“What’s the #1 Thing Anyone Considering a Career Change Should Do First?

 

Are you stuck, bored, or burned out in a career that you no longer love? If so, the #1 thing you must do first is to decide what do you want to do next.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just decide. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy at all. And the stakes couldn’t be higher! We’re talking about your life, after all.
When I faced my own career crossroads a few years ago, I was stumped. I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I had reached the highest point that I could go in my previous job. (I served as President of the Virginia Education Association from 2008-2012.) I had earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in 2007, but I had never been an administrator..nor did I want to be.
I have two Masters’ degrees, but neither of them offered a prospective job possibility
I also had 33 years experience as an educator. But I was too tired to return to the classroom.
That meant a career change for me. But what to do? Where to go?
I certainly had not planned to retire so early. When you cry every time you consider a prospective idea, however, I think that is a clear sign that you need to think of something else. That’s where I was. Every time I thought about going back to the classroom, I teared up and experienced a profound sense of dread. I was just too tired.
I eventually decided to take early retirement and take some much needed time to rest up. I thought I would feel better if I could take some time for myself. And the rest was wonderful. But I didn’t help me make a decision around the future of my career.

 

I stayed stuck for months. I tried to write my own resume, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I hired a professional resume writer but was unhappy with the results and felt like I had wasted $400.
I finally found a career coach who offered online advice for a reasonable price. I took her online course which opened my eyes to all the mistakes I had made so far in my search.
Here is the thing about job searching. You don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know, in this case, can hurt you. There is an old saying that “What you don’t know cannot hurt you.” In job hunting, what you don’t know will hurt you. In this case, ignorance is NOT bliss.

I made the same mistake that a lot of job seekers make when they start out to change their job or career. They write their resume first based on all the things they have ever done since they started to work. They include everything because they want to display all their experience whether it is relevant or not.
That approach might have worked in years past. Today, recruiters and hiring managers are not interested everything you have ever done. They want to see what can you do for them NOW. They care about your unique blend of skills, experience, education, talents, and aptitudes. They want to know how you can help them solve their current and future problems. How can you save them money or make them more money? They are much more interested in the bottom line. What can you bring to them? And how well will you fit in with their team?
You can’t write a resume that conveys your value until you decide what it is you bring to the prospective job. And you can’t decide that until you have decided what the heck you want to do with your career? You have to answer the question, “What do you want to do next?” You may be crystal clear on all that you don’t want to do, but the clarity needs to be around what you want in the next phase of your career.
Here was my list of wants:  I wanted a flexible schedule. I wanted to work for myself instead of someone else. I preferred to work from home. I wanted to work in a way that provided service to people. I also wanted to stay in touch with my teacher colleagues because I know teachers. I love teachers. I understand teachers because I have walked in their shoes.
What resulted from that list of wants was the idea of coaching, but I resisted that idea for months. I didn’t believe that coaching was a real “job.” I didn’t believe I could make any money coaching. I didn’t believe I could support myself as a coach. I was afraid that I would never convince anyone that I had anything of value to offer.
Yet, the idea would not go away, and at the end of the day, I had all those “wants” that fit the profile of coaching.
I talked to my coach about it after I heard a presentation on the topic of “Follow Your Passion…Find Your Next Job.” I decided to try on the idea of coaching, at least. So, I asked her what she thought. Her response was perfect. “If you feel called to coach teachers who are feeling the kind of burnout you have been feeling, you should go for it.” That was all the encouragement I needed.
I started to look into coaching programs. I learned that coaching is one of the fastest growing industries, and it has not leveled off yet. Many Boomers are turning to coaching. They want to help their younger colleagues with some of the challenges they face. After all, Boomers have a lot of experience and expertise to offer.
So, it turned out that coaching was next for ME.
The question is, what is next for YOU?

If you don’t know what you want to do next or what your next steps are, then I encourage you to find someone who can help you figure it out sooner rather than later. You will waste valuable time and money if you fail to answer the simple, yet not so easy question, “What do you want to do next?”
You can’t ignore the question. In fact, your life depends upon your being able to answer it.
Until next time.
Photos by Depositphotos.com.

 

 

Do You Need LinkedIn? Yes…Yes, You Do And Here is Why

People often tell me that they don’t use LinkedIn. They may have an account that they set up a long time ago, but they don’t remember what their password is, and they haven’t looked at it for years. They think they don’t need it. They are wrong.

Here are the typical comments I hear:  “I am a teacher…I don’t need LinkedIn.” “I am in business on my own…I have a website…I don’t need LinkedIn.” “I am not looking for a job…I am very satisfied where I am. I don’t need LinkedIn.” And so it goes. Everyone is wrong!

To those who believe that they are exempt from needing a LinkedIn profile that is fully optimized and ready for”prime time,” I cannot put it more plainly. You are just wrong! (Or, to quote one of my favorite Big Bang Theory TV characters, “You couldn’t be more wrong.”)

Everyone should be using LinkedIn. Period.

Just as billions of you around the world use and enjoy Facebook for family, friends, and fun, your LinkedIn profile is the virtual and literal “link” between you and the rest of the professional working world. Whether you are looking for a job or happily employed where you plan to stay until you retire, you need a fully optimized LinkedIn profile!

Why am I so passionate about this? As a Career Transition and Job Search Coach to teachers who are burnt-out and are looking to springboard into the business world as well as mid-career professionals who find themselves at a career crossroads for any of a variety of reasons, I believe that LinkedIn is rapidly becoming your new, online resume. Just as everyone needs to be able to present an up-to-date hard copy resume of their work experience, everyone needs an up-to-date and fully optimized LinkedIn profile.

I offer webinars and presentations on LinkedIn profile optimization, and I provide critiques of LinkedIn profiles for those who want advice on how to make the most of the features that LinkedIn provides. (My next webinar on LinkedIn Profile Optimization is next week, Thursday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. To register, click here.)

In that webinar, I teach attendees the basics regarding what elements to include in a fully optimized LinkedIn profile starting with their photo. Frankly, I am stunned by the photos that some people use on their LinkedIn profile. They apparently don’t appreciate that LinkedIn is not Facebook. It is not Twitter. Nor it is Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or any other totally completely “social” social platform. LinkedIn is a social platform for professionals. Its express purpose is to allow professional people from all over the world to be able to connect with one another on a professional level and to network in a professional manner.

LinkedIn is where you can showcase yourself as a professional or as an entrepreneur in ways that you cannot duplicate anywhere as easily.

If you aren’t sure what you need to include to provide an optimized LinkedIn profile, I have had a graphic designer create a 14-point checklist designed just for my clients. It is graphically beautiful, but it also includes the practical and pragmatic graphics that convey how you can create a LinkedIn profile that includes the most important elements starting with your photo, your headline, your number of connections, and the need for you to customize your URL. I am offering it for only $1 even though I believe it is worth much more. This guide helps users understand exactly where everything should go and why.

Stress Self-Assessment

No matter where you are on the career continuum, you may want to give this unique, one-of-a-kind LinkedIn Profile Highlights Checklist a look.

Since it is only $1, you have no reason not to take advantage of it.

But if you aren’t yet convinced that you need to be setting up a LinkedIn profile, take a look at some startling facts:

  • Over 430 million LinkedIn users around the world to date and growing by…
  • 2 new members every 2 seconds.
  • Over 128 million users in the United States alone
  • Over 106 monthly unique visiting LinkedIn members
  • LinkedIn is used in over 200 countries and territories in…
  • Over 20 languages
  • 70% of users are outside the United States
  • 94% recruiters are using LinkedIn to look for talent
  • There are 6.5 million active job listings on LinkedIn

Need I say more?

If you remain unconvinced, consider this one last fact of life. Nothing ever remains the same. You may be happily employed today, and your job might disappear tomorrow. It happens. Companies merge, and departments are phased out. Jobs are eliminated. Workforces are downsized. I know one man whose company decided to move across the country. He was invited to go along, but he chose to stay put for personal reasons. He had no idea how hard it might be for him to find an equivalent position in a speedy fashion. He had to start his job search from scratch and try to get it from 0 to 60 mph in a hurry. Had he been keeping his resume up to date and his LinkedIn profile optimized and ready, he could have shaved weeks off his search.

I don’t have to tell you that we live in precarious times. Nothing is guaranteed. Right now, however, I believe I can safely say that if you don’t think you need a LinkedIn profile, you are simply wrong, my friend. So why not fix it and get started on your profile right away?

Order your LinkedIn Profile Highlights Checklist and get started.

Teachers, Are You Feeling the Painful Symptoms of Burnout?


Since I recently changed my headline on LinkedIn to “I help burnt-out teachers find career alternatives that are perfect for them because work should be fulfilling and FUN!” my LinkedIn connections have gone up almost 400 in less than one month. I am receiving at least four messages a day from teachers of all ages and all stages of their careers asking for more information about what I do. They want to know how I might help them because they have self-identified themselves as “burnt-out.”
Spring is the time of year when the feelings of exhaustion and a sense of overwhelm are most acute for teachers and students. Spring testing is driving every activity in every classroom across the country. Students in schools where passing the benchmarks is a given feel less pressure than those who attend at-risk schools. In those schools that have been deemed “failing” or “at-risk,” students feel the pressure just as much, if not more than their teachers. Kids know that their futures depend on upon how they do on standardized tests. For seniors, graduation hangs in the balance. Regardless of age or grade level, for those who don’t test well, this isn’t a fun time of year.
Fgrade
For the 7 Signs of Teacher Burnout Click Here

When I talk to them about their interest in my services, teachers tell me pretty much the same thing:  “I still love my kids, and if I could just teach without all of the other “stuff,” I would be satisfied to stay. (They often use a more descriptive term than “stuff.” I’ve cleaned it up for a G-rated audience.)

The problem is that the other “stuff” has become a non-negotiable part of the job!

Arbitrary standards that are attached to equally arbitrary test scores which have been linked to teacher evaluations (thanks for nothing, former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan) have made teaching an untenable proposition for a large number of teachers.

While the economy was crippled due to the economic melt-down of 2008-2009, many of the teachers who started suffering from job burnout long before now stayed put because there weren’t a lot of other jobs available to them. As the economy improves, however, the possibility that there might be other opportunities available to them has created a desire for many teachers to want to at least explore their options.

When teachers contact me, I tell them that I can’t offer them a job. I am not a recruiter. I am a Career Transition and Job Search Coach specializing in working with teachers who are feeling the pain and disillusionment of job burnout and who are ready to explore their professional alternatives.

Teachers need my help because many of them fall into the trap of thinking, “I can’t do anything else…I am ‘just’ a teacher.”

Here is the thing:  Because teachers are well-educated, have a solid work ethic, learn quickly, and are good communicators, they are ideally suited for many other lines of work. They just don’t know it yet! And that is where I can help.

What makes me an expert? I was a teacher and librarian for over three decades. I then went on to become the President of the Virginia Education Association. When I left that job I was burned up…worn out…done.

teacher burnout

I couldn’t find the energy or the desire to go back to the classroom although had there been a library for me, I probably would have gone back. What I was offered was a middle school English position which was out of the question for me. I knew I didn’t have the physical stamina. I didn’t have the emotional resilience that I would need to deal with middle schoolers. More importantly, I didn’t have the desire.

I believe that children deserve to have teachers who want to be with them. So, I retired a full six years earlier than I had planned.

Once I made the decision to retire, I felt relief flooding over me. I knew I had made the right decision for me. I took some time off to rest, and I needed a lot of rest.

At the end of six months, I decided it was time to reinvent and retool myself. That was three years ago.

I have established my own business, and I worked with one of the premier career coaches in the country where I received top notch training. I then launched out on my own, specializing in working with teachers who need my help in finding a new career path because their teaching career no longer lights them up or provides the sense of joy and satisfaction they hoped to find when they decided to become a teacher.

Melissa Bowers, a former teacher now turned writer, recently nailed it with 7 reasons teachers might not want to teach anymore in her blog which was offered in Huffington Post I believe many teachers will be able to relate to one or more of those reasons.

So what to do if you are ready for a change? Before we can determine if you need help, you should determine if you are, in fact, suffering from the symptoms of teacher burnout.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you find yourself dreading going to work, feeling anxious on depressed on Sunday night before having to go to work on Monday?
  2. Do you feel stuck and unhappy because you don’t see room for advancement or promotion?
  3. Do you feel that you have control over your classroom and your curriculum, or do you feel that all of the major decisions are made for you, and you must comply…or else?
  4. Do you feel disillusioned because teaching isn’t what you thought it would be (or it has changed since you started)?
  5. Are you having trouble with sleep because you are worried about finances, your students, your general sense of overwhelm?
  6. Are you lacking the energy and drive you need to be consistently productive and effective on the job?
  7. Are you having physical issues such as headaches, backaches, gastrointestinal issues or other ailments?

If you answered “yes” to any of these seven questions, it might be time to consider making a career move.

 

stressed woman on computer.

For the 7 Signs of Teacher Burnout Click Here (1)

Regardless of your current level of job burnout or just general stress, if you are still reading this post, it means you need to consider taking action today to get yourself out of the rut of a job that no longer serves you. You are considering new goals or ridding yourself of a situation that is sucking all of your enjoyment out of life.

You get one shot at this life. You need to make the best of it.

If you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions that have worked for you, I hope you will share. My only rule for commenting on this blog is to keep it civil, keep it appropriate and keep on topic.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me at http://kittyatcareermakeover.coachesconsole.com or fill out the contact form below:

Until next time.

Thanks to Shutterstock for the photos.

 

 

 

#1 Thing You Need To Know if You are Thinking about Changing Your Career

I am obsessed with the notion of being a “Career ‘Makeover’ Coach.”

I think the reason for this is that I want to help people who find themselves at a career crossroads figure out what they want to do that will be perfect for them because I think work to be fun and fulfilling!

I want people to be doing work that is in alignment with their core values.

I want them to be working in a career that taps into their unique gifts, talents, and aptitudes.

And I want them to be happy to go to work every day instead of dreading it.

I recently posted this message on my Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter pages:
If you hate Mondays

Photo by Shutterstock.com

It isn’t enough to know that you want to make a change, however. You have to know what you want to do to replace what you are already doing. 

Lack of clarity is the #1 problem I hear from most of the individuals with whom I meet on a regular basis. 

Along with a lack of clarity, however, is a misunderstanding around the purpose of your resume. Most people mistakenly think that the first thing they need to do when they are ready for a job change is to write their resume. They think they should sum up all of their qualifications from their entire working career and plop it in a resume that they then upload into a database and they wait for some magical combination of events that might land them a new job.

It doesn’t work like that anymore if it ever did.

Today, you must first decide what it is you want, get crystal clear about the direction you want to go, and THEN you are ready to write your resume making sure that your resume matches the job description for the job for which you are applying.

Most people don’t get that in the beginning, and that is why they struggle so with the whole process of job hunting. Few people really know what they are doing when they start out which is why people increasingly need some sort of professional help.Clarity…knowing what you want and then having the courage to go for it. That is the #1 thing you need to know before you start looking for a new job or a new career.

Read, journal, meditate, pray…do whatever you need to do in order to get in touch with yourself and consider what you want to be doing with the time you have left on the planet. Do you want to be working in job or career that is meaningless even though it may pay the bills? I think most of us would opt for less money, frankly, if they knew that they were doing work that was meaningful and would impact the lives of others in a positive way.

It isn’t just hype to consider that your work and your mission and purpose in life should be aligned. I happen to believe that it is why we are here. We don’t want to leave this life feeling that we didn’t make a difference to someone. It is in our DNA to want to leave a legacy.

What do you want yours to be?

Career and Passion

Photo by Shutterstock.com

Until next time.

Photos by Shutterstock.

For questions, contact me by email or call me at 804-404-5475.

 

It's Time for a New Job

I Am Back!

I have been so busy with other writing and other activity that I have neglected my blog here. My apologies to anyone who was following this particular blog…I am going to be more active here moving forward. Thank you for your patience.

In my defense, I have been busy with numerous activities along with some life altering events.

For example, in April I launched my eBook, Stressed, Stretched, and Just Plain Overwhelmed:  A Guide to Managing Your Stress and Developing a Greater Sense of Work-Life Balance. It is FREE, so feel free to go to the link to download it.

About the same time I launched the eBook, however, my mom got sick. I spent the better part of 25 days either with her in the hospital or running back and forth from home to her (a 3-hour drive one way) to keep up with the basics of running a business and taking care of things at my home.

She passed away on May 15. Frankly, nothing has been the same since. I know it is one of those things that happens to each of us if we live long enough. We lose our parents, and in her case, she was 86 years old and had had a good life. She had not been well for a while, however, and I know that she is in a better place, and she is not suffering which is a relief.

In spite of the fact that she is gone, and in spite of the fact that my dad died in an accident 29 years ago, I still think of each of them every day.

I am always mindful of the lessons they taught me. I am always wondering if they would be proud of the work I am doing today. I think they would be…but I miss them nevertheless.

I have also been writing a lot for an ezine called Careerealism. You can find some of my writing there if you like.

I have been working a lot lately as a career transition coach. I specialize in working with teachers who are experiencing symptoms of burnout, but I also work with mid-career professionals who have found themselves stuck in their job search. I offer resume review and LinkedIn help for anyone who needs to make sure they are on the right track in their personal job search.

If you happen to be a teacher who is suffering from job burnout (a teacher in distress), check out this new checklist I just released. Answer any one of the 7 questions about job burnout “yes” and you may need to talk to me.

Check it out. The checklist is available here. Download it and check it out. If you ARE suffering from job burnout, contact me for a complimentary consultation. Sign up for that here.

I  am sorry I have been away so long. I am glad to be back. Let me know what is going on with you.

Until next time.

Stretching Beyond Your Comfort Zone

You may or may not be aware of that fact that I am a retired teacher and librarian. I worked in the public schools of Virginia for 33 years as a 6th grade language arts teacher and library media specialist, and I loved it. I loved it so much that I became National Board Certified in 2003 and renewed my certification in 2012.

In 2008, I leapt out of the comfort zone of the familiar and the relatively “easy” by running for and becoming the president of the Virginia Education Association…something I did from 2008-2012.

As I left the VEA, I recognized that I was suffering from a severe case of job “burn out.” As much as I loved representing my professional colleagues and advocating for the children that attend public schools, the job took a lot out of me… physically and emotionally.

After taking a few months to rest and relax, I decided that it was time to get back to work. I was unprepared, however, for the maze of job boards, changes in expectations regarding resumés, cover letters, and getting my LinkedIn profile up to speed. Suddenly, looking for a job became a full time occupation!

Somehow I was led to the website of a company called CareerHMO. The company is owned and operated by J.T. O’Donnell, a coach who has developed a proven methodology that she calls the “disruptive job search.”

J.T. was my coach during the time that I subscribed to CareerHMO’s JSAP program (Job Search Accelerator Program). With the help of that program, I got crystal clear about what it was that I did and what it was that I didn’t want in my next professional endeavor.

I knew in my heart of hearts that I really wanted to become a life coach, but I didn’t know any life coaches, I didn’t know how to select a program, and I wasn’t sure I could start a business of my own at this stage in my life. J.T. says that we are all a “business of one” and she has noted the growing trend of individuals starting their own businesses and serving as independent professional consultants. With J.T.’s encouragement, I decided to once again leave my “comfort zone” and start my own business as a coach. I have been grateful to J.T. personally and I have been recommending her program to others who have found themselves seeking jobs or new positions.

I truly believe that J.T.’s program is the “real deal.” The content of the program is rich and covers the gamut from self-assessment to the importance of developing a regular job search practice and eliminating negative self-talk that can be so damaging when people are between jobs.

Because I am such a fan of J.T’s and CareerHMO, I am thrilled to announce that I have joined CareerHMO as an Independent Coach Consultant (ICC).

Once again, I am taking on a new endeavor, stretching beyond my own particular comfort zone. I will be joining a team of highly qualified coaches, and I know I am going to learn something new everyday.

I would ask you to consider what it is that you may have done lately that took you out of your own comfort zone? Do you stretch yourself periodically or have you gotten complacent? Do you complain about your life but do nothing to change it?

I urge you to consider that life is all about taking on new chances and going for new opportunities as they present themselves to you.

In the meantime, while I know that not everyone reading this is looking for a job, it is likely that you know someone who is. Perhaps you have a relative who just finished college but hasn’t yet landed that dream job for which they are prepared. Or perhaps a friend has been laid off and they have found themselves like I was not so long ago, bewildered by the job search landscape and wondering where to go and what to do. If that is the case, I urge you to share the information below.

Right now, for those who go through my link at careerhmo.com/kitty-boitnott-external, you are eligible to take advantage of a free offer AND deep discounts on the prices of the packages that are available to subscribers. Having gone through the JSAP program myself, I can offer a testimonial to its effectiveness. I highly recommend it.

Please feel free to share the link with anyone who is between jobs, looking to change jobs, or anyone who anticipates wanting to look for a promotion or change at some time in the future. The methodology that is offered in this program can be used by anyone who wants to prepare themselves for their next great job.

 

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