Archives for posts with tag: career change

I’m going to make that a thing.

Recently, I reactivated my search for a real job. After sending out about a half dozen applications to jobs I knew I could do, but wasn’t particularly excited about, I spotted one that got me charged up. It was outside of my fields of experience, but definitely drew on my core skills.

I considered it carefully. Over-carefully, perhaps. I sent the notice to a couple of trusted friends who were familiar with my resume. Was it too much of a reach? I wanted to know. My friends reinforced my belief that I had the skills, but may have a hard time getting noticed without the specific requirements.

Armed with reassurance that I wasn’t delusional, I approached a local friend who works at the target employer. She was encouraging, and offered to forward my application to the appropriate HR rep. She advised me to apply through the main, electronic channel as well.

Last week, I got a call. I survived the screening interview, and was told my resume would be forwarded for further review. The rep who called me indicated she had concerns about my lack of experience in the field. I replied that I had been successful in transferring my skills to disciplines where I’d not had previous experience, and was certain I could do it again. I went on to say that I have already joined a local professional group as an associate member, and intended to obtain the certification I lacked regardless of whether I got the position we were talking about. (All true. Unfortunately, I have since learned that although I can study for the test, I can not apply to take the test until I have a year’s experience in the field. A little Catch 22 situation to worry about on some other day.)

I really wanted a chance to interview. I believed that with a live interview, I would be able to illustrate how well suited I was by experience and temperment for this job. I was deconstructing the requirements line by line, preparing to demonstrate how my experience had prepared me. I read about the company. I saw myself in the building, visualizing my new routines. I already had the job.

At the same time, I knew it was a long shot. There is always someone who looks better, and has all the requirements. I prepared to be realistic, and disappointed, if need be. I kept looking for other attractive opportunities. Yesterday I noticed that something else I’d been interested in was still open, a week after I spotted it originally. So I took the time to apply.

I’m glad I did.

I checked my application status on the automated system for job number one. There it was: the dreaded “resume no longer under consideration.” Sigh.

I gave myself permission to feel sorry for myself for five minutes. I shot off a few emails to people who were in the loop on this adventure, giving them the update. I remembered to thank my friend at the company for her help. Then I went and took a shower.

Five minutes is a really long time sometimes. I got distracted, thinking about what to wear for work, and remembering that I had fallen off schedule for posting to this blog (I think I was in suspended animation waiting to see what would happen after that phone call.)

I am still sorry not to have been interviewed. I still think I could have done a great job, but I have things to do. If I start to get discouraged again about this or any other thing, I will make a date with myself for another five minute pity party, and set a timer.

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In my sporadic yet ongoing search for real work, I have established a LinkedIn profile. True to my self-conscious, insecure, indecisive self, I have not completed said profile. This post will attempt to address why that is, in my hope that in so doing I will be inspired and motivated to move forward.

The purpose of the LinkedIn profile is to present one’s professional self to the world. It should  list accomplishments, describe abilities and define goals, and with any luck, propel the professional toward connections and opportunities. Right?

OK. So what is my problem?

I am morbidly averse to trying to catalogue my accomplishments, probably because I am afraid I won’t find any. Likewise abilities. And goals? Uh, to find a job. That I like. That pays reasonably well. With great colleagues. That challenges and engages me and allows me to make some contribution to the greater world. Or at least my little corner of it. Can I be more specific?

Now you see my problem.

It’s packaging. And truth. Not that I have any problem with the truth. My problem is reconciling who I have been with who I want to be next, right down to my very name.

(I’ve written before about why I wanted to change my name. I’ve gone so far as to change it socially, but not legally. Mainly due to dread of bureaucracy, but the time has come to confront that too. I see a trip to the County Clerk’s Office in my near future. I’ll think about dealing with the DMV and Social Security later, when I can bear it.)

In the short-term, at the suggestion of my very savvy friend, I have  merged all four components of my name into one LinkedIn identity. She was right to talk me out of ditching my unloved first name, and the surname I was born with; my entire professional life has been lived as that person. So the name thing is solved for the moment: first, middle, last and married. It is quite the moniker. I fear that no one will have the patience for the whole thing. (There’s a lot of spelling.) I am Sandra Leigh Smutz Cadwallader. (phew)

Having solved the Who, I must still consider the What; the complete profile includes a title or tag line that summarizes the professional. That’s great if you are a marketer, an engineer, or a candlestick maker, looking for another marketing/engineering/candlestick making gig, but what about me? I’d like to cast the widest possible net without sounding like a Psycho Great Imposter. (haven’t we all worked with one of those?- “Yeah, I ran a restaurant. It was after I was a swimsuit model and before I became a stockbroker.”- lookin’ at you, K in S.F.)

I am a former investigator with experience in criminal law, juvenile dependency, and insurance. My greatest strength may be my ability to approach and engage people, to gain rapport, build and maintain relationships, often under stressful conditions. I am a skilled interviewer. I am able to obtain information from multiple sources and quickly and concisely put it in report form. I routinely managed multiple projects with conflicting deadlines. I am by nature a problem solver with an interest in conflict resolution. I enjoy training and mentoring. Although I have never been strictly motivated by money, I have strong sales skills: in my current part-time position, I am consistently among the top three producers. I qualified for “President’s Club” status last year by attaining over $300,000 in sales. This year I am on track to attain at least $500,000.

So what am I?

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

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