Busy Professionals Need Career Training Too

Have you ever thought to yourself “if only I had time to spend on learning something new to increase my business”? Maybe you feel overwhelmed with the duties and responsibilities of running your business or business unit. We all have to overcome time management obstacles and focus on “US” in order to grow and evolve responsibly as a business leader. A few ways that busy entrepreneurs and professionals can enhance their own development while still spending the necessary attention to their business and others within their organization are outlined below:

Key Habit #1 – Read and Repeat:

Whatever your business or industry – take time to read about something related to your skill, business niche, industry, or whatever profession you are involved in once a day. After reading an article whether it be on the internet (like this one), a magazine in print or the latest business operation success book – repeat what you learned about it to someone you communicate with that day. Maybe it’s your spouse you are talking too, a co-worker and or your boss. An added bonus about repeating what you read or learned to your boss could be that he or she is impressed that you are taking extra time to spend on staying current with your business and seeking knowledge continually. Don not try to impress the boss, just share what you learned and repeating helps you retain the information (adult learning theory). Have you ever heard to old saying “Leaders are Readers!”? Ask any successful business person and they will tell you they spend a great deal of time reading. Repeating only enhances your reading habit! You only have to schedule a short time frame each day to learn something new. I recommend spending at least the first 15 minutes of the day (morning) to start out with. This allows you to learn something first thing in the morning and then you have all day to repeat or talk about it!

Key Habit #2 – Online Career / Business Training:

I recommend you take a career-training course. If your company will pay for it then all the better! Check with your human resource representative or training coordinator to find out more. Now this habit is tough to schedule if you can only take a classroom-training event or seminar in person. However, in today’s fast paced business and entrepreneurial world e-learning is taking shape and allowing folks to train at their own pace. There are plenty of quality e-learning courses in the areas of career training, business training and industry specific courses like insurance or finance. How does this add value to me as a professional? Well, a self-paced e-learning course can really be effective as you can take it at your leisure. Most career training courses can be started, left and returned to without any interruptions. You can always go back and view the information again. Most online training is broken into small chunks of modules like a 15-30 minute section on report writing or prospecting leads. It is a take anywhere kind of learning product – ever sat in an airport terminal on a seemingly never ending flight delay, walking back and forth looking at the same Starbucks station? Online career training courses are “different” so why not try something new? Some companies have very affordable and content rich business training available over the internet because of the low cost to run those systems and the global audience size who can have access to it. Some online career courses are read only like scanned books, however for those you can refer or classify in Key Habit #1 above. Some courses however, have professionally produced voice, animation and interaction built in which makes the training more tolerable when you are sitting in that terminal for an unknown amount of time (even though the intercom keeps telling you it should be only another 20 minutes – seems like that you hear that every 20 minutes in the airport right?)… anyway.. to summarize what the end goal of online training is: professional and personal development without having to read only!

Careers After 50: The Value of a Temp Job!

Careers after 50: developing appropriate experience to qualify for a planned career.

You’ve researched and studied a variety of proposed new careers. After speaking to others working in the field you’ve narrowed your list down to one or two possible new careers. However, you’ve found both require specific experience that you need to acquire.

Other qualifications for a new career after 50, for example, can be learned through self-study, distance learning, formal education and working with mentors. However, now you have the dilemma of getting the necessary experience to qualify for new career.

Let’s suggest a way to put you in a position to successfully compete for job in the new changed career. You might want to consider working for a temp agency, to get some desired experience or to discover if the suggested career is right for you.

Ask around for referrals to the right temp agency. Some temp agencies are specialists only working with specific careers and industries.

Re-draft your resume to put your best foot forward depending on the career and job. For each career you might want to restrict only signing up with two or three temp agencies. As you progress and learn more about specific temp agencies you can adjust your focus so you are only working with the best agency relative to the planned career.

Make it a point to see the temp agency recruiter, have a face-to-face interview and learn all you can about their services. Don’t forget this is a job interview and you want to show the recruiter how you would present yourself to a prospective employer.

Find out in advance if you are required to show specific technical skills at the temp interview and spend some time brushing up on the required skills prior to the interview.

Do some research regarding prospective wages you might expect. You’ll probably be asked what wage range you would accept. Also, you should learn what possible benefits might be available.

Many times temp assignments can last six months or longer. Be sure to tell the temp agency the length of assignment you would accept.

If the temp job is in a career you wish to qualify for, you may leverage yourself into being offered a full- time position. Or you gain enough relevant experience to qualify for a full-time career with another employer.

Don’t expect that you’ll be immediately moved into a desired temp position. Continue to contact the temp agency, at least once a week, to let them know you’re available for placement.

So the value to you using a temp agency in qualifying for a new career after 50 is: (1) Gaining required work experience, (2) Possibly being offered a job in the desired new career, (3) Bringing in some income while you prepare to change careers, or (4) Finding out the new career is not for you so you can research additional opportunities.

How to Successfully Navigate a Career Transition

I am often asked by my career coaching clients how to best navigate a successful career transition. In other words, how can you pursue your dream job while remaining practical and fulfilling your everyday needs and responsibilities? My job as a certified career counselor is to assure you that, like many others I’ve already assisted, I can put your fears aside as you journey down the path to greater career satisfaction.

Realize it’s a process.

When it’s time to make a change, people understandably get antsy and sometimes anxious. Change is scary for us. The fear of the unknown can leave us stuck in fear or anxiety. Know that this is okay, and that the discomfort you’re experiencing is actually a good sign, because it means you are making a change and starting to step outside your comfort zone towards a more fulfilling career path.

Amidst the anxiety, there is typically also a sense of excitement. You’re ready to make the change so let’s get to it! Embrace that motivation, tap into it to keep you moving forward, AND realize that this is a process that can take some time. Be willing to be patient with it, and with yourself. The more patient you are, the more opportunities and ideas can flow to you and the more open you will be to them. So when that impatience about wanting to move forward more quickly rears its ugly head… use it as a motivator, not a force that will push you into a decision more quickly than you are comfortable with just because you want it to be over.

Develop a transition plan.

Of course you’d create a transition plan to help you move through other changes in your life… right? Makes practical sense. Yet sometimes we get so excited and caught up in the moment that we tell ourselves we’re going to outline a step-by-step process and then quickly forget about it as we’re so busy reacting to whatever is happening around us.

Before you can move past the point of vague possibilities and enter the throes of a serious career change, you MUST develop a plan so you are covered in the financial, mental, and emotional aspects of your life and your future. The basics of your career transition plan should look something like this:

1. Financial. Taking care of your bills, yourself and your family, and any other obligations. Making cutbacks where necessary; starting a savings plan that’s devoted entirely to your new professional endeavor. These are just a few of the many ways to keep your finances in order while you restructure your life.

2. Mental. Coming up with ways you can keep those negative voices at bay. Developing a plan for learning the skills you may need in your new career. Rewarding yourself for milestones achieved along the way. This is a time for encouragement, confidence, and a can-do attitude, and it helps to “feed your hungry mind” what it needs to help you grow, spiritually, intellectually, and professionally.

3. Emotional. Identify ways to overcome the fears you may have. You’ll need a cheerleader to help you continue on and move past the potential obstacles in your way. Find or ask for emotional support from friends, family, or a career coach who can help steady your course as you make the transition in your career and life.

Set goals.

When the time comes to set goals… make sure they are specific, tangible, measurable and include a time frame. Your goals should be realistic, and also a stretch so you’re pushing yourself beyond what you’d normally do in order to move forward.

Take care of yourself.

Again, transition can be stressful, no matter what kind it is. Make sure you take care of yourself, especially during this time. Physical exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep and maintaining balance in your life are all things to consider and pay attention to when you’re navigating an adjustment in your life. Make sure you also schedule time to have fun. Often we leave out that part of the equation… and enjoying ourselves along the journey is the best part of all.

Remain or become financially stable.

Before I work with someone on changing career paths, I talk to them about their financial situation. It’s hard to dream and plan for the future when you’re heavily focused on or worried about paying the bills. While it’s important to dream about your career possibilities, you need to be practical as well. What are your options for becoming financially stable? Perhaps you can stay in your current position and work on the next career step after hours, or find a part-time job that pays the bills and allows you greater freedom to pursue your passion. Another option is to begin to set aside savings that will allow you to cover six to twelve months of living expenses. Remember, this process can take time. It took me about three years from leaving my full-time position to creating a full-time coaching practice. I encourage you to start now!

Dream first.

While financial stability is the foundation of your future, you also need to do some dreaming here. Therefore, once you have a plan to meet your basic financial needs, it’s time to take off your Practical Hat, put on your Dreaming Glasses – and dream big.

When I work with career clients, I ask them to dream first and worry about the specific logistics of how they’re going to make the change later on. What I find is that people tend to focus so much on the practical side of “how will I make this work” that they squash any creative idea or thought that may have merit – or may lead them to something they’d love to do. While practicality is important, it can also be limiting so notice when you’re getting too caught up in the practical side and not doing enough brainstorming or dreaming. Ideas are expansive and can be “trimmed and shaped” later to fit into your personal scheme as needed. So… before you set a new career plan in motion, you’ve got to start with the dream and then brainstorm ways to make it a reality. So what is your dream?

Share your dream or plans with those who’ll be supportive.

If there are people in your life who tend to be negative, point out why you shouldn’t do something or can’t, or something along these lines-wait a little while to tell them your dream. Sometimes holding back until you’re really solid in your dream is the best way to go. Share it with people who are going to be positive and supportive… who’ll inspire and encourage you.

All the best for a rewarding and fulfilling career doing what you love!

Copyright 2006 Hallie Crawford. All rights reserved.