Yesterday I met with a client who wants to leave her faculty position at a top public health program for a job that she loves. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a research junky, and she’s got the collaborations and publications to prove it. But at this stage of her career, she’s interested in connecting her research to practice, and doing more to create and evaluate the very programs that she’s spent years researching.
She had a strong start to her job search after our first session together. We created a 90-day plan for her to target information and leads for her job search and to prepare an industry-appropriate resume and cover letter. She’d been in academia for several years without work experience in the areas for even more years. So it was important for her to get current information on the practice side of the field of public health. (I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that academia and industry run on two different meanings of what’s “current”.)
She was rocking it!
In that same month she’d scheduled several lunch and coffee meetings with her contacts in foundations and nonprofits that do on-the-ground work in public health such as program development, strategic investments, and RME (research, monitoring, and evaluation). She also followed my advice to connect to an upcoming conference in her field (remember, the practice side of her field, not the research side). She even went the extra mile to create a networking card that would showcase her expertise and status as a job seeker.
We both were super excited when two organizations invited her for interviews. Cue celebration — Woohoo!!
In the next post, I’ll talk more about how we prepared for these interviews and the types of (tricky) questions her interviewers threw at her, especially their questions about whether she’s really able/ready to work outside the academy. But for right now, I’ll just wrap up with what she did right to get to these interviews so quickly:
- She acknowledged her strengths. She knew that she loves health and community development, yet she didn’t box herself in to one way of doing this work that she so enjoys. Her strengths as a qualitative and quantitative researcher and in program development and evaluation at the government and nonprofit level are assets. Her career coaching with me was to help take these assets to a new market where she could get paid more money and have greater impact.
- She realized what she didn’t know. She took a brave step to work with a career coach – something she hadn’t done before. Together we created a step-by-step action plan that was customized to her field and her unique job search situation. Did I mention that she needed to make this transition while living in one state and searching for work in another?
- She challenged herself out of her comfort zone. She has a vibrant personality and is an exceptional
conversationalist, but it still made her nervous to get out there and make contact with new people. It’s not easy to make yourself vulnerable and ask for someone’s time and information, especially when you know everyone’s busy. No one looking for a job wants to come across as desperate or lacking confidence in this important career transition — that’s why I wrote Be Bold to inspire and guide job seekers to take the next step and ditch fear. Click this link to order your copy of Be Bold today on Amazon.com.
What one step could you take out of your comfort zone to reach one of your career goals? What support would help you reach this goal?