But before I do that, I want to thank all of you who took the time to share your career needs and goals with me. I was deeply touched by your personal stories and by your optimism to know that a better career and life are waiting for you. Because of that, I decided to not only give away a full Soul Search, Research and Job Search coaching package but also give away three additional coaching sessions as consolation prizes. My congratulations to the winners!
Winner of 9 sessions of one-on-one coaching on Soul Search, Research and Job Search: Mark from Texas! Mark wants to clarify what he'd love to do, find a new job, make a decision about options he's considering and explore options that relate to his particular interest(s)/talent(s. I'm exicted to help Mark achieve his goal of being happy with his work!
Consolation winners of one hour of one-on-one coaching: Megan who wants a steady yet creative career, Laura who wants to make a difference in the world while having time to raise her children and Christa who wants to make sure she's on track doing work she loves not just what she's good at.
What I respect as far as in myself and in other is the spirit of just doing it. For better or worse, it may work and it may not, but I'm going to go for it. Ultimately I probably prefer to be respected for that than...either winning or losing. -Hugh Jackman
I hope to be on Martha Radio and on SiriusXM in 2013. Just in case my show doesn’t continue there, however, you can always find me here at MaggieMistal.com. I want to take the opportunity now at holiday time to say thank you to those who've been tuning in, sharing their comments about the show via email and on Facebook:
Susan said: "Your show really opened my eyes to the fact that I get to create my own path. I don't have to be a part of a reality that was created by my family, teachers, or expectations from another time. I often hear the tagline for Martha Stewart Radio, "Learn something new every day." And every show you taught me something valuable...I'm so glad that you've been in my orbit every Friday afternoon for all these years!!"
To say thank you, I'm offering an unprecedented Follow Your Dreams giveaway. For all who enter starting today through 1/31/13, I will be choosing at random one lucky winner to receive a full 9-session Soul Search, Research and Job Search coaching program (a $5000 value).
How To Enter the Follow Your Dreams Giveaway:
Go to MaggieMistal.com, sign up for my newsletter (see bottom left of homepage) and then use the Contact button to share why you’d love some help with your career.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all the entries.
You have until Jan 31, 2013 to sign up for my newsletter and contact me with your career needs and goals.
I’ll let the lucky winner know via email on Monday Feb 4th, 2013.
All are eligible to enter including people who don't subscribe to SiriusXM.
Even if you don’t want to participate in the giveaway, you can still sign up for my newsletter & get on my mailing list. This way we can stay connected and I can share with you my latest tips on how to Soul Search, Research, Job Search and keep the right mindset, while also highlighting trends in the marketplace, and career success stories. I’ll be sharing some new audio tips in 2013 too!
Happy New Year! Here's to you being inspired to not settle and instead, create your dream career in 2013.
Always follow your dreams,
"The foolish man [or woman] seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his [or her] feet." - James Openheim.
You can meet some of the best people through work. Recently, I reconnected with a wonderful Canadian couple on their family trip to NYC. My husband and the other gentleman had worked together years ago during our Arthur Andersen days. Great people – very smart, fun, and loving with two beautiful children who just loved Mercer.
Of course, the conversation led to career (with and without some prompting from me). Here's what I found interesting…
Our friend had shaved his head as part of his three-week vacation. Talk about letting your hair down. His workplace up north was too conservative and such self-expression wouldn't fly. So for three weeks he got to look the way he wanted and was ecstatic about it.
Our friend's wife felt great about the steady nature of her job but not the content. With a sigh at one point, she said she wished her husband would get promoted so she could quit her job.
Are these feelings you share? Do you feel you can’t be yourself at work? Would you rather not work at all?
I can't help but take to heart these insights. Yes, they were shared quickly and in passing (not sure my friends would even remember saying them as part of the long and very fun conversation.) But to me these are critical clues that something is amiss and further exploration (dare I say it, Soul Search) is warranted.
Coincidentally, I was contacted by a talented writer from Forbes.com to weigh in on an article about what to do when you hate your job. If you know me, I believe there are no coincidences and everything happens for a valid reason. It was an honor to be quoted and the article is full of great advice. However, my point about Soul Search wasn't included so I want to share it here.
Why people remain in jobs in which they’re unhappy:
From my experience working with thousands via my coaching practice and SIRIUSXM show, people often stay in jobs they don't like because they don't realize what else they CAN do. They haven't taken the time to identify what makes them happy or where their talents lie. They haven't clarified their values and thought about how they'd like to use their abilities to make a difference and align their work with their purpose. Too often people assume work is supposed to be a chore so they don't even look for anything other than that when embarking on a job search.
If you hate your job, what you can do about it:
The number one thing you can do is Soul Search BEFORE you Job Search. Look back on your life and career to those projects that you did enjoy. Delve into each situation and get to the important details such as the role you played, the skills you used, the outcome you produced and anything else about it that made it fun/engaging for you. You can also ask others about your best skills, abilities and talents. This is a great way to stop taking your strengths for granted and to articulate what it is you do for others that is so special.
I have found that when looked at from this perspective people come up with more exciting, more rewarding and more fulfilling career possibilities than when they just scour the job boards and shoehorn themselves into what's out there.
I find people desiring a career change also don't have the proper mindset. It is easy to look at what is wrong, what you disdain, and what doesn't work, but it is more beneficial to look at what is working and to be appreciative of the aspects of the job that can enable your next career move.
I've learned that offering unsolicited advice doesn't work out for the best, eh? So I didn't share these insights with my friends. But if you or someone you know feels they are wasting time in the wrong job, feel free to pass this along or better yet, tell them to call in for advice on my weekly SIRIUSXM radio show. Living fully while on vacation is a good start, living fully everyday is what you were meant for!
Read on for my commencement address and advice on finding lasting career success no matter when you graduated high school...
To the Class of 2012… CONGRATULATIONS! This is your day. How good does it feel?
NO more homework, NO more assemblies or open house projects. NO more quizzes, exams, papers.
You’ve made it. How GOOD does it feel? Parents & teachers: how happy are you too!?
I know my parents were right there with me during my MMI days. I am very thankful to them for the opportunity. And parents, your kids will appreciate what you did in sending them to MMI as I appreciate my parents today. I know how hard you've all worked & the amount of energy you've all put in to get to this point. It's more than many will accomplish in their entire lives.
When I was here they told us the homework would keep us off the streets & out of trouble. While that may still be the case, rest assured that you've learned a lot more here than just how to keep busy. You may not realize it, but in my experience, everything I needed to know I learned at MMI. I did, and so did you. For starters, you are well prepared for more than just college. Life is a daily test of your abilities but you've proven you can make it through Mr. Cusat's math tests, Senior's Spanish quizzes and Mrs. Titus's papers. You didn't crack under pressure. You rose to the challenge and responded to it.
Not only that, you haven't just learned proper grammar or a new language or how to master calculus, you now know HOW TO LEARN. And you will continue learning & evolving your entire lives. Lifelong learning is not just nice catchphrase. It’s a must in today’s world that is critical to lasting success in life & career. As Darwin said, it's not the fittest who survive but the most adaptable. Knowing how to learn makes you adaptable and will make you successful in any career you choose. I've changed careers five times. Yes, five times.
I started out as an accountant/CPA. Then I became a management consultant. Next up, a corporate trainer. Then an entrepreneur career consultant… a radio host… and now, in addition to that, I’m also a mom – a career in itself!
Two times my employer was the impetus for my transition. But other times I chose to change, and you probably will too. It's OK.
The number of careers one has in a lifetime is increasing with each generation. You will learn & adapt your talents to changing circumstances, & will not just survive but thrive no matter what future employers or future economies undergo.
On top of that, you've conquered a fear most people rank highest in their lives public speaking!
Though you may not yet fully appreciate the years of terror, –I mean “experience” – you have giving assembly speeches, you will soon find that you have no problem expressing yourself and getting your points across.
Without this particular skill, I know I wouldn't have had the courage and experience to host a national career talk show for six years on SiriusXM satellite radio for the Martha Stewart channel or share my views on CNN a dozen times where I was introduced as” one of America's best known career coaches."
Believe me all your hard work will pay lasting dividends too. Having just celebrated my 20 yr reunion, I can honestly say that if you can make it here, you truly can make it anywhere.
I've interviewed & been in the presence of dozens of successful and "famous" people like Martha Stewart, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, & wellness guru Deepak Chopra. From their experience and my own, I've learned a very important career lesson: When passion meets purpose, there's no stopping success.
Yes, they had a strong work ethic, and YOU do too after MMI. They also had a dream, a vision of what they wanted to become. They not only followed their passion but became their dream and made their ideal a reality.
Martha Stewart didn't stop at becoming a caterer. She dreamt of having a TV show and making "living" into a magazine and ultimately a multi-media company. She DID.
Martina Navratilova didn't want to just be a great tennis player in her home country of Czechoslovakia. She wanted to become an international superstar at tournaments like Wimbledon. She DID, even though it meant defecting and leaving her family behind under communist rule.
Deepak Chopra dropped out of a prestigious Harvard program because he wanted to become a revolutionary in the medical field. He DID.
You too have witnessed firsthand the amazing things that can happen when passion meets purpose. We are all here b/c Sophia and Eckley Coxe were socially responsible (before it was cool). The tradition of excellence they started has produced a long list of successful alumni.
My speech as salutatorian highlighted just a few stellar examples of the heights an MMI grad can reach. And that was twenty years ago. The list is even more impressive today. You are now on it! You are now a part of this tradition.
From here on out, as MMI alums, your lives and careers will present bigger, more exciting & more rewarding opportunities b/c of the foundation built here. No dream is too big or goal too bold for an MMI grad to achieve.
I dreamt of being commencement speaker one day. And here I am, speaking to all of you.
It's OK if you don't know exactly what you want your career to be. I certainly didn’t! But NOW is the time for you to allow your passions to shine through, to start your own soul search. I am sure you have already realized where your natural talents and passions lie. Think of an activity or project you’ve been involved with at school. The yearbook, Guys & Dolls, Mock Trial… The kind of thing you just loved doing… loved the people around you… and loved being there until the work got done. That’s how you want to feel when you’re following your passion.
I know this and live this because I focus on helping others find and follow their passions as a career coach. When I take my clients through a process of Soul Search, Research, THEN Job Search, often times what they loved to do (& were good at) in high school still hold true today.
I find we all know what our passion really is. And what I've learned coaching thousands, is that your dreams align perfectly with what the world most NEEDS YOU to do. So here’s your last assignment. (Don’t worry; it doesn’t affect your grades or final transcript.) As you leave MMI and set off to discover more of yourself-- your interests, your passions. --Take notes.
Do your Soul search by crafting your ideal vision. Write about what you'd love to do, your unique gifts and talents, the way you want to make a difference, who you enjoy being around/working with and always include that you make a good income.
Everything is possible.
I encourage you to write it down this summer, and write it in the present tense as if it's already happening. Include the accolades that will make you most proud.
Then Research. I know it's probably a dreaded word, but it can be fun when you're following your passion... like an assignment from a class you actually love. Look for and introduce yourself to people in the careers you'd like to have. They may even be fellow MMI alums. Ask them how they got to where they are today, what it takes to be successful, and what they would recommend for someone determined to get into their field.
Listen & learn. Understand if it’s truly what you want to do. And remember Research can reveal what you don't want as much as what you do. Your vision coupled with Research then becomes your compass for selecting the right college major and applying for the right internships -all setting you on the right path to following YOUR passions.
If I had written down one of my favorite MMI activities, it would have been Mrs. Titus’ introduction to archetypes. The class introduced me to Carl Jung psychology and human behavior. – All of which are very relevant to the work I do today. I’ve even done (and LOVED) graduate work in organizational psychology b/c that same drive and passion still hold true today.
Every one of you will find the same connection back to what you loved doing here at MMI. Write it down now. Start to understand now what really drives you.
Listen to your hearts and trust yourselves to know best what you need to do to be happy and successful. As they say - "The only success in life is being able to live in your own way."
Ok, so you now have your final assignment, but it could end up being your most important one. Besides you've already made it through what may prove to be the toughest academic challenges of your life. This will be easy! ;)
Enjoy this moment & celebrate all the people who've helped you get here from your parents to the faculty & administrators to each other. What a supreme accomplishment on your resume to be a graduate of MMI.
Frank Sinatra was right. If you can make it there, you can make it anyway. And I’ve made it in NYC. But I made it there b/c I made it here first...I would add that if you make it here at MMI, you REALLY CAN make it ANYWHERE!
Congratulations and best of luck Class of 2012!
What do you wish you'd known then that you know now? Share your best career advice with the class of 2012 below...
Read on for practical, strategic advice from Troy...
Turning a Layoff Into a Promotion
Q: What would you say were the crucial steps to your amazing transition?
A: For me the most crucial steps were to remain focused, patient and methodical in my approach to my job search. It is very easy to let your emotions get the best of you and become distracted from what you are trying to accomplish. I wanted my unemployment to turn into real opportunity, but that required diligence, and there were many days when searching for the right opportunity I got distracted by the pressures to just find a job, any job. Having a plan I could focus on and routine work to do was a good distraction from the emotional rollercoaster. It is only natural to fear the uncertainty so my advice is to make sure you focus on those things that are in your control.
Q: You Soul searched and Researched before you Job searched. Did it make a difference in the quality of the new job you've found? in other ways?
A: Most definitely. Had I not soul searched or researched I would have been lost when I needed to be the most focused and strategic. Without the confidence in knowing myself and my goals I could have easily entered into another role that was very similar to the one I had previously. It was difficult to think broadly and rely on what I had soul searched. Friends, family colleagues, all wanted to help me get back into the same role I had. They all knew me in one particular way and I’m sure they thought they were most helpful if they helped me do what I had been doing. I needed to rely on my internal understanding of my soul search and remain focused on my research. It helped me sort through the well-intentioned offers and the myriad of online postings and recruiters who needed to fill particular roles. My soul search and research served as my north star to keep me focused and ultimately the job I landed would have not have been on my radar if I had gone the traditional job search route. There is a lot of information online and you need tools like soul search to sift thru otherwise you can be pulled in a million different directions and not be very productive. So yes it helped land a better job that was more in line with the qualities that make me happy at work.
Q: What role did networking (online & off) play in you being sought after for your new job? Were some online sites/tools more helpful than others?
A: Networking is critical. But I had to learn to do it. I had a lot of preconceived notions of what it meant to network and I was wrong on all of them. It is not about calling someone or talking to someone at a cocktail reception and asking for a job. It’s about sharing with everyone you know where you are in your career and where you want to go. There is nothing to be afraid of when you are talking about yourself and knowing who you are, instead it becomes a fruitful discussion about you your skills, capabilities and interests and not and awkward conversation about asking for a job. Once people I knew understood what I wanted and what I was interested in doing the suggestions and offers to help were more meaningful. Gone was the obligatory “let me know how I can help” and instead there were real offers to connect me with people who could help me reach my goals for a new career. By networking I was able to talk to more people who were in positions to hire.
I found LinkedIn to be amazing! It became an obsession. Instead of playing “words with friends” I played on LinkedIn. I challenged myself to find the connections in certain companies and found innovative ways to start conversations with individuals whom I did not have a connection with. I used the linking tool to get a conversation started. It also broke down the traditional barriers to networking. Everyone on the site was willing to make a connection or discuss what they knew about a company, job or industry.
I made a promise to myself to keep networking, even with a new job, and that is twofold. First, it took a lot of effort and people were gracious enough to help the least I can do is keep them informed and second I want to make sure and be available to help the next person going through this process.
Q: Given your recent experience, what helpful tips or advice would you give to others who've been laid off?
A: Don’t be afraid to talk to everyone about who you are and what you are trying to do, whether it is a new role in a new industry, starting your own business or getting a similar job in another company. There is NO shame in being laid off, it is not your fault the company reorganized, or had to close down or sent jobs overseas. I was initially afraid of how I would tell people that I was unemployed and I was surprised how it was not held against me. People are getting laid off in every industry and you should not be ashamed about it. Instead tell everyone about the skills and capabilities you have and how you are using this as an opportunity to find that job that is fulfilling to you and how you will make a meaningful contribution in your next role.
Finally I would say don’t forget to keep in touch with everyone who is helping you along the way. You want to make sure you don’t just contact them when you need something. Your network includes trusted friends and advisors and should be treated as such. They will continue to be invaluable.
Taking time to manage your career leads to better opportunities. As you can tell from Troy's advice and experience, getting on the path to your ideal career starts with your own Soul Search and getting clear on what you'd love to do, the skills you want to utilize, and your work preferences.
I hope his experience inspires you to be optimistic about your next opportunity even if your last job ended in a layoff. KNOW there is something better out there for you just as there was for Troy - you just need to Soul Search and Research BEFORE your Job Search to find it.
If you've been laid-off or dream of a better career, share your vision below. Let's help each other do work we love!
On air and off, I've been asked many times about where to find opportunities to work from home and avoid job scams.
To answer this question, I enlisted the help of CEO & Founder of FlexJobs.com Sara Sutton Fell.
She says experts estimate that as high as 98 percent of work-from-home job listings are scams.
If you’re serious about finding legitimate work-from-home opportunities, read on...
Sara's three keys to avoiding scams and finding real jobs:
Know the typical scam jobs. Perhaps without even knowing it, you’ve already come across a job search scam. Common work-from-home scams include repackaging or shipping products, survey taking, envelope stuffing, data entry, pyramid or sales schemes, wire transfers and money movement, and craft or product assembly. Any of these should raise a red flag and put you on guard. Be careful of the keywords you use to search. "Work from home" is a phrase associated with lots of scams and pyramid schemes. Instead, try safer words like "remote work," "telework," and "telecommuting." The likelihood of a job being a scam also dramatically increase if there is a promise of easy money for easy work, if they require you to "invest" or pay a fee to get the job, if they ask you for personal financial information such as bank or credit card numbers, or if they use all capitalized letters or lots of !!! and $$$ punctuation. E-mails from unknown sources that promise work-from-home jobs should be ignored completely, and of course deleted.
Use legitimate sources for work-from-home jobs. If you’re currently employed, you might start right there. Employers are more open to telecommuting as a means of work, and if you approach your manager with a proposal to telecommute which lays out how everything will work, you might not have to job search after all. A company called Work Options helps professionals convince their wary bosses by preparing a detailed telecommuting proposal. If you want to find a new job and are exploring job search websites, keep in mind that the biggest job boards don’t pre-screen their job listings, so a scams can – and usually are – mixed in with the job listings (as well as in ads typically integrated on the sites). Another way to find a new job is to go directly to a company’s website. Think of small and large companies you admire and would like to work for, and visit their career websites to see if they’re hiring for any remote jobs. The search process for a work-from-home job is going to be more time-intensive than a traditional job search, but the end result is worth it. On the other hand, there are premium sites like FlexJobs that specialize in providing legitimate work-from-home jobs and pre-screen every job and employer to ensure they aren’t scams.
Do your research. Once you’ve found a job listing that allows telecommuting, do some follow-up research to ensure it’s a legitimate work-from-home opportunity. Does the company have a working website and phone number? Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau (and be sure to click on the logo to check their rating with the BBB)? Have they been covered by any major media outlets (and if they claim so, be sure to read the article to make sure the claim is true)? Try doing a web search for the company’s name and the keyword “scam” or “rip-off” to see if any of the search results raise an alarm. You can also use the FlexJobs Guide to the Best Companies for Flexible Jobs, a free resource featuring thousands of pre-screened and verified companies that have offered telecommuting or flexible jobs in the past. If your research turns up only good results, it’s probable that you’re dealing with a legitimate company.
Working from home can be the answer to many common work woes. You’ll be rid of the daily commute, save money on gas, car maintenance, and your professional wardrobe, and you have more time to spend with your family, friends, hobbies, and even yourself. By keeping these tips in mind, you’re bound to create a safer job search experience for yourself, and ultimately end up with a legitimate work-from-home job that can help make some of your biggest work woes disappear.
Many thanks to Sara for sharing her spot on advice! Have a tip for working from home? Share your comments, suggestions and questions. Here's to having both the work and life you crave!
Last week I wrapped up my last official duty for Martha Radio. I was the "prize" or rather my mentoring was the prize for a sweepstakes sponsored by DeluxeCorp and Martha's Dreamers into Doers project to help a small business owner to the next level. The winner was Laura McKeown who together with her husband Mac, started Sea Art Studio creating lovely functional tile art out of sea-based materials.
It was fascinating to meet with Laura and Mac and hear their story. Mac spent years as a commercial fisherman (a dangerous but lucrative job). One day, a giant boulder got caught in the nets. Sea life covered the stone and inspired the artist in Mac to recreate the beauty he saw into custom tiles. I'm honored to say I possess an original of Mac's work and it is impressive!
Together with the very savvy Laura Radewald from Deluxe (a previous guest on my radio show), we spent our "mentoring dinner" focused on ways Mac and Laura could build on their initial success.
Here are 3 essential questions I asked them so you too can make sure your career (or small business) is a success:
Soul Search: What is your biggest success story to date? What's made you happiest? Mac talked about a large installation that he found gratifying from an artistic and financial perspective. Laura talked about building their website and how it helped her realize her interest in creative marketing.
Research: What is between you and doing MORE of that kind of work? The way for Mac to more big installations was to increase his notoriety. But being an artist, Mac felt a strong personal connection to each product and therefore maintained control over how it was sold and marketed. Laura wanted to set up bigger partnerships with design stores and interior decorators but had a hard time getting Mac to choose the best designs for a product line that could be marketed and mass produced.
Job Search/Action Plan: What steps can you take to bridge the gap between where you are today and your ideal? I coached Laura and Mac to play to their unique strengths and compliment one another in their business roles. Laura valued Mac's work though was less attached and therfore better able to market his product. Mac's talents were best served focusing on the production process and continuing to make beautiful work most efficiently. The two walked away with an expanded perspective and specific tangible ways to make a living doing work they both loved!
After six years, it's time for Making A Living with Maggie to find a new home. Unfortunately my radio show is no longer being carried by SiriusXM due to major restructuring of the Martha Stewart Radio channel. It was a surprise because my show was popular and had advertisers. Nevertheless I am on the hunt for a new home be it FM/AM, Internet/podcast, TV or some other medium (I just found out my How To Interview video on YouTube went viral & has over 1.2 million hits!)
I'm Soul Searching on it at the moment, taking my own advice. But I didn't want this moment to pass without acknowledging all those who have helped make my show a success (saying thank you to those who've helped you is also advice I often share.)
I want to thank all the loyal listeners and callers for tuning in. Your questions and comments both on air and off made for rich career conversations. Thank you for your recent show of support as well, offering to write letters to Martha Stewart Living Radio and SiriusXM on my behalf (click on the links to make a comment on each company's respective Facebook page). Knowing my show has helped you/your careers emboldens me to continue getting the message out there that it is possible to Soul Search, Research, & Job Search into work you love!
Thank you to my inspired guests who openly shared the ups and downs of their career stories so that others could benefit. I'm honored to have interviewed the likes of Deepak Chopra, Martina Navratilova, Bob Barker, Dilbert Creator Scott Adams, Patricia Heaton, Barbara Corcoran, Sally Field and Martha herself as well as industry experts like Sandy Abrams, Keith Ferrazzi, Cali Yost, Marci Alboher, Lindsey Pollak, Craig Zabransky, Dan Schawbel, Jonathan Fields, Mark Babbit, Sree Sreenivasan, Gretchen Rubin, Miriam Salpeter & many others. (For a complete list of past guests and their latest advice visit my radio page.)
Thank you to my radio producers Marcy Yurick and Lauren Gould & sound engineer Chris Hauselt. Special thanks to Samara Lenga my first producer/engineer for getting Making A Living with Maggie off the ground.
Many thanks to Nicole Williams for suggesting I pitch a show to Martha Radio, to my former boss Ron Thomas for encouraging me to branch out careerwise, and to Cyndi Stivers for saying yes to my pitch & giving me the chance to live out a my dream to be a radio host. Many thanks to broadcasting executive Liz Aiello for recognizing the continued value of career conversation on air.
Thank you to my show sponsors and advertisers like Deluxe Corp. Your support has enabled people to follow their passions to new business ventures.
When one door closes, another opens. Though disappointed that my time on Martha Stewart Living Radio and SiriusXM have come to a close, I welcome the opportunity to reach even more people through new channels be it FM, AM, Internet radio, podcasts, TV, video, or something better.
Jobs are more complex these days requiring cross-functional skills or specialized knowledge. Education is lacking for many unemployed workers and for those who are educated, the push has been towards non-technical skills creating a dearth of skilled workers in the trades. Schools and business aren't aligned especially in vocational and technical areas. So even students who want to train lack the facilities to become "job-ready" graduates.
Thousands of jobs are going begging because employers can’t find skilled employees. So what's an unemployed worker to do? On the 4th Annual Job Action Day sponsored by Quintessential Careers, the good news is that there are smart actions you can take. Having worked with individuals of all levels and backgrounds, I've found the skills mismatch can be a mindset issue and not reality.
Here are three ways to bridge the skill gap:
Most people take their strengths & talents for granted & don't tout them enough. Ask those who know you well, "What are my best skills, abilities and talents?" Take to heart what you hear. When something comes easily to you, don't mistakenly assume it comes easily for everyone.
Skills are transferable from job to job, employer to employer and industry to industry - more than most people realize. My client Steve found his skills as a marketing executive in the music industry were key in helping him successfully launch his custom furniture business. Now Hill Haus Woodworks is not only bringing him joy and fulfillment but a paycheck as well.
Sometimes we gain skills we'd rather not use. Rather than settle, Soul Search to determine those skills you most want to be using in your career -be honest. For Stanford graduate Jessica DuLong, working in an office didn't satisfy her soul. Yearning to work with her hands, she transitioned to working as a fireboat engineer and is now an advocate for putting American hands back to work in the trades.
With the myriad of reasons for the skills gap, it can feel as if it's out of the job seeker's control to bridge the distance. But you have a lot more skills than you give yourself credit for. Take these three actions on Job Action Day and you'll be ready to go after your dream job with the perfect match of skills and passion!
**Reinforcing the Job Action Day 2011 "Skill Up, Start Up, Speak Up" message is this group of bloggers dedicating blog posts on or around Job Action Day 2011 to the event. The first four represent the Quintessential Careers family of blogs:
Do what you love - Martina said she would never have achieved such success had she not LOVED tennis. Her passion even led her to defect to the US when her home country (then communist-run Czecheslovakia) made her leave her family behind. Never knowing if she'd see them again, Martina made the unwavering commitment to make the sacrifice worth it by being her best on the court.
Adapt to change, don't fear it - "I was never afraid to learn new things" said Martina. From equipment to court surfaces to technique, the level of change in professional tennis over the four decades that Martina succeeded was staggering. Yet she never shyed away from a new way of doing things. "You can teach an old dog new tricks" was Martina's advice to listeners.
Get & stay in shape - After retiring from tennis, Martina gave up her exercise routine only to return to it a year later. From lost energy to feeling cranky, Martina realized staying in shape wasn't just for playing pro tennis. Now she doesn't miss a day of exercise. She even wrote a book on the subject (Shape Your Self) and her passion for good health has led her to a second career as AARP's Health & Fitness Ambassador.
It is no wonder that a Wharton study recently found that success in sports leads to success in careers. Martina's commitment both on and off the court to living her best life led her to achieve the best success careerwise too.
If there's one thing I've learned interviewing the "greats" in their fields from Martha Stewart to Deepak Chopra to Dilbert Creator Scott Adams to name a few and now Martina Navratilova...all the so-called secrets of success won't work unless you do.
As Aristotle so aptly put it, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but a habit."