3 Case Studies – Career Transformations

1 – Recent Grad Student
Mission:  To match my education and skill set to my job.

2- Displaced Career Professional
Mission:  To find a full-time position at my level. 

3- Career Professional
Mission:  Career Reinvention 

1 – Recent Grad Student
Mission:  To match my education and skill set to my job.


The Dilemma
Although Jennifer did everything right with getting a college education, it has been challenging to get meaningful work.  It would have benefited her to research the jobs she could get with the master’s degree while earning the degree.

The Assessment
It was important for her to know her worth.  She really focuses on the value she brings to the table. Jennifer identified the skills she has that she disregarded in the past.  Jennifer no longer takes her skills for granted.  These very skills her next employer might be exactly what they are looking for. To land a job, you have to do more than browse the job boards.
Unrealistic expectations were also holding her back.  More often you have to do a certain job in order to move ahead.

The Action Plan
Leverage skills. 
She will display her skills and explain how they can be useful to a potential employer. Jennifer is listing examples of the results she delivered using specific skills.

Determine the demand.
Jennifer is pinpointing the companies and organizations that need her special set of skills.
She has listed the best companies to target and is using google alert to keep up-to-date with the industry.

Study up.  Once she listed the target companies, she worked her network to identify who works there.  In addition, she researched the competitors. Conducting informational interviews proved to give her a clear understanding of the field and marketplace.

2- Displaced Career Professional
Mission:  To find a full-time position at my level.  

The Dilemma
Despite Sarah’s drive, she lacked focus.  Sarah send out hundreds of resumes, but half of those were for roles she wasn’t qualified for or interested in.  The real shift came when Sarah ask herself this question, ‘What real skills do I have and what do I really love to do?’  
Once she got focused, she saw how working her network wasn’t really working.  She stopped saying, ‘well, you know me, can you help me out?
She began working her network strategically with wording such as,
‘I want to talk to you because I’m interested in working at this company, in this function, and I would like you to make an introduction or a referral.’

The Assessment
Sarah talks to lots of people, but was she truly listening?  By actively seeking feedback, she uses it to grow.  Evaluating herself gives her insight to address other things that are going on.   She stays in saving mode and has kept a spending diary to keep track of her budget.

The Action Plan
Sharpen her focus.  To make ends meet, Sarah works part-time at a local health club and is involved in volunteer projects.  She joined an association for her industry and is practicing pitching ideas to hone her communication skills.

Jot down skills. She has identified her strengths and wrote them down in detail for the various types of jobs in her industry.  This will help her market herself.

Be strategic. Sarah learned that applying for more jobs isn’t always better.  It can get confusing.  She makes a list of job postings on career sites that she is qualified for and it has increased her chances of getting a callback.

3- Career Professional
Mission:  Career Reinvention 

The Dilemma
Mary has been successful with her current position, however she desires more responsibility.  Although she has years of success with her current company, she is interesting in leaping out into the next level.  She is hitting roadblocks with her current employer and has hit the class ceiling.   

The Assessment
Mary had to determine if there was an internal position or if leaving the company was better for her career growth. She did some reflection and determined having a healthy, positive relationship with her boss would make her work life and transition much easier — it’s also good for your job satisfaction and your career.  Her boss wasn’t making  it easy. Even if her boss had some serious shortcomings, it was in her best interest, and her responsibility, to make the relationship work.

The Action Plan
Change your mindset
Mary was gearing up for a conversation she labeled “difficult,” she felt more nervous and upset about it beforehand. Instead, she framed it in a positive, less binary way.
For instance, she was not giving negative performance feedback; she was having a constructive conversation about development.  A difficult conversation tends to go best when you think about it as a just a normal conversation. Her strategy for the conversation was  “flexible” and contain “a repertoire of possible responses.  The language was simple, clear, direct, and neutral.

Don’t go in blind.
Before Mary started looking for new positions, she spoke to industry insiders to get a sense of what it’s really like to work at one of the target companies. She scheduled an information gathering session with a respected woman was doing a similar work to which she desired within her organization.

Narrow the niche.
Mary focused on companies who share her same core values and offered interesting work.  She really had to target herself toward her area of interest, then build her story for that particular industry.

Go glam.
Mary had to look the part.  Stress caused her to gain 50 pounds over the past few years.  She worked on getting fit, regain her body confidence, and connected with a personal shopper.  She had to shape herself like she belonged; that’s the part of the legitimacy she brings to the new position.

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