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I met someone this week who said something that got me thinking…

“You know, I’ve never had to look for a job before. For my entire career, someone has always approached me with an opportunity. I feel lost for what to do.”

This is a typical experience for many people. If you ask a professional how they became a project manager / salesperson / insert other job title here, the story is the same.

“My parents knew someone who knew someone hiring, and I needed a job out of college, so I went. And, then so-and-so approached me about another job and so I went there a few years later. That’s how it started.”

Many professionals passively fell into their chosen career by chance. For many, this works out great. They have a long, fulfilling career that takes unexpected yet positive twists and turns.

For others however, this path can often lead to disappointment and confusion. Passively accepting any job that comes along can often land you in a role that may not be well suited for your skills or personality. And, eventually it will catch up to you.

For some, the wake-up call comes in the form of a layoff. For others, it can be triggered by family problems that are a result of a less than stellar career, or by an unhappiness that has been lingering for some time.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to take control. I’ve written in the past about being the CEO of your own career, and I truly believe in this philosophy. It’s about taking ownership over things in your life, and actively steering rather than passively waiting for something to happen to you.

It can be hard to do this however if it’s a completely new experience for you. You may be wondering, “Where do I begin?”

Clearly, this topic is a bit too in depth to cover in one newsletter. But, a good place to start is by thinking about what you really enjoyed at your last job, and what you hated. List out three to five things for each category.

Then, think about your biggest fear as it relates to your career. What is the worst thing that could happen? Is it that your boss is terrible? Are you bored all day? Do you have trouble meeting your personal bills because you took a pay cut?

Think about whether or not you want to work in the same job function and industry — or different ones.

Once you’ve worked through these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of your target. And, once you do, you can start to tell people about what you’re looking for.

If you’re not sure how to communicate this new idea to others (through your elevator pitch, resume, cover letter, or online), seek out help. There are often community and alumni resources available — or get help from a career coach like me.

I work with clients on their personal brand, and how they communicate about what they’re looking for. Perfecting your pitch and your personal brand is the first step toward putting you into the driver’s seat of your new career. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search.

Also, be sure to  subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts. Thanks.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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