Valerie Cherneski is a certified executive coach, facilitator and speaker who uses her background in law and psychology to motivate change and development. As the Founder of Cherneski Coaching, Valerie focuses her practice on highly driven lawyers and corporate professionals, and assists them on a variety of issues to streamline their lives and build further upon their success. Valerie serves clients across the United States and Canada and is a member of the iRelaunch coaching team.
Relaunching your career can be overwhelming at times, and you may feel stuck at one (or more!) of the steps along the way.
When you feel this way, take a few minutes to reflect on the building blocks that make up all that you offer: your values, interests, experience, and strengths.
Whether you realize it or not, you have natural strengths
that are the key to your relaunch success. But, you may have been
trained to think in terms of weaknesses – whether it is feedback from
past performance reviews, your health or how you look - the question is
usually “what needs to be fixed?”
I challenge you to look at what is working well, not what needs to be fixed. When you are stuck and don’t know how to move forward, ask: “What do I do best?”
To answer this, take 20 minutes to brainstorm your strengths – write down everything you know you do well, regardless of whether it relates to your relaunch. To help, try the on-line assessment, Discover Your CliftonStrengths, by Don Clifton.
Once you know your strengths, own them. Set an intention to use them every day in your daily activities.
With respect to your relaunch, your strengths are an essential tool to success at each stage:
Determining your Career Path
Consider your strengths and how they can be combined with your skills, experience and professional values for your next role.
If you are a great learner and were a teacher, how about corporate training, non-profit advocacy, research, analysis and reporting?
If you are highly strategic and were a banker, how about product management, corporate strategy, or policy development?
- Case in point: Jane, a former practicing psychologist, utilized her excellent writing and empathy skills to relaunch in education advocacy for families of children with special needs.
Analyze your past roles and current activities to determine what strengths contributed to your success and then research roles that employ those strengths. And, use the specific language of your strengths as you speak with others to make it easy for them to help you with ideas and connections.
The best way to build your confidence is to take small risks daily,
using your strengths. Eventually, you will feel secure in your efforts
as they are based on what you do well.
Are you a good writer? Write out paragraphs about your skills or past work experiences – when the time is right, this can be turned into a LinkedIn profile or a CV.
Are you an athlete? Start your networking with your exercise group – if you excel at something, use the confidence you have from that activity to speak about your relaunch.
Are you a good connector? Start telling people you are relaunching – begin with your immediate circle and then branch out at any function you attend, relying on your ability to connect with others to be confident in what you are saying.
- Case in Point: Pamela relaunched, after many attempts at online applications (do not spend all of your time online!), by getting up the courage to raise the topic with the spouse of a friend, while out for dinner one night. It wasn’t easy to speak about her relaunch, but she relied on her ability to connect, and jumped in headfirst by asking him outright if he needed help with his business. It turns out he did, and she is working with him full time now.
Prepare for Interviews
Do what you do best in every stage of the interview process. Tie your
strengths to the specific requirements of the role and you will instill
confidence that you can perform the functions without as much worry
about experience or skill gaps.
For interview preparation, great speakers practice their pitch and overcome any weaknesses through articulate messaging. Competitive relaunchers map out the process as a game and see each meeting as an opportunity to get better and challenge themselves.
For interview content, analyzers are prepared to demonstrate their ability to organize, sort data, and research. A compassionate relauncher can focus on inclusiveness, team participation, and relationship building.
- Case in Point: John, who is very creative and who can worry that he may go off point during interviews because of his creative mind, prepared a visual presentation for an interview. It guided the interviewers, demonstrated his creativity, acted as a visual aid for him, and highlighted his technical skills after a multiple year career break.
When you focus on your strengths, you can achieve your relaunch goals, change your status quo, and push past your fears. The more you rely on your strengths, the easier it is to be confident, to sell yourself, and to speak about what you want. That’s a great formula for success!