08/06/2022 by Kori Burkholder
How to Identify and Leverage Your Transferrable Skills to Advance Your Career
When Michael came to us five months ago, he needed help redefining his career path. He is a 31-year-old professional who was going on one career path in teaching. This career path fell into his lap and, over the years, became his security blanket. The problem was that he became so good at it that he became an invaluable employee.
But, he admitted to himself that he was miserable, stressed, and ready to find something that fulfills more of his purpose, plays to his skills and strengths, and pays off his student loans. But, he had a big question mark coming in…how do I leverage my transferrable skills to advance my career and also plagued by the thought, am I too old to switch careers now?
Here is Michaels's career transition journey:
I have been a teacher for eight years and have worked in education my entire career. It was easy to keep signing the contract to continue working for the same employer. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the same cycle of accepting something I felt wasn't for me. I didn't know what could be next for me other than the general progression of teachers. I wanted to get my foot in the door with a different type of career where I would be more valued.
Deciding To Invest In a Career Change
The breaking point for me was one day, after a long day of teaching (because all teaching days are long and hard), I came home and realized my husband and my friends could all work from home. Even though that's not what I wanted for myself, I just saw the joy in their faces.
It was the end of the workday for all of us, and I thought, why am I not coming home and feeling like I wasn't worth having a life full of joy and opportunity? Why am I not enjoying my personal life, always having to turn down my friend's parties and invites? Why do I feel frustrated and stressed and bring that home with me? It was fine for a while, but now that I'm getting a little bit older, I realize I should be spending my time being happier.
These things woke me up to the reality that all these pieces of my life are essential. And it clicked in my brain that I needed something bigger and better, and I was ready for a change, something different and more exciting, allowing me to have a more personal life.
I had to act on this feeling immediately. And that became the most important thing to me when I reached out for help. I knew it would be challenging to juggle teaching eight or nine hours a day and doing this extra work to change careers.
But, I knew I would be working for something better, and incorporating this extra work for myself would eventually impact myself, my relationships, and the world.
Michael's Concerns About Making a Career Change
The program work wasn't always easy, but from a birds-eye perspective, all of those things add up and add to the experience.
My biggest concern going into the program was within myself. If I was going to do all this work and put all this energy into it, I might not find something. Or I may not fall into the role I wanted or waste my time. I was putting my faith into something that I hoped would turn into a better life for me.
I'm 31 years old, and teaching is almost the only thing I've ever done, and I felt that my skill set consisted of teaching and teaching alone. I thought that it was very limiting. I didn't know my skill set would be transferable, nor would I be able to be an attractive person to hire.
Kori consistently told me, and everyone in the group, that I have a skill set that is way beyond just teaching. So I had to trust the process and everything we did repeatedly pointed to the same theme.
I have this innate ability to organize and structure things and follow routines. Finally, it became undeniable that I should be doing that as a career. It was the only thing that made sense to me.
Inside the Job Search Process and Results
The interview process was not easy. There was a lot of waiting and practicing patience. I went through many days or weeks of interviewing and wouldn't hear back, but I still, at the same time, trusted and hoped it'd work out.
I would have never done the little follow-ups on my own. I would come to our weekly group sessions and ask if it was okay to follow up with jobs I had applied to. Kori would always say, yes! You must follow up by this day and this time. I did it because of the little pushes and nudges, which all added to this very significant moment in my life.
When I honed in one of my biggest strengths, organization, the transition happened on its own. So now I'm doing my dream job in a role where I'm doing exactly that!
I am doing operations and management at my school, so I have a team of operations people underneath me. We are supplying the school with structure and organization. This opportunity is endless.
I'm in a position where I can stay and move up or go into a different career outside of education in operations. I've identified other careers, like project management, that are ultimately in my wheelhouse. Now that I have taken all these steps to get to this place within operations, I feel like this whole world has opened up to me, which I never thought was possible.
I remember when I cried on camera in front of the cohort because I was just so shocked by how difficult everything was around me. Then, I felt like things were happening to me, and now I feel like I am happening to something, and I have so much more control!
I made several huge achievements, the first one being internal. I achieved a sense that everything will be okay if you do your due diligence. I came in thinking maybe I'm wasting my time, perhaps I'm wasting my money, perhaps this isn't going to work for me, and then I realized that it eventually all does pay off!
The next big thing would be just from an external perspective: the place I ended up being is way more fruitful and way more exciting than I could have imagined just a couple of months ago!
If you have been considering joining the program, any anxieties about making this big step are valid. Still, there is an answer to all of those anxieties. If you trust the process and understand that Kori is there to help you, all those anxieties will melt away. All those inhibitors will fall right before you because you are making the proper steps. You feel yourself making these steps, and you can see the goal in sight even months and months before it happens. Trust this process. If it could happen for me, I know if it can happen for anybody with any doubts.
I told my husband I couldn't believe I was getting paid for this work! And my experience over the past few days in this new job has solidified that this work makes me happy, and I trust it. And even though I don't know what's coming up in 10 years, I know these next ten years will be fantastic!
Watch the interview with Michael: