Sometimes in your career, things don’t always work out the way you plan them. For me, the first time I learned this lesson, I was in college. I went to one of those fancy, private schools to study computer engineering in the late 90s. I knew that an investment in such a great degree would guarantee me a job when I graduated. Not only that, it would guarantee me a great paying job.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The dot com crash came along right in the middle of my studies an put a halt on hiring. Even the recruiters that normally came to our school to hire students canceled their visits. It was something I’d never seen before and couldn’t have predicted.
This experience took me down a path of finding my transferrable skills and learning about new careers. Transferable skills are the strengths you can take from job to job. I also learned to interview for all sorts of jobs in many different industries – and I lost my fear of reaching out to strangers. It’s truly a skillset I developed out of survival. I needed to pay the rent.
I know it sounds strange, but when you look at interviewing from a different angle, it’s less scary and much more interesting. I looked at (and continue to look at) interviewing as making new professional contacts and learning about new jobs. I look at interviews as networking meetings, not as an opportunity to be rejected by a stranger.
And, you know what else? I don’t care as much if I meet every little minimum requirement on the job description. You know why? Because, truth be told, many employers don’t really care if you do. If an employer brings you in for an interview, it’s because they think you can do the job. Why not submit your application and let them decide?
If we could all spend a little less time worrying about being the perfect candidate, and a little more time just being the best candidate we can be, we’d all go a little further, faster. When I learned this lesson, my own career path changed dramatically. I went from being an engineer to a project manager then from a project manager to a digital marketing executive. Now, I’m a career coach. I could have never guessed in the 90s that my career path would have been so winding.
I was recently invited to share my own story of career success as a TEDx Talk. My talk, titled “How I broke the rules & found my perfect job,” shares my story of not waiting for permission and a little obsession I developed along the way. You may have already noticed. It turns out, I really like interviewing.
I invite you to check out my TEDx Talk on the TEDx Talk YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/broketherules). It’s my hope that you will be inspired to bend the rules in your own search, so you can find your perfect job.
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.
Loyalty is an important quality. It’s what helps bind friendships and loved ones. It’s what holds teams together. But, dare I say it – there are limits to loyalty.
Many of us were taught to be loyal to our companies. To some degree, this makes a lot of sense. We should all be truthful. We should keep trade secrets private. And, we should put in an honest day’s work when we’re there. We have a duty to be great employees each and every day.
In the past, loyalty at work also brought with it a number of great rewards. We could count on having a job every day. Job security was more of a given. Very often, hard work and commitment resulted in promotions and more money. And, years of service guaranteed a comfortable retirement. Putting the company’s needs first meant putting our own needs first to some degree.
But, times have changed. Without putting blame on one side or another, it’s fair to acknowledge that things are different in many modern workplaces. It’s no longer unusual for a company to restructure and cut an entire department – with no notice. It’s also not unusual for a company to look for outside talent to save the day when things are going wrong.
This new climate puts us at an increased risk of losing our job sometime during our career – no matter how great of an employee we may be. It also means the chances go up that we could be overlooked for an internal promotion. And, with the effort companies are putting into recruiting external talent, it means that we may also be overlooked for a pay raise along the way.
So, what can we do about this new environment? Well, first, keep being a great employee each and every day. You are your own personal brand. You don’t want to be any less of a good employee just because times have changed and you are adjusting your ideas on loyalty.
Second, focus on your long term goals. Where do you want to be in five years? Where do you want to be in ten?
As you work to achieve your goals, observe whether or not your company is supporting those goals. If you are being overlooked for promotions and raises, pay attention. The company is sending a signal. For whatever reason, they are not aligned to your goals. Your future success is dependent upon your acceptance of this unfortunate fact.
Expand your network and begin searching for a company that does align to your personal goals. When you switch companies, you have a chance to renegotiate your salary and your title. Instead of getting a two percent raise this year, what if you could have a ten percent raise (or more)?
At the end of the day, keep yourself and your future in mind. Don’t sacrifice yourself because you want to be loyal to an organization. If the organization needed to save money, their own loyalty would become much more optional.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.
Wow, spring is really here! This weekend was so pretty. I hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.
This weekend, I was back at home. Last week, I traveled to Worthington, Ohio (a city near Columbus) to give a TEDx Talk about career success in the face of interference. Giving the talk was a huge accomplishment. Thank you to everyone who helped me prepare along the way!
I look forward to sharing the full talk with you very soon. When it’s available, I will be sure to email you.
In the meantime, I want to touch on a related topic — measuring success. Someone recently asked me, “Angela, how do you measure the success of your work as a coach?”
It’s an interesting question. If I were going the business route only, I’d probably just measure dollars and close rates. But, coaching is different. There are more layers to it. It’s truly special. I get a chance to be part of the lives of individual people.
After I check the numbers, I look at a few things that are a little harder to quantify in Excel. First, I look at the success of my clients. Were they able to make the switch they were aiming for? Did they successfully rebrand themselves? Do they enjoy their new career? For those clients who prioritize salary, how much of a financial jump was the client able to make with their switch?
Then, I look at something I didn’t expect to be thinking about when I started Copeland Coaching. I look at referrals. Surprisingly, most of my new clients come from current or former clients. They send me their friends, their family, and their colleagues.
On a number of occasions, I have had the chance to work with three members of the same immediate family — on three separate searches. I never in a million years expected that. It’s a huge honor when this happens. An entire family is inviting you into their world, to help them get closer to their personal goals.
So, the long story short is: Was a client able to achieve their goals and transition into a better career? And, was the client happy enough to recommend the process to loved ones?
I’m very fortunate to work with my clients. I get to help play a small role and their future, and for that I’m grateful.
At the end of the day, success is something that’s measured differently in each business or industry. Regardless of your situation, it can be good to occasionally take a step back and ask yourself what success looks like where you work. What can you do to constantly improve your results?
Although this is a simple question, it really got me thinking. And, I wanted to take a few moments to share those thoughts with you.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.
Thanks to everyone for listening! I hope you’ve enjoyed this bonus episode.
If you have a question you’d like answered on a future Copeland Coaching Podcast, you can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching. Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!
Today is a very special day! I’m excited to share that Copeland Coaching has passed a big milestone. Copeland Coaching is THREE YEARS OLD!!!
It’s been a fun, exciting, fulfilling journey. Thank you to everyone who has helped me out along the way. First, thanks to those who helped me setup the business. From help with my podcast to my company logo to putting together my office furniture, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for your help, and thank you for believing in me!
To my clients, thank you for taking me along with you on your special journey. Helping you to find your purpose has been the most fulfilling work I’ve had the opportunity to do. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Thank you for letting me in. And, thank you for taking a risk to find your own true path. Thanks too for introducing your friends and family to me. I’m humbled every day when I receive referrals that weren’t just sent from one person, but from multiple people. Thank you for your friendship.
This has been an awesome journey. I’m looking forward to even more exciting things in 2017. Stay tuned, and happy hunting!