Thinking about your next career move – late in the game?

Often, we are approached by senior leaders who have reached a point in their career where they are either taking “early retirement” or wanting a significant change. For years, they have developed so many skills and abilities and yet, they do not feel fulfilled in what they are doing. Some may have been “squeezed out” of their companies, making room for younger up-and-coming professionals. Spending
2/3 of your time working and not believing you are “making a difference” can be really deflating.

When I am asked, “What should I be doing at this stage in my life?,” I often suggest that the person think about applying their leadership skills and networking abilities to the Not-For-Profit sector. There are some that still think that the typical NFP organization is “sleepy” – not forward-thinking – and basically a placeholder in one’s career. Nothing could be further from the truth!

With government cut-backs in terms of funding, all NFPs are facing significant challenges in continuing to fund their operations. Those organizations who have boards who are “forward-thinking” and “proactive” are already taking the steps necessary to bolster operational leadership in order to ensure the sustainability of their respective agencies.

I have witnessed first-hand the transformation of well-intentioned Not-For-Profit organizations as they consider hiring from outside of their sector. Strong leadership skills and business acumen coupled with compassionate dedication for the particular cause, have proven to be a powerful combination in gaining traction where there is significant competition for funding, resources, and skilled workers.

Thinking about your own career and all your accomplishments? How about volunteering at an NFP on a committee or board. If you do, you will quickly see how things “work” and you might want to consider applying for a leadership role as the “next step” in your career.

How Do I Know When I’m Ready to Make a Career Move?

F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real) can be a big deterrent when it comes to self-career management.  It is never easy to deal with change and it is particularly stressful when it comes to your career.  Many people put so much pressure on themselves to have everything “absolutely in order” before they make up their minds to even look at another career option.  You will be missing out on opportunities if you get stuck early in the process by “analysis paralysis”.  One of the best ways to keep your career options open is to develop a trusting relationship with a well respected, recruitment professional who will grow to understand what constitutes an excellent career fit.  Understand however, that they are not in the business to “find you your next career move” but rather they are one of the “tools in the toolbox” in order to facilitate such a life changing event.  It is also a good idea to keep your resume up to date.  Rather than scramble at the last minute to put something on paper, keep a list of things you actually do at work so you can develop a clean resume with minimal effort.  Make sure the things on your resume are relevant to the opportunity you are considering.  Don’t be afraid to take the first step and at least have a conversation about a new opportunity.  If you don’t open a door, there is no way you can walk through it.

How to Successfully Prepare for an Interview

Congratulations – you’ve made it the interview stage!

Now what?

Interview prep, of course. With nearly 30 years interviewing and recruiting candidates, we have comprised a list of important tips to consider when preparing for an interview.

  1. Visualize Yourself in the Role Already

By visualizing yourself in the job, you will naturally express your answers with confidence, enthusiasm, and determination. This will help with the pre-interview jitters everyone gets.

  1. Do Your Homework

You should expect that a potential employer will want to see what you know already about the company. This indicates your level of interest, and an effort to research and appreciate the work a company does. Take some time to visit the company website, learn about the company’s previous achievements, and find out who will be conducting the interview – title, personality, what they are looking for, etc. Ensure you know the location of the company and even take a practice drive to the site. Make sure you are not late and be 10 minutes early. However, do not be too early as this will send a similar message as being late (i.e. 30 minutes is too early).

  1. So Much is Said with the Unsaid

Make sure to dress professionally, even if the environment you are working in is casual – the interview is formal. At minimum, a sharp suit or conservative dress in dark colours with clean shoes will present well. Ensure your handshake is firm – practice with someone if need be – and maintain eye contact with the person asking you questions. Bring a copy of your cover letter, resume, and note pad.

  1. Talking Money

Do not initiate the conversation about the compensation package. The time will come for this, but you do not want to imply that this is most important to you.

  1. Ask Questions

Always come prepared with questions for the interviewer. This may be more natural for some than others, but you really do want to consider thoughtful questions about the role and company. This is an opportunity in the interview where you can again showcase your excitement in the role.

  1. Wrapping Up

If the answer is not readily provided, do ask what the next step looks like. Be sure to offer your gratitude for the interview.

  1. After the Interview

Send a thank you email or letter to the interviewing member(s). Make this letter short, professional, and to the point, again offering thanks for the opportunity to interview with them.