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Between the Trapezes Are Skills Really Transferable?
May 2009


Welcome to Between the Trapezes! Often the changes in our lives feel precarious as we are in that space between two certainties. But taking that chance is what brings success.

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  • Transferable Skills: Are They Really?
  • 25+ Years Experience and He Lands Dream Position!
  • Does Your Job Search Need a Boost?
  • Free Video Tips

  • Transferable Skills: Are They Really?

    Article summary:
    To shift careers or change them altogether, focus on what's common to your current (or most recent) career area AND your target career area. You must build "bridges" between the two on several points, not just skills. There is bias in many fields that says: unless you have experience in OUR field, we still won't look at you. Networking will help you get around this. You will need time to make such a shift, so be sure your finances can support you throughout the process.

    Now, the full article:

    There's a lot of talk about having "transferable skills", and this gives job hunters hope that they can transfer their way out of a dead-end position or a career that didn't deliver on its promise.

    And who wants to start over? Very few people; they usually say "I wish there were a way I could use what I already know, and not start out at the bottom, in another field".

    Before we say more: Remember, a job or career is not comprised solely of skills. And more importantly, YOU are not just a walking bundle of skills -- you have values, interests, and a personality. These all come into play in any job search, but especially one where you want to make a career shift.

    To see if making a switch is realistic for you, it takes a bit of homework, and it helps to have an impartial sounding board, such as a friend or fellow job hunter.

    1. First, analyze your current job and field for the skills you use AND what values, interests, and personality aspects that match it well.

    2. Use referral meetings (informational interviews) to learn more about your target field: its values, the language, the culture of the organizations there, typical job requirements. Will this be a sideways hop for you, or an enormous leap? These meetings also expand your circle of contacts in your new arena. They will be able to give you a realistic idea of your possibilities. Those in the exact job you want are your most valuable sources of such vital information. Listen to them.

    3. Subscribe to online newsletters and read articles about organizations and issues in this new field, so that you learn more about it and so that the topics don't surprise you when you're interviewing.

    4. If there's a potential fit, change all your "marketing materials" (resume, 60-second commercial, networking statements, tagline) so that it fits the new area. In your resume, be sure to focus on the "top level" of both fields, to draw similarities. For example, a successful client who'd owned several restaurants over 15+ years wanted to leave that field. Mark had done Operations, Sales, and Marketing. He knew he wanted to be in a technology company. In Mark's resume, we emphasized his knowledge of decision makers in the dining field, and his comfort level talking with them, since he already was one. He networked his way into a software company that was building software for restaurant reviewers online. The software company wanted that expertise, so they hired him, and he's been very successful.

    Please know that this current job market is not friendly to career changers or those who believe they can do a "skills transfer". Recruiters and others are telling us that companies are being very picky because they can afford to be, given the numbers of available good, already-experienced-in-the-field candidates. So if you're employed, start laying the groundwork now for making a change. If you're between jobs, volunteer and do what you can in your target field, so that you build your credibility and experience there. Either way, a change will take time so be sure your finances can support you during the transition.

    Making a change now won't be easy but if you are determined AND IF you successfully tie what you do now with what you want to do next, transferring your skills -- and all of what you have to offer -- is indeed possible.

    25+ Years Experience and He Lands Dream Position!

    Congratulations, Dave H., who landed a Sales/Project Management position in the Minneapolis area. Key to his search? First, Dave made himself an expert on Electronic Health Records (EHR), a rapidly growing area in our economy and one in which he has a keen interest. He read the entire new Economic Stimulus bill, which contains funding for EHR, and became an expert on the Minnesota incentives that start in 2011 for medical facilities which convert to EHR. Then Dave arranged many networking meetings and attended seminars that resulted in him becoming, in about two months, known as a resource in the EHR field.

    Second, Dave did a lot of referral networking, with LinkedIn as one of his tools. He talked to many people about EHR and at one meeting, the connection created a job in EHR systems and offered it to Dave on the spot. After some discussions and negotiations, Dave accepted the position which he started this week.

    Congratulations, Dave!

    Does Your Job Search Need a Boost?
    Helping hand

    Job search not going anywhere fast? Find out what's right AND what's wrong during a Quick Consult with the Queen. This 1-2 hour session gives you concrete steps to follow for getting unstuck. It also gives you practical insights into what YOU bring a new employer, knowledge about what sets you apart from the crowd of other candidates. The fee is $175 and the results are priceless!

    And if you choose to work with Joanne on these steps, that fee is applicable to your search project. Joanne does these in person or over the phone. Call today to schedule yours.

    Welcome aboard, Kelly!
    Kelly Oslund has joined Joanne Meehl Career Services as a Career Consultant. Kelly brings her background in Human Resources and recruiting. We'll have more about Kelly in forthcoming issues.

    Free Video Tips

    Want some tips about career choice and job search from Joanne, without leaving your keyboard? Go to her home page, and scroll down to the media links. Joanne's been in the news recently and the clips (the longest is 6 minutes) have many tips you can use.

    Let us know what you think!

    Tip of the Month

    Joanne Meehl

    Thought of the Day:

    Do one thing every day that scares you.

    -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    Tip of the Month:
    Add career keywords to your LinkedIn profile
    Most people know to add key words in the Summary of their LinkedIn profile. But another place to add them in is further down in your profile, under "Interests". Don't just use this to say "hiking, skiing, volunteering", which are fine to list, but add in B2B Marketing, Business Development, Account Management (or whatever fits you) in the beginning of this section. The more frequently you use your career key words in your LinkedIn profile, the higher your chances of companies finding you if they search by key word. _________________________

    We are proud members of:

    • Assn of Career Professionals Int'l
    • Career Management Alliance
    • Chapman Private Practice Alliance
    • Business Networking International

    Called "The Resume Queen" years ago by a career counselor colleague, Joanne Meehl decided to have fun with the nickname and trademarked it. She now uses "The Job Search Queen" (now trademarked) more often, because it better reflects the breadth of our services. While she has fun with those nicknames, she also takes them very seriously by keeping her career management skills on the leading edge, through research and ongoing dialog with recruiters and hiring managers.

    Follow Joanne on Twitter: jobsearchqueen1


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    Job search networking, May 21st, Wayzata, Minnesota.
    Face2Face Job Search Networking in Wayzata, Minnesota, is the group that Joanne Meehl facilitates two Thursday mornings a month in Wayzata.
    What will you find, if you attend? Plenty of new information about the job search in this very competitive job market, effective networking, camaraderie with 50-60 of your peers, great speakers on current topics, and a chance to sharpen your focus so that you get noticed by hiring managers. We guarantee this group will add energy and power to your job search. Details are at ______________________

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