Taking a Career Leap in 4 (not so) Easy Steps
According to Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post, “About 2.5 million women have lost their jobs or dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic.” Some have been victims of struggling industries like hospitality, while others have had to close their small businesses, while still others have had to put careers on hold to be stay-at-home moms/teachers. I am extremely grateful that my recent career change was one of choice, not of necessity. But I did take a big leap when I left my job in Collegiate Athletic Operations to reprise my love for sales…in the Medicare industry! When I made the decision to leave the industry that I always dreamed of working in, I really had no idea where I wanted to land. I knew what I had to give and I knew how I wanted to feel in my next job. Whatever your situation might be, when you’re ready to get back out there, challenge yourself to follow these 4 steps. You might just find that this tough and challenging time can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
1. Apply for anything and everything that sparks your interest
Success in my last job hunt came when I challenged myself to consider positions that fit my skillset, but that were in industries way outside my comfort zone. Do some research. Find industries that have shown to withstand the test of COVID and ask yourself how your talents can be best used within them. Is there an industry that you’ve always dreamed of working in, but didn’t know how to get there? Now’s the time. Listen to your interests and passions. They won’t steer you wrong.
2. Don’t limit yourself
One thing I’ve learned from the mentors I’ve had along the way is that women tend to shy away from jobs they aren’t 100% qualified for. This puts us at a disadvantage because men, in contrast, do not tend to suffer from the same lack of self-confidence. A good human resource professional or hiring manager can spot talent and drive a mile away and will often prefer to hire the person versus the skill. Industry-specific knowledge can be taught, whereas leadership and creative problem solving are more often personality traits that have to be cultivated over a long period of time. If you’ve got the latter, you can learn the former.
3. Trust what other people see in you
This one can be hard, depending on your personality type. If you get to the point that you are offered a great position and you’re questioning whether you are qualified or ready for it…stop the questioning. The person in charge of hiring for the position sees something in you! Trust that they know what they are looking for and that they see it in you. Believe them. Prove them right later.
4. Take a leap
Lastly, just follow your gut. In my experience, we women have internal instincts for a reason. Turn up your listening skills and when your gut says jump, do it! Forget imposter syndrome. Forget what might happen if this isn’t the perfect job. You’ve survived before and you can do it again. Once you’ve conquered thinking about the worst that can happen, you allow yourself the freedom to take the leap.
I’m no HR expert and I’m no one's career consultant, but I did do something scary relatively recently that has paid off big time for my self-esteem, my pocketbook and my resume. I challenge you to get outside your comfort zone during your next job search. If you do, you might just find the best job you were never looking for.