Let’s face it – in a constantly evolving employment world, being an adaptable worker is a resume must-have. But change is hard, especially for those who are behaviorally inclined to resist it, and a career transition, the mother of all changes, can seem near impossible. As a behavioral specialist and lead recruiter, I see unhappy employees and jaded job seekers stuck in this “no man’s land” everyday. They all repeat the same tired lines: “There are no good jobs out there,” “I don’t know what else to do,” and my personal favorite, “It’s the economy.” What these people fail to realize is you can’t make a major career move without a structured plan in place and a clear destination in mind along with the support to get you there.
Most people underestimate the power of understanding how their brain is wired before diving into the job-seeking world. For instance, if you are a compliant, analytical, detail-oriented individual who thrives in structured environments, you may not know that you are more fearful of change than others and, therefore, need guidance to help you get through it. People who exhibit these behaviors are usually in accounting, finance, banking, information technology, engineering, operations or the military, just to name a few. My point? If you’re a job seeker who’s not having any luck or a Working Joe who can’t stand his current gig, your career stasis may be a product of your behavioral style – or, more accurately, a lack of understanding of your unique self.
The first step to changing your career for the better is admitting that you need to do different and seek help. Heck, even the Olympians rely on coaches, mentors and fellow athletes to achieve the gold. It may seem like a hyperbolic comparison, but even the seemingly simple task of landing a great position requires a support system, a task that you’ll find is not so simple after all. In fact, you need to change your fundamental thoughts in order to reach your gold: a sustainable career.
Doing different and seeking help requires a growth mindset. People with growth mindsets understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through personal effort, coaching, and persistence. They learn to welcome change regardless of its source, possess a readiness to grow, and measure the journey toward improvement. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is someone who believes that his or her basic abilities and intellect are simply fixed traits. They have a hard time accepting change, tend to prove and validate their own decisions and don’t take constructive criticism well. Because the business world demands fast-paced individuals, employers are actively seeking candidates who exhibit a growth mindset.
Justin is a great example of a new growth mindset. A highly educated electrical engineer, Justin progressed his career at several organizations in the Aerospace industry, but a sudden corporate downsizing in 2013 left him without a job. As a true expert in his field with an unwavering passion for his work, Justin was devastated by the loss. He was at the top of his field and earned the highest salary. The last thing he was expecting was a career change only 15 years before retirement. He was an old, fixed mindset who, after six months of unemployment, came to me for guidance. Here’s what he had to say about the experience:
After six months of unemployment, I realized that the business world had changed and that I needed help. I took a career assessment, which taught me about job direction, the qualities employers are looking for in a candidate today, and the industries that are growing now. The experience was eye-opening – not only did I realize that I have the skills and ability to transition into a new industry, but that if I didn’t, I’d be waiting around for a job opening in a field that was no longer in demand. After attending all the Career Reform webinars and investing in a new resume, I had a clear path and a realistic goal. Best of all, I had the tools and knowledge to get me there. After sharing my dream to transition from electrical engineering to a career in the automation/industrial sector with a colleague, he referred me to a company he had worked for in the past. With his good word, I secured an interview and landed the job. The new position will allow me to enhance my skillset and learn a new field. And as an added bonus, the change won’t affect my current salary rate. With a new understanding of my behaviors in relation to the job market, I’m confident that I will be able to tackle a new work environment head on and any growing pains along the way.
There’s a place for everyone in the employment world. Have you found yours?
Once you’ve identified who you truly are professional, it’s time to update your key job search elements to match. Our free Job Search Toolkit will help you refresh your career plan, resume, and cover letter easily.