Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a former educator turned Career Transition and Job Strategy Coach specializing in working with teachers who are experiencing the painful symptoms of job burnout. She also works with mid-career professionals from all walks of life who find themselves at a career crossroads either by chance or by choice. Learn more about Kitty at TeachersinTransition.com.
Halloween is here! The chill is in the air. The leaves are turning on the trees. Bags of candy of every description practically fall off the shelves into your basket as you wind your way through the grocery store.
And everyone—especially the kids—has their Halloween costumes picked out. Halloween isn't just for children, though.
September 23, 2019
Interviewing is nerve-wracking even in the best of circumstances. If you feel like you're under a microscope, it's because you are! Employers want to make sure that you can do the job. But, just as importantly, they want to determine if you can fit in with their team.
Likeability is an intangible component of your interview, so how do you ensure that you come across as likeable as well as competent? What do you do when your interview isn't going in the right direction?
January 06, 2017
Few people love developing an "elevator pitch" even though they may recognize their need for one and the importance of having a well-crafted one. I volunteer for a group of job seekers who meet every week, and no one enjoys the process of introducing themselves to a roomful of strangers. In fact, I know that some people try to sneak in after they think the introductions will be over, or they skip the meeting altogether rather than struggle through a 30-second self-introduction to a room full of self-appointed critics. Related: How To Perfect Your Elevator Pitch The urban myth about how the elevator pitch first originated is that in the early studio days, a Hollywood screenwriter would catch an unsuspecting studio executive in the elevator. Trapped, with nowhere else to go, the screenwriter had between 30 to 118 seconds to "pitch" his idea to the studio's top decision-maker. Today, you aren’t pitching an idea for a screenplay. For you, the stakes involve your next great break in your career. If you are on the job market, you need to develop a "pitch-perfect elevator pitch." Your pitch must be compelling to the point of making you seem different from everyone else. Additionally, it must be delivered with earnest sincerity and not sound like it has been rehearsed in front of your mirror a thousand times—even though it may have (and should have) been rehearsed in front of you a thousand times or more. My elevator pitch has changed and evolved hundreds of times (literally) in the last three years since I began my odyssey as a career transition and job search coach. As a result, I am particularly sensitive to the challenges that new job seekers experience when trying to craft their pitch. Don't beat up on yourself if you find this particular task daunting. Everyone does. That does not take you off the hook, however. You must come up with a clear, concise, compelling and persuasive elevator pitch or networking introduction if you need to traverse the job search terrain. Here are some suggestions that will help you craft your own unique and compelling pitch.
Changing jobs represents a unique set of challenges, but changing a career can feel like a daunting task depending on the level of education you may have invested in or the amount of experience you have racked up. (Are you being SHUT OUT of the hiring process? Watch this free webinar to find out) In spite of those challenges, however, the time does come for some when the writing is on the wall. You realize you aren’t happy anymore in the career of first choice, and it is time to assess what you might be able to do to transition into another line of work. Here are what I would offer are four distinct signs that you are not only ready to change careers, but you need to change before your health or your primary relationships suffer any more.
I recently met a man at a networking event for job seekers who introduced himself to the group by saying his name and then adding, "I am not sure what I am looking for… but I am looking for something… I think." I was intrigued by his lack of clarity, so after the meeting, I engaged him in a conversation. Related: Why Finding Your Passion Isn’t A Pass/Fail Exam As we talked, it became apparent that this gentleman had had a number of different jobs over the course of his working career. He started out as a teenager bagging groceries at the local Safeway, working at a job that his dad gotten for him before he had even started to think about going to work. He enjoyed it, he said. When he went on to college, he worked as a manager of a flower shop, as a professional photographer, and as a newspaper reporter, among other things about which he was a little less forthcoming. Recently, he had been volunteering as a tutor in some of the nearby schools. "I've enjoyed everything I have ever done," he said to me. "I don't get all the hype about ‘finding your passion' and ‘doing what you love,'" he added. "I have never felt like I ‘loved' anything I was doing. I was ‘okay' with whatever I was doing at the time." Thank goodness this gentleman didn't fall into the category of the 70% of people who say they either hate their jobs or are totally disengaged in them. On the other hand, he hasn't found anything that he could say he loved to do with an absolute passion, either. This gentleman is seeking something that he simply hasn't yet found. He hasn't discovered his life mission. It is bugging him, too, which is why he doesn't get the "hype" about something that feels alien to him. If it weren't bugging him, I don't think he would be so dismissive of it as "hype." There are whole books written on the subject of finding your life mission. The gentleman with whom I was conversing mentioned the book, What Color is Your Parachute? but that is only one of hundreds of thousands of books on the specific topic of life purpose. In an Amazon search, I found 66,000 titles of books that popped up in response to the keywords, "life mission." There are almost 250,000 titles that are related to the keywords, "life purpose!" A lot of people have explored ideas regarding life mission and life purpose. It also means that there are a lot of people who are searching for one or both of those things. Alan Cohen, in I Had It All the Time, says that our highest purpose is to "be happy." Specifically, he says, "Your joy is the greatest contribution you can make to life on the planet. A heart at peace with its owner blesses everyone it touches." I believe that your life mission is whatever you feel in your heart of hearts that you are supposed to be doing with your life. Most of us already know this truth on some level. The problem stems from being told that we can't make any money doing what we feel we are supposed to do. Finding a job that "pays the bills" and has “good benefits” becomes the priority instead of finding a job that allows the space for us express ourselves. As a result, we are left with the feeling that there is more that we could be doing to contribute "to life on the planet" in a positive and productive way. I know we all have bills to pay, and I am not suggesting that everyone who is reading this post at this moment go in and quit their job this morning if it is a job that merely pays the bills and doesn't light up their soul. On the other hand, if you are simply going through the motions at work and not getting some sort of joy or a sense of fulfillment out of what you are doing, you might seriously consider making a change in the not-so-distant future. I believe that life is too short to live it doing something about which we don't feel good. Take a look at your priorities and consider what you love, love, love to do and what you would do if you could make money doing it. Consider whether you can do that instead of what you are currently doing. It means having the courage to make a change, perhaps, but I repeat… life is too short to spend it doing something that you don't enjoy doing… period. This post was originally published at an earlier date.