Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Career changes, career transitions 14: Plan B career planning 2

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on March 22, 2013

This is my fourteenth posting to a series on careers, career development and career transitions, and on looking at work and the work experience from a wider perspective than that of the here and now job or job search (see my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2, postings 285-297 for Parts 1-13.) This is also my second posting within this series on Plan B career planning – career planning that becomes overtly necessary when we are confronted with a need to make a significant change in our work and career path that takes us into what for us, is the unknown (see Part 13.)

I first wrote about Plan B career planning approaches in Part 13, and about where and how this approach can be important and even essential if we are to successfully pursue career paths that are right for us as individuals. And I ended that by raising the issues of transition points, and interim and transition jobs and retraining. That is my area of focus for this posting, and I begin by defining some fundamental terms, that can be helpful in organizing your thoughts and planning.

• An umbrella job is a position that is taken on, in at least part with shorter term intentions in mind, even if it is taken on as a full time, in-house position and as a regular employee. The idea is that its salary and any benefits provided, tide you over and in an umbrella-like manner help to keep the rain off while you look for a more appropriate, longer term position that fits into your desired career path. The hiring employer, I have to add, might very well be looking for a long-term employee when hiring for this position and if you are being hired as a full time, in-house employee they almost certainly are. So if you take on an umbrella job, treat it as a full time and significant job opportunity and make a full commitment to performing it to the best of your abilities while you are there.
• A transition job might start out in your thinking as simply an umbrella job, but gain in value and significance to you as a career step and not just a shorter term source of income. A transition job in general is a position taken to help you bridge the gap between where you are now and your work history and experience up to now, and where you want to go as you take your first real steps along a new intended career path.

Training and gaining new skills and an insider’s understanding of the jargon and language, and the issues and priorities of the career path that you seek, are also very important here.

• Network openly and fearlessly – do not limit yourself to just reaching out and connecting with people who you already know. Seek out people already in and experienced in the types of work that you seek to do, and seek out their advice.
• I specifically recommend your reading and following the approach that I developed for this in my series: Jumpstart Your Network (see Social Networking and Business and the key postings cited in that 4 part series.)
• This type of open networking is where you can best find out what you need to know to start out in a new career direction. Networking contacts who are expert in the fields and areas you wish to work in know the jargon and the issues and priorities of the work you would do, and they can share this wealth of information with you. They can tell you about professional magazines and newsletters, and online resources that you should follow if you are to become an industry insider too. And these are the people who would best know what the real priorities are for the hands-on knowledge and skills that hiring managers look for, and that the best job candidates have that make them positively stand out from their competition.
• Remember – reading online job descriptions and candidate requirements lists can be of real help. But meeting with and learning from people working in the field, and at different levels of their tables of organization can make the difference between just being a job candidate and becoming the candidate hired.
• I add that networking contacts who really know the business you seek to move into, are going to be your best sources of insight as to how to present the transferrable skills you already have, as offering value to this new career path setting too.

As a final note here, I stress again the importance of reviewing the series I wrote and posted to this blog on Plan B job searches, and recommend that you follow the exercises that I laid out in that series here, in your career developing job searches. Together and in order, they systematically take you through a Plan B career change oriented job search, and help you orient and plan your search and follow through on it in detail. See my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, 56-72.

I am going to turn in my next series installment to discuss career milestones and benchmarking, and planning longer term than the immediate job or employer, or job search in mapping out possible career paths as a whole. Meanwhile, you can find this posting and series at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 2. I have also posted extensively on jobs and careers-related topics in my first Guide directory page on Job Search and Career Development.

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