If you are unable to zero in on a career that energizes and excites you, well, youíre in good company. Identifying your career passion and navigating a transition will test your determination, as obstacles emerge with alarming persistence. But you want something more in your career, and your work is to find out what it is.
You roll up your sleeves and plunge into the Internet, believing it to be the promised land of wonderful employers and exciting jobs. And there you live, for hours every day, searching job listings, visiting chat rooms, reading, hoping.
Days become weeks. You rewrite your resume, you check your e-mail, you reorganize closets. Dozens of positions for which you are brilliantly qualified yield not one encouraging response to your resumes, except the rare postcard ("Thank you for your interest in our organization. The position for which you applied has been filled.") indicating that there are actual living, breathing people out there.
This is the resume you slaved over. It is succinct, compelling, a thing of beauty. But now machines scan it for words you can only guess at. The joys of solitude and reflection give way to creeping isolation and doubt: What am I missing? Is there something on my resume that spells doom? Perhaps Iím not looking in the right places. What do I really want in my next career?
Try this instead: Consider going to a career center, or forming a job club where you can mix with others in your situation.
At organizations like the Sacramento Professional Network (916/227-0330) you can share advice, support and feedback with other jobseekers. Itís a great forum to exchange ideas, tips, contacts, and phone numbers. Make friends, get connected, commiserate, celebrate, grapple over issues together.
For structure and clarity, consider working with a career counselor or enrolling in a job-search workshop to identify your essential needs and interests, skills you genuinely enjoy using, talents you want to develop, and your motivating sources of fulfillment and commitment. With feedback and ideas from someone trained to listen between the lines, you will be energized and focused. You gain momentum.
As for your resume, remember the advice of Eunice Azzani, Managing Partner at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International: "Spend only a few hours on your resume. Spend most of your time on your story, the story of what youíve done, what you care about, what you want and where youíre going. A resume is only a piece of paper, an outline of the past. To stand out, to come alive to employers, tell your story."
Once youíre clear on your story and your direction, you are confident and optimistic, ready for action. You scan newspapers, periodicals and reference books for ideas, and schedule informational interviews with industry professionals.
Now youíre ready to contact the companies youíve researched in-depth. Ask for interviews, and convince employers they need you. When you close in on the job you want, you might ask a career counselor how to structure a compensation package.
You may interview many times before you discover the right fit. But with proper preparation throughout your job search, you can be sure youíll recognize it when you find it.
Click here for a list of past articles with list of job clubs.