The Snake – Shedding Your Skin

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 4, 2009 in Career Path, Job Search, Self Improvement |

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In my recent article for the American Library Association, I offered some tips for moving from one industry to another. Just as snakes shed their skin, professionals sometimes need to shed some of the work they’ve done in order to land a new job.

Snakes shed the outer layer of their skin as they outgrow the old one, and even those that are not growing shed; replacing their worn scales with new, healthy skin. Some snakes shed every few weeks, others shed only about once a year. A new layer continuously develops below the surface of the old skin preparing for use. The snake begins the shedding process by rubbing its nose against rocks or other hard objects to start the separation of the old layer from its lips, and then crawls out of its old skin. This is why the old skins are often found intact where they were abandoned.

Whether your need to shed your old skin comes from economic pressure or from a desire for new challenges, any professional seeking to change industries need to first consider these points:

1. Determine What You Like to Do Most

You’ll have more success selling yourself to others if it’s for work you love to do. Employers are looking for what you’ve done in the past five years, so you will have to create links to a new industry by drawing from your most recent employment first.

Within that recent experience, identify the transferable skills. Everyone has them, and employers are looking for them, so determine what measurable, comparable skills are your strengths. Is it Excel? Managing sales teams? Technical writing? Cataloging? Focus on the skills you like.

2. Ascertain Who Else Uses that Skill Set

Take your transferable skill set and look for similar keyword strings on the Internet. Remember to use synonyms. What is “budgeting” to one company may be “forecasting” to another.

3. Consider Your Geographic Mobility

Some areas of the country are hard hit by the economy; others are not. Consider moving to a new area where there is greater demand for the industry you are moving in to. Your chances of finding a job in a new city with lower unemployment are much higher.

While most companies do phone interviews to start, you may be asked to interview in person within a few days. Being in or near the city where you are looking for work is always easiest. Many of us have friends and relatives across the country willing to help out; there are lots of people looking for short-term roommates.

4. Make Yourself Relevant — and Accessible!

Write your resume with the future in mind. Use all the related keywords you’ve found to re-tool your job descriptions. E-mail address and cell phone are fine for contact information, and use a local address on your resume whenever possible.

Obtain interim employment wherever possible. You’ll meet people who need help immediately who can also help you network. Taking temporary employment shows that you have a good work ethic and are serious about learning a new industry.

Strategically network in your desired geographic areas and industries. Join LinkedIn groups and look for job fairs or conferences where you can meet people who work at your target companies. Eighty percent of jobs are obtained through personal networking, not ads or employment agencies.

Consider retooling your skill set by retraining — many state and local governments provide assistance in this area. Contact your unemployment office and your local library to find out about programs offered in your area.

5. Follow Up … then Follow the Golden Rule!

One hundred percent of people leave a first message, but fewer than 15 percent will call a third time. Don’t give up. Keep trying to reach people who may have information for you. (Give them a few days to call back between messages, though.)

Do Unto Others

When you do find a job, make yourself available to others who may need your help and would benefit from the story of your journey.

>>>Based on the overwhelming response to this article, I’ll be hosting 2 interactive webinars this month with a focus on CHANGE:

CHANGING INDUSTRIES 

Learn how to specifically extract relevant experience from your background in order to change industries.  Please join me for a roundtable discussion of EXACTLY how to transform your resume into something that will translate from one industry to another.  The first 10 people to register will receive one on one telephone resume consultations prior to the webinar and have the option to participate as confidential “before” and “after” examples in the webinar.

 

CHANGING CAREERS 

We will layout unique executable strategies for people seeking to move their careers in a new way altogether.  Explore ideas to help you in choosing where you want to go and making an individual roadmap to get there.   Again, the first 10 people to register will receive a one on one telephone consultation prior to the webinar and have the option to participate as confidential “before” and “after” examples for other participants.

JOIN ME AND OTHERS FROM ACROSS NORTH AMERICA THAT WANT TO SHED THEIR SKIN!  The best way to get new ideas is to participate!

Carolyn Thompson

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3 Comments

Melia
Mar 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Very nice post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks 🙂


 
Carolyn Thompson
Apr 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

Geoffrey,
Thanks for your comment post! The sources for many of our articles are real life situations my team at Dixon Hughes Goodman encounters in our work. If I can be of assistance to you in any way don’t hesitate to reach out! ct


 
Carolyn Thompson
Apr 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

Melia,

We are always happy to take guest posts to help you further your professional writing career. Please make sure you submit your posts with links back to your personal website where people may find more of your writing samples. Submitting ideas to associations, professional magazines, trade publications and local newspapers is a great way to obtain work you may be compensated for.


 

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