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Help! I Need to Repackage My Skills

Submitted By: Mary Jean Vincent


For many workers, the recent shift in the economy has disrupted what previously looked like a great career path. The question people are asking is "How do I repackage my skills so I can make a living?"


Job seekers generally view their experience in light of their most recent position. One challenge for today's reluctant career changer is making their previous work experience relevant to a different industry. When changing direction, job seekers in today's market must view their skills from the perspective of a potential employer. Many skills are transferable - provided they are discussed in a context that makes sense to the perspective employer.


So you may be wondering, "What are transferable skills?" Transferable skills, sometimes called functional skills, can be can be broken down into three basic areas: data, people, and things. They include planning and organizational skills; oral and written communication skills; decision-making, supervisory, and leadership skills; financial management skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills; teamwork, professional management and information management skills.


Once learned, these skills can be taken with you and applied in a different setting, regardless of your career. For example, if you are good at leading teams in one job, you will probably be good at leading teams in another job. The key to successfully transferring your skills is demonstrating their relevance and importance to the new job.

Once you made the decision to change direction, inventory your skills. Note those skills that you take for granted because you do them so unconsciously. Job seekers often overlook these skills because they do come so easily. This is a mistake - just because these skills are as easy as breathing does not mean they aren't valuable. Also, don't overlook the skills that friends and colleagues regularly comment on: for example, your ease in managing projects or ability to stay calm during a crisis. Those may not strike you as noteworthy skills but they are.

Take time to write about your accomplishments. Describe the kind of problems you have encountered and solved. Are you good at solving technical problems, untangling numbers, or resolving people issues? What kinds of problems respond best to your expertise? Identify the specific skills you demonstrate when handling these issues.

Ultimately, every organization has these same problems so think about your skills and accomplishments in a broader context than just your previous job.


Acknowledge your knowledge. Sometimes when I am working with a client I discover, almost by accident, a niche area of expertise. When I ask about their abilities and experience in that area, they initially discount it as being unimportant. The more we explore those skills, the more possibilities they uncover. What options are you needlessly discounting? Take a huge leap and consider for a minute the subjects in which you might rightly call yourself an expert. Make a quick list of individuals or organizations who may be interested in what you know.

Imagine for a moment that your success was guaranteed; that you absolutely could not fail. What project, job, or career would you pursue? What goal would you set for yourself? As you have discovered through this unexpected turn of events, there are no guarantees in the world of work! If you want maximum security, go to prison; barring that option, take a realistic view of the risks involved then set off toward your new goal.

Although it may not feel like it now, making an unexpected job change doesn't have to be a show stopper - it just might be the first step to a great new career.


Hi, I'm Mary Jeanne Vincent. I help individuals just like you, reframe their background, skills, and experience and make smart and rewarding career choices. Call or email me at 831.657.9151 or to schedule a 2-hour Career Action Plan session. Visit my website for free job and career articles

Ten Ways to Win the Job Search Mind Game

Submitted By: Mary Jean Vincent

Are you one of the thousands of job seekers who question their sanity, marketability, and capacity to make smart decisions-just because you've lost your job?

Are you wondering how to overcome these psychological challenges, rebuild your self-confidence, increase your marketability, and regain your sense of sanity?

In today's competitive job market, you need more than a killer résumé and great interviewing skills to survive.

Twenty-first-century job seekers must be able to deal with ambiguity, maintain a winner's mindset, demonstrate customer focus, and have a blow-your-socks-off résumé and excellent interviewing skills. All of this requires that you be at the top of your game emotionally, physically, and mentally.

At one time or another, all job seekers face the same basic challenges: résumés that don't generate responses, telephone inquiries that don't produce interviews, few or no callbacks for second interviews, networks that don't perform, feedback from employers about not being a good match, and feeling stuck or otherwise unable to take action.
Why is it that some job seekers are able to overcome these obstacles and move on to interesting, well-paying positions, while others languish in low-paying, uninspiring jobs-or worse yet, simply drop out of the market? Smart job seekers have learned that 99 percent of job hunting has to do with developing a "winner's mind-set." Apply these tips and you too will succeed in the job search mind game.

Today's Successful Job Seekers...
1. Have a handle on their emotions. They know that getting past negative emotions-fear, worry, anger, and embarrassment, all of which erode self-confidence-is essential to their long-term success.
2. Seek positive outlets for the frustrations that inevitably surface during a job search.
3. Refrain from job hunting until they are emotionally ready and prepared with solid marketing materials: résumé, business cards and references.
4. Take time to review and assess their accomplishments, knowledge, and abilities before developing their job search strategy.
5. Learn from the experience of losing a job -whether it was the result of downsizing, company closing, or other circumstance-and find a way to capture the essential elements of the event and explain them in a meaningful way during job interviews.
6. Determine the price of being stuck in the job search, calculate the cost of not moving forward, make adjustments, and then take action.
7. Brainstorm ways around repeated resistance.
8. Use lulls in the job search wisely, to catch their breath and prepare for the next summit.
9. Let go of any shame or embarrassment they may feel about their situation and concentrate on the future.
10. Ask for help when they need it!

Implement these 10 tips and you will have mastered the psychology behind a job search.


Hi, I'm Mary Jeanne Vincent. I help real job seekers just like you find jobs that meet the triple-F test: work that's fun, fulfilling, and financially rewarding. Ask about WorkWise Words of Wisdom Uncover Your Passion tip cards-50 easy-to-use tips guaranteed to jumpstart the process of finding the work you love and loving the work you do. Only $24.99! For information, write to or call 831.657.9151

How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids

Submitted By: Nadia Goodman

BY Nadia Goodman | December 11, 2012|


Tomorrow's business leaders and startup founders will be today's young kids whose parents have raised them with an entrepreneurial spirit -- a skill that is increasingly important as young people flood the startup world and the freelance economy grows.


As a parent, you inspire entrepreneurship by fostering the emotional skills your child will need, such as comfort with risk, effective problem solving, and a positive attitude toward failure.

"It's all about shaping the child's behavior," says Dr. Andrea Vazzana, clinical assistant professor of child psychiatry at New York University Langone's Child Study Center. "Social emotional skills are important and the earlier you can help a child with them, the better." 


Here are five parenting tips to help you foster entrepreneurial qualities in your kids


1. Model effective problem solving. To prepare kids to find business ideas in everyday life, bolster their problem solving skills while they're young. When problems come up in your child's life, brainstorm solutions together. Help them identify the problem, think of all the possible solutions, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the best option.


"The more parents can break down what's needed within that problem solving task, really verbalize it, and talk it out with the child, the better off the child will be," Vazanna says.


2. Help kids learn from failure. As a parent, you influence your child's willingness to try, fail, learn, and try again -- an essential skill for entrepreneurs. To do this, frame criticism as a learning opportunity by helping your child practice the skill or brainstorm what they could do differently next time.


When you offer suggestions for improvement, bookend them with specific praise on either side. "This is called a feedback sandwich," Vazanna says. "The child doesn't feel so harshly criticized; they can take away a positive message."


3. Let kids make decisions. An entrepreneur's confident decisions are rooted in early independence. When kids are toddlers, you might give them the choice of spinach or broccoli with dinner, or let them choose their outfits. "You're exposing them to what it feels like to make a decision, and helping them feel good for being able to do that," Vazanna says.


When kids are young, limit choices to a few options. "Kids can get overwhelmed if they have too many choices," Vazanna says. As they get older, loosen the reins and trust them with bigger decisions.


4. Foster a sense of mastery. Entrepreneurs take huge risks, but being comfortable with uncertainty doesn't happen overnight. Kids need the freedom to test their boundaries and master fears while they're young.


When your child faces a risky situation, help at first, then transition them toward independence. "Tasks should be progressively more difficult," Vazanna says. "This gives the child a sense of mastery." By setting them up to succeed, you empower them to feel confident taking risks.


5. Teach constructive ways to challenge the status quo. Kids are often taught to follow the rules blindly, a habit that inhibits entrepreneurship. Instead, teach kids to challenge norms constructively by articulating their rationale. Ask, what do they think needs to change, and why? What do they propose instead?


You need to lead by example. "The ways parents talk to each other and to children models that behavior," Vazanna says. Your behavior helps kids understand how to question norms diplomatically and when to just follow the rules.

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