‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I am a 56-year-old female surgeon, and I would like to retire from my medical practice in three years. I would like to work for a company whose values are in sync with mine; I would like to work for Whole Foods. How might I make myself a more attractive employee? For example, do you think further training in alternative medicine would be beneficial? — Ann
J.T.: I love that you’re thinking ahead. Three years will give you plenty of time to explore your options, and as you do, perhaps you can find 10 companies to put on your employment wish list. If so, I’ll guarantee you that you’ll start to see patterns in what they do and how they do it. Not that there’s anything wrong with going for Whole Foods — it’s a wonderful company with a progressive corporate culture — but what ELSE are you looking for? Once you see the patterns in the jobs and companies, you’ll be able to identify how to supplement your experience to make yourself attractive to them.
Dale: Perhaps Whole Foods will contact us and ask how to get in touch with you. However, I doubt it. As a surgeon, you are paid well for your hands, which can’t be said of many executives. I know, I know — you have lots of medical and health knowledge. But management is communication. Before you are ready to start talking to corporations, you’re going to have to learn to talk to corporations. What does NOT work in job hunting is to say, “Here are my skills — how could you use them?”
J.T.: You are going to have to market yourself to companies, and that means finding a need to fill. This is good news, because you want the next phase of your career to be something new and different.
Dale: So you — I’m saying YOU — must figure out the point where your interests intersect those of companies you admire, and then the path to that point will become clear.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com.
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