Q: I have worked for the same employer for 18 years. The company has changed in the last two years and it is not for the better. I do not have a current resume but I do have several advanced degrees, which is important in my field. I am afraid of interviewing and job hunting. I need to make a change however. Where does one begin?
A: Congratulations on making a difficult decision. Eighteen years is a long run and a bit unusual in 2021. Most research indicates that the typical American worker will change jobs 5-7 times in a lifetime.
First, let’s change your perspective. You have been with the same company for 18 years. Few can claim this in the current job market. This is a strength! A positive!
Second, begin drafting a resume. Look on www.boston.com and other sites for samples. Your first draft will be just that, a draft. Ask a few trusted friends or family members for their input. Sometimes all of us get too close to a document and lose the ability to truly assess the result. Always have a current resume on hand in 2021 and beyond. Every January, I take a peek at my resume and make sure it represents my work history and my accomplishments.
Third, start thinking about being more intentional about networking. Purchase Zoom or a similar video conferencing platform. Have a virtual cup of coffee with a colleague. Get active on LinkedIn. Connect with professional associations in your industry.
Fourth, develop an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 1-2 minute summary of who you are professionally and where you want to go. Practice it so it sounds natural and complete. Ask others to critique your elevator pitch. Feedback is a gift. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback, it helps you understand another individual’s perception.
Five, practice interviewing! Google common interview questions and practice responses. Your fear will dissipate with practice and experience. Few of us are stellar performers the first time we try to complete a complicated task or process. You will become more confident with experience.
Lastly, you can do this! There will be bumps along the way, but that is part of the journey. Few journeys are stress-free and easy.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.