Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Is it time for a change?

Have you ever made a change in your career?

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine JaremeyWhether it was from one job to another, from one industry to completely different one, or a change in the patterns of how you work and lead others on a day-to-day basis, a career change is a big transition. But, have you ever thought about how when you make these types of changes can impact your success?

I was inspired to think about how I would respond to this question myself after reading the March 2018 issue of ELLE Canada. In an article called “Say When,” journalist Sarah Liang reports on a new book called When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink. This book covers the scientific research linking the timing of decisions and their outcomes.

Let’s reflect on the title of this post: “Is it time for a change?” There’s more to making a decision than simply going with your intuition or what you feel comfortable doing. Be strategic. The timing of changes or other important milestones in your career can have long-lasting impacts.

“The secret to success is actually getting strategic with the game-changing “whens” of your working life, from major pivot points to the minutiae of the daily nine-to-five.” – Sarah Liang, ELLE Canada.

When does timing make an impact on a career, according to the article? There are four times to consider.

  1. On your mark, get set, go! Although people often can’t control it, when you start your first job can mean boom or bust for your career. The research tells us that those who graduate university in years with high unemployment earn 2.5 per cent less than peers when the rate was low, even 15 years into your career.
  2. All good things come to an end. I’ve heard that it’s important to stay in a role for three-to-five years to give you an opportunity to evolve in the job, and to also appeal to potential future employers who might be reviewing your resume or career history. The article reports that being in a role for three-to-five years is a prime time to seek a boost in position or pay at a new job.
  3. Can’t get you out of my head. You may find yourself thinking about getting a new job or changing careers at certain times of the day or the year. Things like energy ebbs and flows during the day, holidays throughout the year, or even your work anniversary may trigger thinking about moving on to something new.
  4. Like a boss. Good leaders do things like respond to their team members’ emails in a timely manner, and schedule review meetings in the mornings when staff are generally more alert.

It’s clear that looking at the bigger picture in terms of the timing of your career as a whole when making decisions has an impact on both the big and small things, affecting overall success.

How has timing impacted your career? What other milestones or moments make an impact? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image credits: Elle Canada; Pixabay.com.

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Interview: PR pro Alanna Fallis shares career transition advice 

AF

I recently sat down with Alanna Fallis (Twitter: @lanifallis), a communications professional who has just recently made a move in her career. Alanna shared how taking on new challenges and building her network has allowed her to grow in her career, and gave advice for others who are considering a transition into a new role. Read a summary of our conversation below.

Pencil Skirts & Punctuation (PS&P): Tell me a bit about your education and career path so far.

AF: I completed my undergraduate degree in Communications Studies at York University in 2011. I loved the smaller fourth year tutorial courses there, and the program increased my interest in communication theory. Thus, I felt encouraged to continue learning and exploring, and applied to graduate school programs in Ontario.

Between the third and fourth years of my undergraduate degree, I did a summer placement at GCI Group, a mid-size public relations (PR) agency in Toronto, where I was introduced to the PR industry. I didn’t know quite what I was getting myself into, but enjoyed every minute of it. At first, when I overheard PR jargon in the office I had to Google it at my desk later so that I could keep up with the team! Over time, I thrived in the role, and loved participating in new business brainstorms and learning how to use the databases for tracking media coverage.

Before attending Ryerson University for post-graduate studies in 2011, I completed another summer internship with GCI Group. The work was tougher and projects were bigger, which was great, as it meant my team trusted me more! I gained confidence during the placement that turned into a steady growth period personally and professionally. I made media calls, wrote pitches and sent clients media monitoring reports. My career path became clear to me, and I decided to work in an agency after graduating from Ryerson. I truly felt that the PR agency setting was a place that I could constantly learn and grow.

I then completed Ryerson’s Professional Communication Master’s degree program in 2012. This was a fantastic experience full of combined professional and theoretical learning.

After graduating, I returned to GCI Group as a full-time Account Coordinator. Daily interactions with bloggers and writing pitches became second nature. I took advantage of every opportunity to do new tasks, even if they were above my level and beyond my job description. I tried to prescribe my role based on the work being done above me, dismissing the limitations of the tasks typically done at my job level, and working at the level of the role that I wanted to move into. This proved to be beneficial for my growth, as I soon received a promotion to the Consultant role. Several peers of mine were instrumental in my growth, allowing me to face challenges head-on and learn new skill sets.

Because of this fantastic experience, I was able to explore a new opportunity at Ryerson University in a communications and event management role, where I would be directly involved in the branding and strategic communication planning in the Dean’s office in the Faculty of Arts. The new adventure started in July 2014 and I anticipate it will be full of continuous learning experiences and professional growth opportunities.

PS&P: Transitioning from one job to another can be nerve-wracking for some people. What tips would you give to make the move easier?

AF: Never stop learning, exploring or experimenting. Be willing to share your knowledge from your previous role with the team at the new organization. I also think that an open-mind and the eagerness to try new things can help to smooth the transition.

PS&P: Would you say relationships are important in helping to shape your career path?

AF: Totally. Networks are a key element of shaping one’s career. Some relationships can veer your career towards a path they may not have considered otherwise. Relationships are a key resource in the “career toolkit.”

PS&P: What advice would you give for expanding your network and professional relationships?

AF: Be yourself and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. For example, reconnect with former colleagues, or cold-email people you’ve never worked with before. In my experience, more times than not, there is someone willing to help at the other end of the email you’re sending, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Also, leverage your strong relationships and introduce people in your network to each other. For example, if Bob at Bell wants to know Roberta at Rogers, offer an introduction and help them build their professional relationships. Chances are, it will likely help you expand your network too!