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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

CAREER FLASH

Know when to say 'when'


For those who have been unemployed for a long time, there inevitably comes a point when one wonders if they should just give up, stop looking and pursue an entirely different career path.

"It's devastating to be out of work for any length of time, but it's even more stressful when a job seeker realizes that he/she may never find a comparable position in his/her chosen field," said Jerry Weinger, chairman of Bernard Haldane Associates, an international career management firm.

There are a number of issues to consider when facing this situation. Some obvious, but some that only each individual can assess to determine "when to say when" in their career search.

Professional career advisors offer the following checklist to consider if they are out of work and wonder if they should switch careers:
  • When you've done all of the right steps -- networking, working with recruiters, attending job fairs, etc., with minimal results.
  • When you haven't had a job offer throughout your search.
  • When positions in your field are going overseas.
  • When industry is down in your area and you're unwilling to move.
  • When your financial situation requires that you find a job immediately.

    Once an individual realizes that he or she must throw in the towel and start anew, career advisors offer the following basic steps:
  • Throw away your resume.
  • Throw away any preconceptions.
  • Look at new possibilities.
  • List the core skills of your past experiences.
  • Identify/find six to 10 of your core skills.
  • Identify the personality traits that apply to your work, e.g., detail oriented vs. big picture, fast paced vs. slow, but steady, etc.

    Career management experts say timing varies for each person, depending on individual needs. For some living in smaller communities, the decision is made for them when the area's only major employer has closed.

    For others, it is based on financial considerations and the realization that they have to take any job to maintain their standard of living. Others reach this conclusion only after searching for a year or more.

    As the trend toward outsourcing jobs overseas continues and with greater numbers of jobs eliminated in certain industries, it's not surprising that many job seekers consider going in a new direction. In a host of areas, from manufacturing to high-tech to engineering to defense contractors, jobs -- and career opportunities -- have been lost.

    After an honest assessment of skills, experience and expectations, one can make a decision about how to restart and renew a career, whether in the same industry or in a totally new direction.

    "It's often beneficial to work with an objective career advisor who can help you figure out what to do next in terms of finding work that is financially and emotionally satisfying with the prospect of long-term employment opportunity," added Weinger.

    -- Sun wire services



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