If you are out of work or looking to make a change, the best advice I can give is to figure out what you want to do next. Not as easy as it sounds, I know. Without a focus or without a clear idea of what you're strengths are, no one is going to be able to help you, except a career counselor.
It is not the job of your friends and family to know about the thousands of different jobs available. They only know what they know.
A friend of mine got off the phone with someone whom they had been connected with to help provide insight and advice. My friend was trying to help. When he got off the phone he said to me, "I have no idea what he looking for and I have no idea what he does." They were on the phone for at least 20 minutes. Is there a problem here?
People do want to help but you have to be clear.
Some example intros for career exploration:
- I am interested in learning from you how non-profits differ from for-profit businesses. What are their challenges and where are their needs.
- I enjoy being the interface with customers- helping them with their problems and providing resources that might help them. What do they call this where you work?
- You've been in several different lines of work, what have you found to be the most satisfying and why?
- If you were to change careers right now, what would you do?
- I've always wanted to be a teacher of some sort. How would you suggest I break into teaching?
Of course you will also have to use your elevator pitch or 45 second commercial. This brief bio has to be spoken with passion and conviction. It also has to be forward thinking, not a laundry list of past work history, no one cares where you've been early in a conversation.
I am an educator with vast experience conveying new concepts and ideas in many different industries from manufacturing to technology. I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to increase the performance of teams and individuals. My research has indicated that a corporate trainer, teacher's aide or HR Generalist would be potential opportunities to pursue.
This type of pitch helps the listener understand how they can help. It is future focused and minimally touches upon past lingo or experience.
My hunch is, that as the conversation continues, the listener will ask for more information. Be ready to provide your information concisely, avoid long drawn out explanations. The listener is trying to piece together their connection and offer help. Listen closely. Explore and learn.
Do you have questions you have found to be helpful in exploring new careers? Please, share them so we can all learn!