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Career Transition: Ten worthy considerations when facing a job or career change

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Chuck Rose, CIMA

It has happened to me, and it may have happened to you, your friends and or your family members. The career path you were on was disrupted by a corporate decision which affected you and potentially many others. Often it is more than your job that is lost, it is a group of individuals you may have loved working with.

When you are still employed, but it is certain that you are facing a job or career change, start immediately on getting prepared to do a job search and take the time to think through your approach. Where will you search for a job? When asked for an interview what will you be wearing? Have your final resume ready and a clean notebook a pen that doesn’t bleed, know what questions you will ask and how will you follow up ahead of time. There is no shortage of articles about interview and job search techniques, so I wanted to discuss managing your time and energy between one job and the next.

Resume- the one thing to start preparing immediately Don’t just update your own resume- get a professional to help. Not only will it save you time and headaches, but it will likely look a lot more professional and you may learn more about how to present yourself in interviews and introductory meetings. According to corporate recruiters spend six seconds looking at a resume before considering a candidate and the average price is $150- $350. (1) I personally found the process very well worth it and the feedback I received confirmed the value.

Do an insurance and benefit audit Take inventory of what you have and what benefits you will lose by leaving your employer. Understand your healthcare and how COBRA healthcare insurance will work if you need it. If your spouse has benefits available, call together to their Human Resources to understand what is available and how to make the transition mid-year. Know if you are losing any disability or term life insurance coverage. Take the time to understand your severance if you get one and understand how unemployment works in your state. Overall do everything you can to eliminate or minimize the time your family is under/not insured for healthcare and life minimum essentials.

Spend some time dreaming Dream about your perfect life- your perfect location, perfect daily schedule, perfect industry, perfect office setting, perfect pay range, perfect perks and benefits. You may not get every single thing on the list but you literally have a chance to make some of these items reality right now.

Get your budget slimmed

As soon as you know change is ahead, reduce your discretionary costs and try to fortify your emergency fund. I am hoping you get a job earlier than you expect and raise your compensation but do what you can to make the time between paychecks less stressful. If you are married, try living on the salary of the spouse who is remaining employed through this transition.

Focus on your physical and mental health This is a great time to re-prioritize you and your family. Spend time with loved ones you haven’t seen as often as you would like. Schedule time to read either for relaxation or education. Start the diet you have been putting off. Get to the gym the number of days you would hope to in your dream schedule. Below is a link to an article with handy tips from the Minnesota State Department of Employment Economic Development (2) about balance during a job search.

Use technology to keep track of people, companies and your costs Keep a spreadsheet of every single person you meet or speak to. Take notes on when you met or spoke, what you discussed, when you would like to call them next and when you sent a thank you card. Also keep track of every single search related cost and keep your receipts in a folder. Costs include driving mileage to interviews and meetings, educational expenses, professional services and more. Many job search costs can potentially be tax deductible, please see a link below to the IRS(3) which is helpful but be sure to discuss details and specific tax advice with your tax professional.

Broaden your horizons Talk to people outside your industry and outside your comfort zone. What you may find is people are quick to offer their time over coffee to discuss their experience at a company or in a career. Many have also been at a crossroads and are happy to offer conversation, advice or even better yet introductions. One day you will be in a position to pay it forward. Education

One place always worth investing is in yourself, industry books, conferences, workshops, seminars. Do more than you normally would. Immerse yourself in possibilities and it may lead to a job opportunity and can lead to some new friendships and better knowledge.

Find inspiration and influence In a connected world you do not need to travel anywhere to hear great speakers or great ideas. They can easily be found within podcasts, you tube, documentaries, interviews and even by watching some college commencement speeches. I would suggest finding people who share your views and values, but also look for some opposing views or finding new influencers you haven’t yet heard to find new perspective.

Take care of your household finances During a job change is an opportune time to review your financial foundation which includes retirement plans, college savings, life insurance, wills, and any beneficiaries. Discuss with your team of financial professionals to make sure everything is up to date and headed in the right direction. Having your financial foundation set by the time you start the new job will allow you to focus your full attention at succeeding in your new role.

Time off between jobs can be stressful as you pay your monthly bills along with the uncertainly of when and where you will land your next job. However, even though the stress may be a factor, with a little thought and frame of mind this period of your life can potentially be the most impactful part of your career. I wanted to share some things I learned along the way that helped me, and I would love to hear from your experiences as well. Email or call us to start the discussion! Chuck Rose, CIMA

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