Going Back to School – A Mid-Career Option

You’ve been thinking about leaving your career to do something else. You understand that you are no longer happy in your current job and another one in the same field won’t make you any happier. Even better is you know exactly what you want to do, but you’ve realized that you will need to go back to school to pursue it. And, you are scared.  

That’s totally normal! 

Everyone has their own journey, and some people go from undergraduate school to graduate knowing exactly what they want to do. For others, they may have several years of work in between the two before going back. It’s nerve wracking to give up a job to pursue another field and go back to school, especially if you are older. But, guess what, it can be done and you won’t be alone! 

Start by looking at what kind of jobs you want and what they require. Some may just want a bachelor’s degree with some certificates, whereas others will need a graduate degree. Then, identify what kind of programs and schools offer that degree. If you are unable to quit your job, you might find schools that offer online-only or night classes to meet your busy schedule. Look at the different program requirements and how long it takes to complete the degree. All of these can help you decide which is a bitter fit. We also recommend making a spreadsheet of the different programs and including their application process, graduation requirements, and tuition. It’s also good to find the accreditation body of the field and look at what schools are accredited for that program.  

You can apply to a few and decide from there. You will want to see what you can afford and what makes the most sense with your schedule and where you live. Also, apply for financial aid and ask the school about scholarships and graduate assistant programs.  

Once you’ve decided on a school, start preparing yourself to spend more of your free time working on school. This might mean letting your friend and family know that you will be less available and giving up some extra hobbies and activities.  

School won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. Good luck!

Your Friend Got the Job You Wanted

You and your best friend are going for the same job, and she got it. Or, maybe you’ve been looking for a job for months and you neighbor, who already had a job, finds one without even looking. Comparing your own career search to others is natural, but it’s also adds quite a bit of negativity to our lives and can cause tension on friendships. But, luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid comparison blues.  

First, look at the different career paths between you and your friend. You may have similar jobs, or you may not, but you are each on your own journey. Try to remember that what might be a good fit for your friend, might not be for you, and your ultimate goal is to find a job that suits you.  

If your friend got a job that you really wanted and you thought that you would have been good for, use that friend as an in at the company (once she gets settled!). You can also talk to your friend about the interview and look at their experiences to see what skills you can gain and how you can do things differently the next time.  

Lastly, remember that success is not finite. Just because your friend found a job doesn’t mean you won’t find one either. Your perfect job is out there, you just have to keep looking!

Be Your Own Boss

Our economy is changing every day, and there are many more chances than ever for people to work for themselves. Here are a few ideas on you can launch your own career where you are the head honcho.  

The best place to start is the gig economy. This means house sharing, car sharing, running errands for people, walk dogs – you can even grocery shop for another person. These app-based companies are a great way to make extra cash and allow you to choose your own hours.  

Freelancing is another great way for you to be the one in charge. This is really about exercising the connections you already have, but many people make a living off freelancing. Whether you are helping people with their taxes, building a website, or programming software, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.  

Start your own business. This can be as easy as selling homemade jewelry or becoming a microgreens farmer. Whatever you are passionate about, you can likely turn it into a business.  

It might take more time and investment, but you can be the top gun of your own business if you work hard at it!

Beginning Your Job Search

Job searching can be extremely daunting, and you might not even know where to start. But, by taking it one step at a time, you can handle the process and find the right job.  

To begin, start by looking at companies you like and would want to work for. Most companies have jobs posted on their websites, so browse their availabilities. Also check with friends and former coworkers to see if they know about any openings. Having an in at a company always helps your application to stand above others.  

Then, search job boards from your college or other organizations you belong to. It’s even good to have friends look at job boards they belong to as well. Many industries have their own websites for posting jobs so search through them daily to see what’s new. Be careful of the date of when jobs were posted so that you aren’t applying to a position that is no longer available.  

Lastly, search web portals like Indeed and LinkedIn. While these are good tools, it’s also good to find the opening on the company’s page. The more you can make it look like you applied because you want to be at that company and not that you just found online, the better. 

No Call Backs?

Sometimes looking for a job can feel like dating. You find someone you like, you put in all the effort trying to woo them, but they never return your call. What next?  

Unfortunately, it’s very common for employers to not give updates on the hiring process to applicants. You might even send applications and never hear anything at all. While this is frustrating, it’s important to not lose your sanity.  

When you aren’t hear anything, try to keep positive. Job searching can be soul crushing but staying optimistic will help.  

Also, keep applying. Look for other jobs, even part-time things that might sound interesting. If most of your job searching is online, try to get out of the house. Volunteer, meet up with people whose job you are interested in.  

Most of all, keep the faith. You will find something!

When It’s Time to Quit (2)

Next, do you have another job lined up? If not, it may make sense to start searching for something else before you quit. If you job is really awful and it’s unsafe for you to be there a day longer, make sure you have savings that will last you about three to six months as that is how long the average job search can take.  

If you can, give the decision sometime before you come to a conclusion. Make sure you have looked at all of your options, know what your income looks like without the job, and have truly assessed the job. Every job will have some periods when it’s not going as well, and if you truly like the company, you might need to make adjustments to get through it. You can also consider asking your bosses for projects that better align with your interests or asking for a pay raise if you feel that you are not at the average salary range for that position.  

But, also remember that while you do have to pay your bills and make sure you and your family are fed, life is too short to be a job you hate. If you find yourself only living for Friday through Sunday, it’s a good idea that now is the time to find something new. You won’t always have jobs that you love, but you shouldn’t be miserable every day!

Nailing the Interview

Congratulations, you got a call back! This is the first step in landing that dream gig, but now you have to prepare for the interview. Don’t worry, we’ve got the tips you need to nail that interview.  

Be prepared. Spend some time before the interview reviewing the company’s website to learn more about their mission, current projects, and goals. Read through their blogs, the work portfolio, their social media posts. You want to be able to show the company that you want to work specifically for them, not that you just need a job. Also, if you can, find a contact who works at the company and get their insight how it runs and what you might expect in an interview.  

Bring examples. This means not just hard copies of your work, but also stories. Companies will want to know how you thrived in challenging times, when you disagreed with a supervisor, or about a time you brought an innovated idea to the table. Have these stories ready to go when asked.  

Look the part. It’s not a secret but you should look professional for an interview, but you also want to match the company’s tone. What kind of attire do their employees wear everyday? Match that in the interview.  

Have your own questions. Not only are companies interviewing you, but you are interviewing them. Use this time to ask whatever it is you want to know about the company. Hiring is an investment on both the company and the employee, so you want to make sure it’s the right fit before you start that process.  

Follow up with thank yous. Email can work, but handwritten notes is always best.  

Lastly, congratulate yourself. Who knows what will happen, but celebrate the fact that you made it this far!

When It’s Time to Quit (1)

Image result for i quit

You have probably often fantasized about the day you quit – what you would say to your boss, the smug smile you would give your co-workers when you leave, that huge feeling relief as you walk out the door one last time. For some of us, that’s just a fantasy on a bad day, but for others, it is a sign that really is time to quit your jobs.  

Here are a few things to consider when contemplating quitting. First, examine what are your reasonings for quitting. Are you bored and feeling underutilized? Do you have a difficult relationship with your boss or a co-worker? Is the company making changes and it’s causing some uneasy feelings about the future? Be honest with yourself about why you want to leave and see if it’s something you can change. If you and a co-worker are not getting along, then maybe you ask to be switched to a different project. Also, determine if it’s just the job or if you are in the wrong career? Could you do the same job but at a different company. It may be time for a career transition and doing the same job somewhere will yield similar results.