Q. I have been unable to get a job in my field for two years. I was laid off in 2009 and all I can find are jobs that pay $8-9 an hour. Right now, $15 an hour would be heaven. I don’t get interviews so I don’t get hired. Being a used car salesman would be better.. I am ready to change careers.
A. Not so fast please. If you give up your passion for a career you dislike, you’re going to have a heck of a mid-life crisis when the economy improves as it will. The Great Recession has knocked many people flat but they, and you, will do better rethinking your strategy. For example: What industry are you in? What kind of company, e.g., service, manufacturing,consulting? What is your role? Which is your strongest commitment? If it’s to the role you play, you may find more opportunity playing that role in a different industry. If your passion is the industry, look for a different role in the industry. What we know: This is no time for a scatter shot approach. Unless you think deeply about your alternatives you will not get a job. Write out the argument you’d make for a slightly different role in your industry or write out why your skills are transferable and what unique qualities, learned in previous jobs, you’d bring to a different industry. I talked with a client who’d been in fast food and now targeted a much-better paid job in medical customer service. Not much connection, right? His technique was to attach a sheet of “Problems Solved” each with a twist. He got interviews. What he was selling, and you should too, is resiliency — one of the more desired qualities right now. Creat scenarios that show how you bounced back. Don’t disdain volunteer work related to what you want to do. It always helps.
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