“What’s the biggest challenge in your career right now?”

I recently asked that question and many people responded with their challenges and questions.

In the first of this Q&A series, I addressed these issues:

  • What to do when you have competing priorities
  • What to do when your skills and interests do not align with your job
  • How to manage a difficult team member
  • Should you stay or leave when you can’t see where your role is going
  • How to supplement your income

In the second of this Q&A series, I gave my answers to:

  • How to network when you live in a small city
  • Should you get an additional master’s degree
  • Should you stay or leave for more money and less risk
  • How to land a new role in a more senior position and in a different industry
  • How to improve your executive presence, communication skills and ability to read a room

Today, in this final Q&A session, I’m answering these questions:

How to Make a Shift From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

QUESTION:

“How do I transition from being a salesperson to being a investment manager within an asset management company?”

ANSWER:

So that means going from marketing the investment strategies to designing and implementing those strategies.

Well, this is a great question because more and more of us are going to be looking at making a shift from where we are to where we want to be just because the world is changing so fast.

Three Areas to Consider

When you’re making that kind of a move I like to think about three specific areas:

  1. Skill set
  2. Mindset
  3. Outreach

They all work together and they mutually reinforce each other.

Skill Set

The first thing you want to think about is what kind of skill set is needed to be successful in that new role, and what kind of skill sets do you already have?

When you’re looking at the skill set you have, remember to look for the skills and the strengths that you have in your current role that you could leverage into that new role so you’re not starting from zero. In this case, you’re already really knowledgeable about the investment strategies that you’re marketing so that’s a huge advantage.

Mindset

Recognize that the mindset that you have in your current role may be different than the kind of mindset that you need to have to be successful in the new role. It’s useful to understand what’s different and see whether you’d be happy to adapt, or maybe you’re more suited for that new role’s mindset to begin with.

For example, in your case it’s the difference between thinking on behalf of the client, having a marketing mindset and also a client service mindset, and shifting that to one about generating investment returns.

Outreach

Outreach is super important because when you go and approach other people and talk to them, that’s a great way to find out more about skill set and mindset. It’s also important as a way to discover the set of pathways to get from where you are to where you want to go.

Reaching out to people is how you’re going to make connections, and connections are the main way that we find new roles and new opportunities these days.

Finally, your outreach efforts are a great way for you to learn how best to package your message. You want to package your set of skills and strengths in a way that makes it easy for people to see that you could be credible in this new area and that you’re low risk. In fact, maybe you have huge potential in this new area.

So, think about your skill set, your mindset, and your outreach.

I hope this helps. I’d love to hear what you decide to do and how things turn out so come back and leave a comment and let me know.

How to Know When to Pivot Career or Stay Put

QUESTION:

“How do you know when it’s time for a career pivot and when it’s time to just stay put for a while?”

ANSWER:

Excellent question, because we’re all going to have many, many jobs over the course of a career. After all, we’re living longer and that probably means we have to work longer. And hopefully, those are both happy things for you! Plus, the world is changing very quickly, including technology and all other sorts of world events.

Make Conscious Decisions Over Three Time Horizons

The fact that you’re asking this question tells me that you probably have some really good instincts about your own career. And frankly, most of us do have good instincts, but we’re also busy that we forget to listen to ourselves.

That’s why it’s really important to take time out to check in with yourself and assess your career situation from the following three time horizons. After all, it’s important to be making conscious decisions about our career moves.

Near Term – Enjoyment and Flow

The first time horizon is the very near term, as in, “in the moment” and day-to-day. This one is about enjoyment and flow.

Are you enjoying the journey? That’s the most important thing in the very near term. And you want to make sure you’re doing something where you find yourself in a flow state. Not all the time, of course, but on some reasonable basis, and that you’re liking what you do.

Medium Term – Learning and Growing

Then the second piece is about the medium term. This is about learning and growing.

So the question is, how is the world changing around you and how are you evolving along with that? Are you learning, are you growing? Do you have more head room?

Long Term – Achieving Success as You Define It

Then the third piece of it is looking at the longer term. This is about achieving success. When I talk about success, I mean success as you define it, not anybody else.

How is what you’re doing giving you the opportunity to achieve your longer term goals? Are you still on track, given how the world has changed and how you want to show up in that world? And maybe you’re changing, too.

Check in Regularly

So you always want to be going through those three time horizons and doing a self-check on your career situation. And if you do that regularly, you’ll be so well in touch with yourself that your instincts and your intuition are going to be able to give you some really good answers about whether it’s time for a career pivot, or whether you should stay put for the time being.

I also think some of the answers that I gave in last week’s Q&A might help you.

I hope this helps and I can’t wait to hear what you decide to do and how things turn out. So come back, leave a comment, and let me know.

How to Overcome Ageism to Find a Higher Paying Job

QUESTION:

“I’m in a job I enjoy, it gives me flexibility to work remotely so that I can manage my home and my thee busy children. However, I don’t think I’m getting paid sufficiently for my skills and experience. I’m afraid ageism will keep me from finding a higher paying job elsewhere and I don’t know if my company is going to promote me or move me into a decision making role. What should I do?”

ANSWER:

First I want to say congratulations for having a job that you enjoy and that also gives you flexibility. That’s terrific and I’m really excited to hear that you want to improve on your situation.

When We Lack Information, We Make Assumptions

I’m also hearing that there are two things that may be happening. One is that you lack some key information, and two is that you may be making some assumptions. I’ll bet your employer is making some assumptions as well.

There are three things that I’d recommend that you consider.

Have Conversations

First is having some conversations. It’s really important to let people know, let your boss and your reporting line know that you’ve got aspirations. Then find out what it takes for those aspirations to become a reality.

Then of course, you also want to start building relationships with some of these key people who can be your sponsors and advocates as you seek to move forward and improve on your position.

Gather Data

The second thing I’d recommend is that you get some data externally. There is salary and compensation data in lots of different places on the internet (start with Google), and talk to some recruiters.

Then, take a look externally and see what kind of other jobs are out there. Once you start to get some data, you’ll feel more informed and less worried about things.

Then see if you can find some groups, trusted peers, or other people around who you can talk to and share information with. You’ll appreciate building out your network in this regard.

Negotiate for What You Want

The third thing is to negotiate. It sounds like you’re respected there, and so yes, it’s fine for you to negotiate. I don’t mean being confrontational. Think of negotiation as just having a series of conversations.

You could be sharing with them the things that you’ve done, the value you bring, and the potential you have to contribute even more. Then, find out from them what kind of compensation levels reflect that value in this organization.

How to Address Ageism

As for ageism, here’s my thought. Yes, ageism is out there. We never know when we’re going to run into it. Sometimes we expect in and we don’t run into it, who knows.

We can be penalized for being too young, being too old, or for being too much in the middle. It’s like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears – “just right” is in the eyes of the beholder.

The key thing is your age is not something that you can control. So, I would suggest that that’s not something to worry about. Instead, stay current, always be positioning your age as experience and wisdom, and focus on the companies, organizations, and teams where that’s going to be valued.

I hope that helps. I look forward to hearing what you do and how things turn out. So, come back and leave me a comment. I would love to know.

The One Thing to Do to Make a Transition Into a New Industry

QUESTION:

“What is the number one preparation in order to make a mid-career transition into a completely new industry?”

ANSWER:

What a great question and there are so many options to choose from.

Build Your Network

If I had to select just one, it would be to build your network. That’s because in order to find this opportunity and then to succeed in it, you’re going to need a robust network. One that you can leverage. And, of course, you’re also going to need to find additional people to add into your network.

Your Network Accelerates Your Progress

Your network will also help you determine things like how to package up your skills to be credible in that new sector, who you need to know, what you need to know, where you need to show up, what questions to ask, and what is the latest cutting edge.

Then, once you get in the seat, there will be all kinds of experiences and nuances that you might not already know about. Having your network to rely on can accelerate your pace of progress.

Be Proactive and Strategic

One thing that I’d suggest you to do is to start proactively building up your network before you need it.

Part of that preparation includes making sure your LinkedIn profile is totally up to date and reflects that new area that you want to go into. It also includes looking through your entire contact list and seeing who could lead you to other people, provide references for you or give you testimonials on your LinkedIn profile. So, just start to think that way.

Also, consider what events you should be attending to get up to speed, meet more people and learn more about what you’re about to get into and who’s who in the sector.

Then you could also start changing your habits in terms of reading in order to be helpful to your network. What kind of articles can you find and email to people on your contact list or the people that you want to get in touch with? Be very thoughtful and very tailored.

Another proactive thing you can do is to start inviting people out to coffees.

The point is to take proactive steps to build up those connections before you need them.

Give First

The most important thing as you’re doing all this network building is the following: You want to start giving right away. Start giving before you need to make an ask.

I hope this helps you. I’d love to hear how things go. So, leave me a comment and let me know. I can’t wait to hear.