The Last Word…For Now

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Career Planning

From Julie Clarenbach at Escape the Ivory Tower

All that education, but not on this

Unfortunately, most of the people around you are academics – and they likely know next to nothing about the non-academic job market.

The people in your life who aren’t in academia, well, they aren’t in academia. They don’t have the experience to help you translate what they know about getting a job to your particular situation. Worse, many of them probably did go a traditional route, getting a degree in and then staying within one particular field. They might even be telling you it’s the only option and you are, what’s the technical term?, screwed. (Or worse: They might be saying you have to go back to school.)

Of course, there are hundreds (probably thousands) of books out there explaining how to go about the job search process and even how to switch fields, but none of them address the particular problems of translating academic experience into something persuasive.

There are a handful of books helping academics and humanities majors think about what else they might do with all of their training, but they don’t really explain how to go about creating a comprehensive job search that will maximize your chances of success.

If only you could combine all of those things into one…

In order to craft a job search process that is both likely to be successful and isn’t going to make you lose your mind (either from anxiety or boredom), you need to put all of these pieces together: an understanding of how to translate academic experience to a non-academic audience, the tools and strategies that make a non-academic job search easier and less stressful, and how to combine it all into a system that you can use.

Call it a non-academic job search system. But I’m sure you can come up with a better name than that.

Week 1: Articulating what you have to offer

There’s a lot of work to do before you even start looking for things to apply for, which is why a solid master resume is the foundation of a successful search. It’s important to gather all of your experience together and document what skills and talents you’ve demonstrated throughout your life.

It’s easy for us to downplay our skills and accomplishments. We do it for lots of reasons – we’re afraid of being boastful, we’re afraid of being called out, we’re afraid of being thought of as snooty or intimidating or whatever. But the best antidote to downplaying isn’t forcing ourselves to sell ourselves, it’s confidence. And the easiest way to become confident is to document your actual skills and achievements.

This session enables you to articulate why you’re appropriate for a job you just know you’d be good at – and avoid jobs you don’t want just because you look like a fit on paper.

Week 2: Reaching out to find more

People are always going to be your best source of information for everything from all the ways engineers have gotten jobs trading stocks to whether company B’s vacation policy really is unlimited to whether the flower industry is likely to slump.

This sessions helps you activate your network, get clear about what you need, and find the right people to ask for help. I’ll also give you strategies for dealing with any anxiety you have about asking, for networking without smarm, and for getting the most out of your discussion.

Week 3: Finding and creating job openings

Some organizations have clear rules and procedures for hiring employees. Higher-ups have to approve it, departments advertise in particular ways, and everything goes from there.

More often, the whole thing is a bit more chaotic than that.

Yes, jobs are advertised in print and on-line lists. But employers want to attract good candidates, and placing an ad somewhere is rarely the most effective way to do that. And sometimes companies have problems they don’t even know how to solve – until they meet you.

This session will help you expand your search beyond job listings and even beyond job openings by exploring companies of interest and considering the ways you can solve their problems.

Week 4: Applying for a particular job

Applying can look like anything from filling out an online form to emailing a resume and cover letter to having coffee with someone who knows someone who could actually hire you. And make no mistake – interviewing is part of applying.

It’s your job to articulate how your skills and experience can help the company achieve the goals it’s going after. To do that, you have to have a reasonable understanding of the company – and of yourself.

This session will enable you to ask the right questions, dig for the right information, and connect it to what you have to offer.

Week 5: Negotiating

The offer of a job isn’t the end of the application process. It’s the beginning of the final act. The job search doesn’t end until you put your things down on your very own desk on that first day of work.

A successful negotiation means that no one is resentful on that first day – and ensures that the first day of the right job actually arrives.

This session will give you the principles of a successful negotiation and how to put them into practice.

Week 6: Putting it all together

No system is going to work without ways to plan for, execute, and keep track of all the many bits and pieces of information, relationships, and tasks. When you’re deep in the process, you’ll be reaching out, finding openings, applying, and negotiating to different ends all at the same time, and keeping it all straight is crucial to the outcome.

This session will help you put everything together into a manageable system that won’t overwhelm you.

How does this relate to the Conscious Careers course?

You might have seen that Jo VanEvery and I offer a class called Choosing Your Career Consciously. In that course, we help people explore their own experiences and interests in order to expand the set of possibilities they’re considering as a next step. You have a lot of options other than academia or teaching your subject in another venue.

In other words, the Conscious Careers course covers the work you have to do before you dive in to applying for actual jobs, namely, figuring out what you might want to look for. We build off of that work in the very first session of Becoming Post-Academic.

While having a sense of what kind of work you want to apply for will be helpful as you go through Becoming Post-Academic, if you’re having trouble imagining what kind of work you’d like to do, taking the Conscious Careers class would support your work in this course. The next round will begin in October, and we’re offering a package discount – both classes for $299.

You can read more about Choosing Your Career Consciously by clicking here.

So what does Becoming Post-Academic include?

The course will take place by conference call and chat on six consecutive Thursdays beginning June  7, 2012, at 7pm ET. (Here’s a handy time-zone-converter if you’d like to see what time that is in your life.)

The $179 price ($149 before May 31) includes six 90-minute classes (including recordings of all sessions), worksheets to help you apply the materials to your particular situation, and examples of job materials, interview questions, and tracking strategies.

When you register, you’ll immediately get my master resume worksheet and template delivered by email to help you start documenting your skills and experience. After the course begins, you’ll get additional worksheets and examples sent by email.

The cost is payable online by credit card or PayPal through a secure link.

Let me sum up

So what do you get by signing up for this course?

  • Concrete action steps that get you to your goal
  • A system that tells you which steps to do when – and that you can use whenever you decide to change jobs
  • Evidence of your experience, skills, and accomplishments
  • Strategies for researching companies and translating your talents into their needs
  • Ways to succeed at interviewing
  • Non-scary strategies for networking
  • 9 steps to simplifying negotiations – and getting what you want
  • The confidence to move forward and actually step into a new career

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