5 Words That Could Change Your Life

Gail Belsky, job search tips
I haven't blogged about job searching for two months because I got a job-Digital Editor for the launch of a massive (yet-to-be-named) website for parents of kids with learning disabilities and ADHD. Rounds of interviews led to an offer last month, and it's been full speed ever since.

Amazingly, this job hits almost every item on my original wish list:
  1. Smart, interesting colleagues
  2. Challenging, interesting work
  3. Grown-up pay (and a regular paycheck that comes, on time, without me having to chase it down)
  4. Flexibility (I go into the office for weekly meetings, but otherwise work from home.)

Most important, I get to do what I love and do best--creating, packaging and editing content-while gaining the digital skills I need to take my career in a new and lasting direction. I'm very lucky; I didn't have to scrap 25 years of experience and skill building to "reinvent" myself, although I was pretty sure I'd have to. Instead, I found a boss who valued the skills I have, and was willing to give me some time to develop the ones I don't.

What I Learned: The insightful and encouraging career experts who helped me during my five-month journey all said the same thing: Ask for what you want. They led me through a process of deep evaluation-of my both my future goals and past experience-that made me appreciate what I have to offer. I was shocked by how easy it was to express that during my interviews-to confidently state what I'm good at. Saying it out loud made it clear to me how much I enjoy what I do.

So here are my takeaways about mid-career reinvention and job hunting:
  1. Don't devalue your skills and strengths
  2. Think hard about what you really want your future to look like-not what you think it has to look like
  3. Understand what you have to offer, and state it clearly
  4. Don't abandon your goals-unless or until you absolutely have to

No, I didn't get everything I had wanted (that's why it's called a WISH list), although I wasn't really expecting to. My job is a one-year contract position, without benefits. As someone who has been working freelance for a decade, however, I'm not losing anything there. There's no paid vacation, and because it's a launch, there isn't much room to take any-at least not during the initial crunch. Fine by me. When things settle down, I can take time off, as long as I'm getting the work done.

Being an independent contractor working from home has real benefits for me. I'll be able to squeeze in some freelance work, which will allow me to maintain and build relationships. Nine months from now, when I'm back in the job market, I'll need them.

Have you found a new job recently? What did you learn during the process?
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