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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.

The 6 Traits Hiring Managers Really Want

iStockphoto.com | Monkeybusinessimages

iStockphoto.com | Monkeybusinessimages

 

While every hiring manager tends to look for something a little different in a candidate for their open job, here are the six traits I've consistently seen managers look for as they conduct interviews.

TRAIT #1: Job Skills and Qualifications
REASON: Seems like a no-brainer, right? But when an employee doesn't work out because they don't possess the basic requirements of the job, it can be painful (and costly) for the organization to either coach the individual up or replace them. Since hiring can be risky, hiring managers often fall back to passing on an individual if they aren't sure they have the technical and people skills.
HOW TO SHINE: Read the job description before the interview; it will give you a very clear idea of the hard and soft skills the employer needs for the role. Eliminate the hiring manager's doubt by preparing and providing concrete examples of how you have used these skills in the past.

TRAIT #2: Likeability
REASON: No secret here. People like to work with people they like, who fit into the culture of the organization. Since a hiring manager will be spending more than a third of their life with anyone they hire and team chemistry matters, they may prioritize personality as highly as they do technical skills.
HOW TO SHINE: Use the manners your mother and father gave you. Smile. Be polite. Dress nicely for the interview. Send thank you notes. Come armed with great job references from former managers and coworkers who can gush at length about what a pleasure it was to work with you. And do your research about the culture of the company, so that you can talk about how well you'll fit in.

TRAIT #3: Team Orientation
REASON: Does the candidate know how to work well with others? In this age of cross-functional collaboration, teamwork isn't just a nice-to-have, it's essential.
HOW TO SHINE: Demonstrate that you've been able to move seamlessly into different working relationships based upon the needs of the situation. Talk about the times you've led,  the times you've been led, and how you've partnered successfully with your peers to get the job done.

TRAIT #4: Energy
REASON: The workplace tends to be a fast paced environment with heavy expectations, and a low-energy interview may work against a candidate. A calm and measured demeanor may be great for some roles (librarians and brain surgeons come to mind), but positions with rapid-fire deadlines require a bit more pizazz.
HOW TO SHINE: Convey a sense of excitement and animation during the interview. Sit forward in your chair. Provide examples of how you dealt with tight deadlines, adapted to fast-moving work environments, and successfully brought programs to conclusion.

TRAIT #5: Adaptability
REASON: Companies change priorities – often – and they need employees who can change right along with them. If hired, how will the candidate deal with frequent reorganizations, new assignments, and shifting deadlines?
HOW TO SHINE: Talk about the times you've had to adjust to shifting responsibilities and expectations, and how you managed to succeed in spite of these.

TRAIT #6: Growth Potential
REASON: In other words, is the candidate promotable, or will they spend the rest of their life in the role for which they get hired? Managers are often judged for their ability to identify and groom the next superstar.
HOW TO SHINE: Provide examples of people you've managed, mentored, and coached. Make sure your resume shows career progression, with added responsibility over a period of time. Were you an individual contributor (i.e., non-manager)? Talk about projects you've managed.


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.