen what you can do. Now is the time to channel your courage, grace under pressure, and ability to rebound. Without a playbook, you can chart a course that feels right to you.

You know from other situations that you can overcome practically anything with the right tools, encouragement, support, and extraordinary drive.

It's never too late nor too soon to reset, redirect, and recreate your personal vision for how you determine success.

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