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Andrew Luck Walked Away From His Dream Career To Pursue A New Path. Can You?

iStockphoto.com |  Yobro10

iStockphoto.com | Yobro10

Life is unpredictable. We set out on our path, carving out a life and career that’s been many years in the planning and execution.

But what happens when it all goes off the rails?

Exhibit 1: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement at the end of August. At the age of 29, the franchise QB with a pretty bright future ahead of him decided to walk away from a massive contract to move onto the next stage of his life – whatever that may be.

To put this into perspective – It’s not unusual for a high-performing quarterback to play into his late 30s or early 40s. Tom Brady is 42, and he’s still starting for the Patriots.

In all likelihood, Luck stepped down less than halfway into his career, and entering his prime earning years. He cited the wear and tear of the never-ending cycle of injury and rehabilitation.

I get it, Andrew Luck isn’t your average Joe – he’s probably sitting on a huge nest egg, and has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford to boot, so he’s not going to starve. And yet, don’t underestimate the life transformation this will cause. He has approximately more than 30 years of productive career time ahead of him, and is basically starting over.

Most of us spend our lives preparing for and pursuing a career path. Consider all the time we invest in making ourselves who we are, between choosing a career path, pursuing a specific college degree (or even a graduate degree), and internships, even before starting in our line of work. The years progress, we build upon that experience, and become specialists in our chosen discipline. Next thing you know, we’re essentially stuck because it’s what we know how to do, and we’re good at it.

People change careers all the time, and injury is just one cause. These can include burnout, promotion, demotion, layoff, job elimination, or relocation. And I’ve encountered countless people (self included) who at some point in their career said they were good at their jobs, but their jobs weren’t good for them.

Being pushed into a career change is scary. For most of us, this frequently involves developing new skills and competencies in order to even think about moving forward toward a new path. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee stays with their employer for 4.2 years. Be prepared for change, whether you’re ready for it or not.

If there’s any lesson to be taken from Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement, it’s best to be proactive in managing your career. That means performing an honest assessment of both your professional landscape, and where you stand in it. Do you enjoy doing what you do? If you do in fact enjoy what you’re doing, can you do it at another company or is your employer the only game in town, so to speak?

If it’s clear that your career is reaching the end of its shelf life, build your exit strategy before you find yourself without options. Decide on a direction with an understanding of what you’d like to do, and what you’d rather avoid.

Research what the marketplace wants and invest in your skills to match it. Create an individual development plan that documents your goals, and how you intend to get there. And most importantly, always be training – any formal training, certification, or program is an asset, and some of what you learn will be transferable skills you will use no matter where you go or what you do. And it may not require going back to school for another degree, as an easy-to acquire certification may do the trick.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Jump Start Your Career With A Professional Certification

iStockphoto.com (  SvetaZi )

iStockphoto.com ( SvetaZi )

 

If you're looking to move forward in your career, a certification can be a quick and cost effective way to sharpen your skills, improve your market value, and get some additional letters to place after your name on your LinkedIn profile and business card.

According to the U.S. Department of labor's CareerOneStop, "A certification is a credential that you earn to show that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are usually tied to an occupation, technology, or industry. Certifications are usually offered by a professional organization or a company that specializes in a particular field or technology."

Depending on the credential, the certification process can range anywhere from detailed and tedious, to a brief online course and test. It's faster than pursuing an additional college degree, and can often be done online per your own schedule. So, if you're looking to elevate your game, consider pursuing a certification to round out or solidify your credentials. Depending upon your specific field, here some certifications from which to choose. This list is by no means exhaustive.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project Management Professional (PMP): The leading certification for project managers. It's not easy to get, but it's highly valued.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): Not as in-depth as the PMP, but also quite good.

HUMAN RESOURCES
Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Certified Professional (SHRM–CP): Designations denoting different levels of expertise as evaluated by the leading body in HR.
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR): Different certifying body (HRCI), similar credentials to SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP.

MARKETING
American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM): Specializations in Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, and Marketing Management.

ENGINEERING
Professional Engineer (PE): The National Society of Professional Engineers offers this designation to demonstrate a higher level of competency in the field.

QUALITY
Six Sigma: There's a ton of certifying bodies for Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt certifications. Supply chain, logistics, engineering, and business professionals can leverage a Six Sigma qualification to demonstrate an ability to use a methodical approach to solve problems and improve quality.
ASQ Certification: More of quality discipline oriented credential granted by a governing body.

WRITING & EDITING
Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing: If you have any interest in working in writing or publishing, this can help you elevate your game. Editing and proofreading have their own language and best practices.

This list is just a sampling. The information technology field, for example, has certifications for tons of technologies, security protocols, and systems. Even we resume writers and career coaches have our own credentials. Go online and do some research. Chances are your chosen field has credentials which can help you more forward in your career!


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn

iStockphoto.com ( Jirsak )

iStockphoto.com (Jirsak)

 

Did you know LinkedIn is a major recruiting tool?

There are more than 467 million user accounts in LinkedIn, all of which are professionally oriented; in other words, one in every 17 people on planet earth has a LinkedIn account, making the system fertile ground for recruiters to find potential candidates for open jobs.

If you'd like to get noticed on LinkedIn, it's important to know how these same recruiters use the system to search for talent.

Here are 3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn!

  1. THEY SEARCH THROUGH EVERY PROFILE TO FIND PEOPLE TO FILL THEIR OPEN JOBS. While nonpaying (i.e., free account) LinkedIn users have limited ability to see and contact individuals outside their first-level connections, companies pay dearly (around $9,000 annually, per user) to obtain universal access to almost the full population of members. Also, some companies use LinkedIn as their only recruitment platform; if you don't have a profile, you'll miss out on potential job opportunities.
     
  2. THEY BUILD PROFILE SEARCHES BASED UPON A VARIETY OF KEYWORDS. Have you ever wondered why LinkedIn encourages you to fill in all the fields on your profile? It's because recruiters fill out a combination of fields and Boolean searches with their criteria to identify qualified candidates. Keywords in your headline, summary, job description, education, skills, and other fields can all be searched and found. If you're serious about being considered for career opportunities, you should also be serious about building a profile sprinkled liberally with keywords and job skills.
     
  3. THEY DECIDE WHETHER TO LOOK AT YOUR PROFILE BASED UPON YOUR HEADLINE AND PICTURE. After running a profile search in LinkedIn, recruiters will be presented with a list of candidates; featured most prominently for each individual are their headline and picture. A snappy, descriptive headline and a professional, three-quarters profile photo will make a great impression and invite a deeper look. Fail to impress, and you may get passed over.

Rodney Apple, Managing Partner at SCM Talent Group, and Katie Kurz, Marketing & Recruiting Ambassador at SCM Talent Group, contributed to this article. If you're interested in learning more about how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for your career search, you can view our webinar on this topic here: https://youtu.be/zpfTYpupqUE

NOTE: In case you were wondering, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn other than as a paying user, and for my subscription I pay rack rate. But I've been using the system since its early days and while there are things about it I don't love, I firmly believe in its power as both a job search and recruitment tool.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.