Ask the Expert: Finding a new career path that fulfills you
The transient lifestyle offers endless adventures, exciting places to explore and something new around every corner. But it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. For a Moving Mom, one of the most difficult parts of the lifestyle can be finding a new job in each city. Not to mention how hard it is to advance a career when relocations continually disrupt professional growth.
So maybe it’s time to reevaluate the line of work you’re in or find a career more suited to your lifestyle.
We reached out to Nancy Anderson, the author of “Job Search for Moms,” for tips on finding a new occupation that fulfills you.
Pinpoint your passion. Nancy said the first bit of advice she would offer Moving Moms is to think about what brings them joy and then find a way to get paid for doing it. So if you love yoga, consider becoming an instructor. Dream about making cakes all night long? Maybe your calling is to be a great baker. Think beyond the boundaries of your past experiences and training or education.
Next, read some career websites to help identify your interests. Start by determining your values and interests, as they relate to work.
She recommends these sites to help get you started on the right path:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Oprah – Who am I meant to be
Jung Typology Test™
Determine the details. Once you have a broad idea of what profession may make you happy, it’s time to start thinking about specifics. Do you want something part time or full time? Would you like to work for a large corporation that has locations all over the country or even the world, or prefer smaller local businesses?
Analyze your abilities. It’s time to look at what you bring to the table for potential employers. Nancy says moms frequently forget to consider the skills they use daily with their kids. Planning, empathy, creativity, patience and motivational skills are all desirable attributes in the working world that parents practice round the clock. It’s also important to consider what skills you may use in any volunteer work you may do. For example, an organist at church displays creativity, time management and organization. Don’t sell yourself short – sometimes things that we enjoy seem simple to us but for others, it takes a great deal of effort and skill.
Start socializing. The next step is to really put yourself out there. It’s time to network.
Nancy says there is a professional group for nearly every industry. So fire up Google to run a search or go a little more old school (and personal) and ask the reference librarian at your local library. Then attend a few meetings of your city’s chapter of the group for your field. Most professional groups will allow new people to try a few meetings for free before paying any dues. So Nancy said to be sure to make the most of those by introducing yourself to the others in attendance and telling them about your background, interests and skills.
Put the word out to anyone who will listen that you’re looking for a new job. That means your friends, people you know from church, the parents at your child’s school and neighbors. You just never know who could have a connection to a job opening that may suit you. Nancy also suggests attending events in your area for professional women, the local chamber of commerce or other social gatherings of people in the know.
QUICK TIP: Use a website like Vistaprint.com to make a simple business card with your name, intended line of work and contact information. Hand them out freely as you meet new people in your field.
When choosing a new career or company to work for, consider the following factors:
- Would you like to telecommute? It’s a great option for professionals who move frequently.
- Which positions have you held previously that you enjoyed the most? What aspects of those jobs could translate into a new position?
- Could you be a “virtual employee?” Try plugging that term into LinkedIn and you might be surprised what you learn. Nancy says some businesses are happy to have workers, such as an administrative assistant, who work from home, wherever that may be. They rely on that employee to do tasks like creating PowerPoint presentations or doing work in Excel and then sending them back to the home office.
- Would you like working for a large corporation with nationwide reach so that once you prove yourself as a hard-working, valued employee, perhaps you could be transferred to a new location when your family is relocated?
- What skills would you need to acquire or update in order to make yourself marketable? Do you need to take courses at a local college or just brush up your software savvy with a couple free classes at the local library?
Coming up next on The Moving Mom: Check back Thursday for Part 2 of this Ask the Expert feature when we ask Nancy about stay-at-home moms who are looking to reenter the working world.
Nancy Anderson is the founder of Blackbird Learning Associates. She has over 25 years of learning and development, human resources and organizational development experience in the pharmaceutical, finance and insurance industries. Blackbird Learning Associates’ services include program design, development and facilitation. Nancy is also a skilled job search coach and resume writer.
Nancy is the author of the job search handbook, “Job Search for Moms.” This compact, easy to follow book is packed with many of the tools, examples and exercises that she uses in her highly acclaimed courses.
-By Emily Shedek