Everyone needs a cheerleader, especially when searching for a new job.

CheerleaderAs many of my readers know, I struggled with horrible bullying as a young child. What you may not know is that as I transitioned into a teenager, I became a rebel at my public school, carrying an anti-popular attitude, pushing away anyone who could reject me before I could be rejected. I had several verbal and one physical altercation in school and I knew I needed out (I’m not proud of this).

I decided I needed a clean slate and transfer high schools- moving from a large public school to a small, art-focused, private school. This was one of the best decisions of my life because not only did it give me a new start, I was at a school with like-minded students who were artistic and creative. I also found a faculty and staff that were like a second family who could provide love and encouragement.

Although the transfer was a fantastic choice, I took old wounds with me and there was a vulnerability that lingered  Moreover, my sister who was popular throughout her school years began to struggle in her later teens and needed a lot of support from my parents which meant in many ways I needed to find emotional support elsewhere.

I was thrilled because my sister eventually decided to transfer to my school where she could get the attention and support to flourish as well.

As much as I loved my sister coming to my school, it changed the attention I was receiving by my teachers and peers that made me feel exceptional and unique. My sister has one of the most engaging personalities of anyone I’ve ever known and people want her to like them and to be her friend. This meant that my teachers and peers were paying attention to her and not as much to me.

My school that became my haven and safe place was still that place, but not mine alone anymore. I had to share it.

There was one person I didn’t have to share, my good friend Sherill. She was one of the biggest cheerleaders of my life. Whether she knew it or not, I relied on her for so much emotional support. She would be the person I would ask advice about friends, boys, clothes… anything a teenager could need advice about

I think my favorite part was that she liked me more than my sister and I needed to have someone favor me.

So you might be thinking, what does this story have to do with my career search? My point is, I understand how important a cheerleader is during important times in our lives such as a career change. I even have cheerleaders now as I grow my business as a career counselor. I know that the career search process can be frustrating and painful and there is no better time to have someone cheering you along the way.

It is common for my clients to have a well-intended family member to place pressure on them to put more effort into the process.  As much as that family member means well, it can add more pressure to the person who is already under stress in the first place.

More than anything, as a career seeker, you need to have someone be on your side. To love, accept and support you unconditionally; perhaps to hold you accountable and to provide a listening ear.

As you go through the job search, reach out to your cheerleaders and ask them to support you because it’s challenging to do on your own. And if you need to find a cheerleader, I highly suggest you join a job search support group because you can find a buddy to mutually support each other through the process. You can usually find job search support groups in your area through Meetup.com.

And if it helps even just a little, just know that I put a prayer out there for those who are in transition asking to provide guidance and direction. You’re not alone.

Make a Change: Do What You Love in Your Job!

What is your favorite part of your job? Do you like to manage others? Fix a specific problem again and again?  It’s common for career changers to like one aspect of their job and feel like they are not doing enough of it.

The purpose of this article is to help you identify your favorite aspects of your past positions in order to make your next career move.

I recently met with a recruiter, Lindsay Hay, from Lakeshore Staffing. I was asking her how she got into recruiting and she explained that she was in the retail industry for six years in various management positions. Her favorite part of her previous job was hiring, interviewing and training new employees. When she was looking to make a career change, she decided she wanted to emphasize and build upon this skill set and human resources seemed to be an obvious career transition.

Lindsay ended up networking with a friend who knew of a recruiting position that was going to become available and ended up applying. She emphasized all her transferable skills on her resume and cover letter in order to share how she was qualified to fulfill the needs of the position. And several weeks later, she was hired. Click here to watch my interview with her.

If you are looking to make a career change, below are several steps to help you identify your favorite aspects of your past positions in order to make your next career move.

Step 1. Make a list of your favorite tasks and activities from your previous jobs.

Step 2. Did you discover any patterns among your favorite tasks and activities? For example, perhaps you enjoy organizing, problem solving, creating, talking to people, brainstorming, or managing people or projects. Were there any tasks and activities you were so engaged with that you lost all sense of time?

Step 3: Research careers where you can emphasize the tasks and activities you like the most on CollegeInColorado.org (there is a great assessment on transferable skills on this site).

Once my clients have completed this exercise, I usually see them go in one of two directions: 1)They stay in their industry but they look for new jobs that emphasize the skills they want to build upon.; 2) They switch careers entirely knowing that they may have to have a couple of job positions to help them gain the experience they need in order to obtain their dream job.

If you’re feeling stuck, take some time to evaluate your past experiences. If you can get a job that emphasizes the tasks and uses your skills that you enjoy, you will most likely be happier in your next career move.