Lost your job? After the initial shock wears off, the following strategies will help you reinvent your career.
1. Take a time-out
Ask yourself: What am I good at? What are my values and passions? What environments allow me to shine? Read and work through career books, such as What Next? Find the Work That's Right for You (DK Publishing, 2006) by Barbara Moses or The 2006 What Color Is Your Parachute? (Ten Speed, 2005) by Richard Bolles.
2. Find help
Career-transition services offer sessions on self-assessment, rÃ©sumÃ© writing and job-search strategies. Some employment resource centres offer free career-exploration programs. Consider hiring a career coach to help you discover what matches your values, personality and lifestyle. Ask friends to recommend coaches or try the free referral service at www.coachfederation.org. Cost is approximately $50 to $150 per hour.
3. Scan the horizon
Explore changes in your occupation, industry and local economy. Find people who are doing work that interests you. Meet with them to discuss what their jobs are like. Identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes that contribute to their success, advises Roberta Neault, a career-management specialist. How do your own skills compare? Based on that gap, set personal and professional goals, such as a specific computer skill. Volunteer for organizations that interest you.
4. Be prepared
Make and carry a transitional business card so you don't have to carry around a rÃ©sumÃ© in your purse. Include your name, address, e-mail and a professional identifier, such as "marketing specialist."
Join a networking group for people in career transition. "It's a great place to expand your network and get leads," says Mark Swartz, career coach and author of Get Wired, You're Hired (Centor Media, 2006).
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Still employed? Great. Try these strategies from Moses and Swartz -- just in case.
1. Update your rÃ©sumÃ© every six months. Include your accomplishments, skills and completed courses or training.
2. Make a portfolio. Keep work-related thank-you cards, letters of feedback, performance reviews and work samples (deleting confidential information).
4. Network within your profession. Attend conferences and courses, even at your own expense. Send articles of interest to colleagues to keep in touch, so they won't feel you only contact them when you need something.
Set your sites
Whether your career is taking a self-guided change of direction or you've been forced back into the job market, the following sites will help you pound the pavement more comfortably.
Career exploration and job search info
Free online career manual, including self-assessment and job-search strategies.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has links to free job counselling/search programs.
Information about workplace rights.
Canadian Employment Lawyers Network
has information on employment law and contact information.
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