CAREERS & the disABLED
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Honing Job-Hunt Prowess
Those on the job hunt for their first professional position, a career shift or a more prestigious role within an organization need to ensure their job-hunt prowess is on point and provides competitive edge.
Increasingly more private-sector and public-sector organizations are welcoming Americans with disabilities into their fold and paving the way for opportunities for employees with disabilities to thrive and succeed, as employers are realizing the benefit of having a workforce that’s both diverse and inclusive.
Thus, the time has never been better to hone your job-hunt prowess, no matter where you are in your career, especially as the U.S. economy and job market are on the side of job seekers, and the job outlook for people with disabilities continues to improve.
It’s with that in mind this year’s Annual Career-Planning Guide focuses on how you can hone the skills that will provide competitive edge while providing insight into the current job market along with job resources for people with disabilities.
The tips that follow will also help you reinvent yourself, realize your dreams, and navigate life’s personal and professional challenges.
Five Tips to Reinvent Yourself & Your Career
I recently made the choice to quit my corporate job. I could feel this coming for weeks, and I had mentally prepared myself with the departure conversation. When I made the exit, it was on my terms and based on my principles. I finally felt I was in charge of my destiny.
I basked in this moment for, oh, about, four days. And then arrived the holy cow moment of what now? I realized I wasn’t sure of what I actually wanted to do next. Being free from that job was what I’d been waiting for, but that was now topped with a big red bow called fear.
Despite my outward courage and good intentions, I was terrified at the core. I knew I could survive financially for a while, but I didn’t want to sit still at the same time. I had to take a deep breath - several actually - and try and enjoy the fact I now had the space to evaluate what was going to fulfill me personally and professionally.
In this self-reflection period I realized I could take this time to reinvent myself. I’d known I wanted to reinvent myself for some time - the thought of leaving corporate America and doing my own thing felt like a dream for years. I had this conversation with friends and colleagues over lunch or cocktails, kind of fantasizing about the what-ifs, but now I really had the chance.
If you’re in this position now, or know you will be in the near future, take a deep breath, and consider the gift of freedom, carefully removing the big red bow of fear. You can find a path that’s right for you. It’ll just take time and effort.
Look, reinvention is scary. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s full of the unknown. We all want answers to our big questions and to quell any uncertainty immediately. Take some space, and be thoughtful and patient with yourself. Remember that this is a process, and appreciate this time of exploration.
Here are five tips to help you along as you reinvent yourself and your career:
1. Skill Set Transfer: Consider your history and think about what you’re good at, what your niche is and about what skills you’re the most confident. Stick with those skills, and your transition to renewal will provide confidence and give you a foundation so you can find fulfillment and personal growth.
2. Focus on Your Core: Connect with what inspires you at the core of your being. Follow your intuition and do what you love, and you’ll make your heart sing.
3. Realize Your Priorities: Make a list to identify what your top priorities are in the next phase of your life. Write down what you really want. Is it having a certain job? Is it having financial stability? Is it having more time with your family? This will help you vet what’s really important to you. From here you can shape the center of your reinvention plans around your wants and needs. And, perhaps, generate new ideas and interests in the process.
4. Practice Patience with Yourself: This is the hard part. Learning to have patience with your own self. If you don’t have the answers to your big questions immediately, then sit with it. This didn’t occur to me initially, as I’m one impatient person. A long-time friend of mine had to bring it to my attention. Her words were, “Be patient with yourself.” She was right. By practicing patience I took immense pressure off myself. Having patience also freed up my mind, and more ideas surfaced as a result.
5. Be List-Less: Don’t rely on your list. What is a list, you may ask? All too often we portray ourselves to one another as a list. We list our accomplishments, degrees, employers and a bunch of other jargon people tune out. We think this act of listing will help others understand who we are and validate our existence. News flash: no one really cares about that list. Everyone has a list. Let go of the list, especially while reinventing yourself. This will get you closer to renewal and realizing your true definition. For instance, it’s not that you were an executive of a company for 12 years, and were promoted to vice president. It’s that you led people and helped them achieve their goals - that’s your specialty. How you impact others is what really defines you, and it’s how you make your mark. Explore this thought for your reinvention, and you’ll thrive.
– Holly Caplan
About the Author: Caplan, hollycaplan.com and Twitter @hollymcaplan, is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Male-Dominated Corporate World.
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