The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (07/29/05):
- Dealing with issues of job stress and job burnout
- Using first job as a stepping stone to the next
- Building network and planning career change
- Using cold calling method of job-hunting in job-search
|Q:|| Sandy writes: I’m struggling and I need your help. I used to love my job and my employer but ever since a few months ago when takeover rumors started to circulate and the company announced a new round of layoffs my attitude has changed. I used to love getting up in the morning but now need like two alarm clocks to get me up. And I also find myself making more and more excuses for not going to work.
What can I do to go back to how I used to feel? What should I do?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Life is certainly changing for the typical U.S. worker. We’re working longer hours than a generation ago forced to do more work because of layoffs and hiring freezes and sometimes have to deal with rumors of takeovers and downsizing hanging over us.
These issues ‘ and more ‘ are leading to more workers having increased levels of job stress which can lead to job burnout.
Job stress is something we all face as workers — and we all handle it differently. There is no getting around it. But not all stress is bad and learning how to deal with and manage stress is critical to our maximizing our job performance staying safe on the job and maintaining our physical and mental health. For most workers infrequent doses of job stress pose little threat and may be effective in increasing motivation and productivity but too much — and too prolonged — can lead to a downward spiral — both professionally and personally.
What should you do? See if you can make some changes; follow some of my tips for managing the stress. Whatever you do make some changes before you face job burnout which has serious psychological and physical consequences.
Some tips for managing job stress:
For many more tips on managing job stress read my article Managing Job Stress: 10 Strategies for Coping and Thriving at Work published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| Fred writes: I am a 23-year-old newly-minted college graduate with a degree in journalism. I have a job working for a small-town newspaper. I have worked for my current employer for about two months. Before graduation I felt my hard work in college would not go unnoticed but my futile attempts to get hired at a bigger place make me feel as though it has.
Working for a small paper was never my idea of a permanent career. I felt it would be a stepping stone to a larger paper and what I would consider more challenging and fulfilling work. I don’t feel comfortable where I currently work.
Nobody in their 20s intends to graduate from a college filled with other hip 20-somethings and go right to work in dullsville at least not permanently. My question to you is: how soon is too soon after starting a job to begin looking for a new one? I itch to dust off my resume and send it to larger papers but I worry potential employers might not want to take a chance on me because I have worked for my current employer for such a short amount of time.
Am I right to be concerned?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Let me preface with my answer with a note that I am biased. I interned at a small town newspaper for two months one summer and while it was not a hotbed for investigative journalism it was a solid and safe place to develop my budding journalism skills (even if eventually I was won over by marketing). And now I live in a small town’
When you are in your twenties you want everything’ some say your generation especially feels this way labeling you folks the entitlement generation.
No job is permanent and you could leave at any time. But I totally believe that this job could be the stepping stone you suggest. However you need to work there long enough to build the clips and reputation before moving on to a bigger media outlet. Take initiative ask for more responsibilities bigger stories.
That said I also believe in having a current resume — just in case. And it is never too early to start building bridges to larger newspapers by developing your network joining a professional group etc.
|Q:|| Jean writes: My husband changed positions twice during the past few years resulting in unanticipated moves; these moves resulted in my separation from the workforce for two years. Now my new location does not have opportunities in my old profession and I have limited networks so I am considering a career change. How would you suggest a person begin networking in a new field when they have no local contacts? Can you advise any book or site that documents the progress of individuals who make significant re-careering decisions in their mid-30s to 40s?
I would also like to point out that my experience as an older career changer is daunting because there seems to be a trend towards increased credentialism over the past year that makes retraining longer and more costly. In particular do you know of any list that shows the best jobs for older workers?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Lots of great questions here and let me try to address each briefly.
Career change — at any age — is daunting. It takes a lot of hard work planning and execution but career change is very possible. We have a whole collection of career change resources on our site located here: Job & Career Resources for Career Changers. And the best book on career change in my opinion is David Helfand’s Career Change: Everything You Need to Know to Meet New Challenges and Take Control of Your Career (McGraw-Hill).
Tips for building a network in a new career field? Start with informational interviews. Identify mid-level professionals working in your new career and ask if they would be willing to spend some time talking about their careers. Just about everyone loves talking about themselves so most will agree to meet with you. Not only are you building your network by meeting with these folks but you can also ask each person you interview for suggestions on how to build your network’ and it all grows from there. Volunteering and searching out organizations are also other great ways to build your network (and gain experience). Learn more in this Informational Interviewing Tutorial on Quintessential Careers.
Finally credentialing. Your observation is correct. Certification programs have proliferated enormously in the past several years. At a minimum there are nearly 1600 certifications available according to the definitive directory on the subject the Certification and Accreditation Programs Directory. Learn more in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Certifiably Empowering: Hot Fields in Which Certification May Boost Your Career.
|Q:||Anonymous writes: I read your article on Job Hunting Cold Calling. I’ve been employing this strategy for a few weeks and have had great success in getting the names of hiring managers and answers to specific research questions. But once you reach out and contact the senior executive who’s hiring for the position what’s the best approach in beginning and conducting this conversation. I’m interviewing for senior positions in Marketing (i.e. VP Director 17+ years of exp). I can manage all of the other conversations but I’m stumped when I get to this point. I need something more than ‘ask for an interview.’|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: A quick review for readers because I still believe cold calling should be part of any job-search (along with networking at the top of the list and reviewing and responding to job postings). Cold calling is a proven method of finding employment — but you need to follow these steps to be successful:
Cold-calling works better at lower levels but it still has potential for someone at your level. I suggest you take the approach of using cold calling more for networking purposes which may indirectly lead to job interviews. Use cold calling to increase your visibility in the field. Instead of asking for the interview ask about having a meeting doing a lunch or playing a round of golf.
Want to know more? Read the article that inspired the question. Go to: Cold Calling: A Time-Tested Method of Job-Hunting.