“Don’t wait until you are out of work or laid off to change. If we have learned one huge lesson from the current employment scenario, its pay attention to and keep changing with change.”

In the summer of 2005, I realized that my 23 year career in broadcast radio was about to change dramatically. I could feel the winds of change blowing in my “corporate culture.” It just felt weird and I just knew.

Personal transition process

I started my personal transition process, in my head, simply by thinking about why I was feeling like it just wasn’t working for me on many levels anymore, and I am the kind of person who wants and needs my career job to be working.

First, I had to honestly assess if there were any more growth and mobility opportunities where I was, and then I had to look at myself, with regard to what  I really wanted to do and if I was qualified and  prepared to do it.

I spent almost a year going on interviews, both locally and nationally, exploring other industries and employment jobs to try to see what resonated with me. I also looked at what skills and intangibles I brought to the table that made me valuable and interesting. Maybe I didn’t realize it then, but I was reviewing and updated my “personal brand”.

As I look back, it was really a smart process and revealed a lot about me. Back then jobs were much more plentiful and there were a lot of them in my business. Today, I would not have those same choices and options. Today,  ‘sharpening your saw’ is one of the most important professional development commitments you can make.

Here are five  lessons that I learned about my career transition process that you can apply to your own career, job, work, and employment situation today.

  1. Identify what you want to do and what you are qualified to do. Look at all your “transferable skills”, all those jobs you have done that define all your skill sets. Women tend to have done many things with regard to this, that they may not think count. Did you baby sit, were you a camp counselor, did you work in the family business growing up, volunteer, and let’s not forget stay at home Mom to raise the kids? All those things developed skills!
  2. Don’t rush change, trust your process. Opportunities will present themselves, but they may not be all the right or best decisions to make. Qualify the opportunities, based on your situation. Women have so many things they multi-task on. Timing will play a big part in things with regard to raising the kids and possibly taking care of parents.
  3. Be prepared and honest when presenting yourself. You really can’t fudge the truth with creating resume writing. Know what your strong assets are and lead with them. Don’t hide your liabilities, but don’t lead with them, we all have “stuff”, or we wouldn’t be human.
  4. Evaluate your current skill levels. The business world has changed and what’s now required to get hired has changed. Review your personal, professional, technology, and social networking proficiency. If you need to upgrade skills, take some local courses through local chambers, schools, professional organizations, online. Women need to be as skill qualified as possible to earn the job!
  5. Develop a bold, strong personal brand and persona that sets you apart and helps you stand out. Personality, mindset, energy, attitude, image are all-important today to stand out and be noticed. Again, evaluate where you are with regard to your professional image, online and offline networking, sales, communication skills and being a part of your community. Upgrade, improve, tweak, and grow whenever and wherever you can. Women have a natural ability to communicate and connect. Use it, to create and share your unique and engaging personality.

Career Transition is happening all the time, even when you are working and employed. Keep moving and changing and your personal brand should and will evolve as you do.  Keep adding value for what you do. Stay relevant and current.

I found this great post, “Get Ready to Be a Changemaker” by Bill Drayton and Valerie Budinich. “We are on the cusp of a fundamental change — a worldwide change in the skills everyone needs to succeed, in the nature of organizations, and in how businesses must be led.”

How are you and how can you become more of a “change-maker” for yourself?


Deborah Shane is an author, entrepreneur, radio host and expert. She is the leader of her business education and professional development company, Train with Shane, hosts a weekly business radio show, and writes for several national business, career and marketing blogs, and websites. Her book Career Transition-make the shift-the 5 steps to successful career reinvention comes out in early 2011. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogtalkradio at Deborah Shane, or visit www.deborahshane.com.