By Andrea Fenwick
“Starting all over again is gonna be rough, so rough but we’re gonna make it.”
Hall and Oates may not have been talking about the job market when they wrote the song “Starting Over,” but the lyrics still apply. Walking away from what is familiar and comfortable can be frightening. Making the decision to start over is one that takes forethought and courage.
That decision to change jobs could be financial, family, or health driven. But regardless of why you’re starting over, most people are typically left with one pressing question: What’s next?
Where do you actually start? The job market may be a lot different than when you landed your last job. Your circumstances are different, too; you’re older and you have been working in your niche for the last 20 years. You want to do something new, but you want it to encompass your skill set and knowledge base.
First things first. Start with on-line job resources in hopes of finding something that speaks to who you are and what you want to do. There are several internet sites that can be useful in the search for your new job. Here are a few links to get you started: www.gatewaytocareer.com, www.onetonline.org, www.bls.gov/ooh, www.careerinfonet.org. In addition, the JCS website has an entire page of online career resources. Taking a look at what’s out there can spark new ideas and career interest. Reaching out to family and friends for advice and job leads can also be very beneficial.
If you are not having any luck in choosing a new career path on your own, there is something you can do to help you decide which direction to take. Career Assessment can help you determine the type of job or career that is best for you. The assessment will highlight your skills, abilities, education and other qualities that may enhance your ability to be successful in a specific career choice. At the outcome of the assessment, you will have a list of your transferable and marketable skills.
Transferable skills are ones you have gained as a result of past skilled or semi-skilled work activities. These skills can be used to meet the requirements of other jobs. Marketable skills are ones that you have acquired during any activity in your life. For example, classes, projects, hobbies, sports, and parenting are all activities in which you gain skills and knowledge you can use for future employment endeavors.
Most, if not all, agencies that provide vocational services offer career assessment. The JCS Career Center has a Career Assessment Specialist who is able to perform several different assessments to help you set realistic employment goals. There are also resources for on-line assessments that you can access like www.gatewaytocareers.com or www.onetoneline.org .
Once you have some direction and career focus, then comes the dreaded updating of the resume. Research the accepted trends for resume style and content. Craft your resume to speak to the position and/or career you are pursuing by using only relevant information. You might want to seek the assistance of a resume writer.
Once your resume is intact, start preparing yourself for interviews. The art of interviewing has many components. You must do your homework before you can pass the test! Preparation is key.
- Research the company or organization by speaking with current or former employees, and reviewing the company website. Find out what products or services the organization provides, the mission, and how long they have been in business.
- Be able to communicate how your skills and experience would benefit the organization. Give examples of past projects and task that align with the responsibilities of the position you are seeking.
- Think of at least two questions you can ask the interviewer about the position or organization.
- Dress the part. Make sure you are well groomed and don yourself in professional attire.
- Be mindful of the do’s and don’ts of body language and eye contact
While the process of starting all over again may seem daunting, the JCS Career Center can help alleviate the anxiety of this process by utilizing a team approach to walk job seekers through the steps of gaining employment. One of the best pieces of advice our career coaches give clients is don’t be afraid to step out there. You may find a new exciting and refreshing career that opens up a world of possibilities.
By Andrea Fenwick, Team Manager, JCS Career Center
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.