What Four Things Does Everyone in Career Transition Have in Common?

I work with clients in all kinds of career transition:  dissertation writers trying to get from PhD candidate to graduate, assistant faculty trying to get the articles published so they can get promoted to associate, young graduates looking for their first job, mid-career professionals who want to go in a different direction.  These different groups have a wide variety of career coaching needs, but there are a few common threads that run through all my client interactions.  

Here are four things I do for all my clients; I am:IMG_5962

1) Another pair of eyes.  This is just catching the typos, finding the repeat entries, and identifying formatting issues.

Everyone needs this.  Whenever I fail to get a second pair of eyes to look over something (or at least do a second read myself), I inevitably find a typo later.

IMG_40612) An outside party to keep you on track. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed by the big picture prospects involved in these huge life changes.  It’s important to manage the tasks before you and to treat yourself fairly.

I work with my clients to break down the seemingly insurmountable tasks into smaller, more manageable component parts. Then we make itemized to-do lists for each part and design a realistic schedule. I send reminders and check-in frequently.

 3) A trial run. Everyone is nervous to share their materials. They’re afraid of rejection.  

Often, you don’t really want feedback. Because you’ve worked so hard on it already, you don’t want to put more work into changing it.  By running it through me,  you get a low stakes first round at putting yourself out there, sharing your materials, and trying out your interview answers.

3) Anxiety reduction. IMG_5191The number one thing I do for my clients is believe in them. There’s so much self-doubt surrounding academic writing, career changes, career transitions, interview skills, writing skills.  I can see past the anxiety to identify where your strengths lie, what you’re good at, how to get from where you are to where you want to be, and how to work your way through that process.

As you work through your career transitions, be aware of these key things.  Make sure you have a trusted second pair of eyes to proofread your work. Consciously break down the big tasks into smaller ones and work through them with focus. Know that you’ll have to put yourself out there at some point; so you might as well find a low stakes way to share your materials with someone who doesn’t have the power to make decisions about your future. And believe in yourself–be aware of your strengths and play to them; be aware of your weaknesses and seek ways to overcome them; and take the process one step at a time.

2009 Head ShotDarcy Lear is a career coach specializing in academic writing, job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. For one-on-one support in preparing for your job search or to set up a campus workshop, contact Darcy: darcylear@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Career Advice, Careers for Humanities Majors, darcy lear. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Four Things Does Everyone in Career Transition Have in Common?

  1. Ann Abbott says:

    Another great post, Darcy. I see so many people suffer in silence because they think that everyone else around them has it together, and they’re the only ones struggling. Yet by pointing out all the patterns you see across your clients, it’s obvious that we’re all struggling with more or less the same issues and that those issues do have solutions. Great job!

  2. darcylear says:

    Thanks, Ann! These things are indeed true of all of us to one degree or another–as soon as I posted this, another pair of eyes caught a typo (and then when I went to correct it, I found another one).

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