Please check out this fantastic article by Authority Magazine with our president, Matt Warzel, as a contributor – Matthew Warzel Of MJW Careers: 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Switched Careers (An Interview with Phil La Duke)
I was fortunate enough to be featured in this fantastic article by Authority Magazine: 𝗠𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘄 𝗪𝗮𝗿𝘇𝗲𝗹 𝗢𝗳 𝗠𝗝𝗪 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗿𝘀: 𝟱 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗜 𝗪𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗦𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗱 𝗧𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗠𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗜 𝗦𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗿𝘀 (𝗔𝗻 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗣𝗵𝗶𝗹 𝗟𝗮 𝗗𝘂𝗸𝗲). Article below is the extracted interview from the website!
Focus on work-life balance measures, mental health support, more timely check-ins and performance reviews, additional training (upskilling), and keep up the perks! Also, focus on succession planning and ways to get people to help others out, better gaining more insight into the overall operations.
According to the US Department of Labor, “The average person will change careers 5–7 times during their working life. Approximately 30% of the total workforce will now change jobs every 12 months.” The statistic is disconcerting for many. After all, we tend to think of our careers as a linear progression of increased skills and (ideally) earning power. We reached out to business professionals who have successfully switched careers in hopes of gleaning bits of their wisdom. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Warzel.
Matthew Warzel, CPRW is a certified resume-writing expert with over 20 years in Human Resources and career advancement techniques. He manages MJW Careers and provides assistance to companies in transition from downsizes to buyouts as well as individual job seekers needing to advance their careers. Matt has a long history working in Human Resources and on recruitment/staffing teams across a variety of industries. He fashions a resume that allows employers to review the applicant’s assets while highlighting his or her accomplishments, showcasing impacts on the employer’s bottom lines using quantitative verbiage, and maintaining brevity. He has over 840 LinkedIn recommendations, over 20,500 LinkedIn followers, over 100 Google recommendations, and over 100 Facebook recommendations, and has been writing resumes and career coaching for 20 years.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
I was laid off in 2009. On February 7th, 2009, my world came crashing down in the form of a severe anxiety attack. I had no career direction. I had been a recruiter, and that’s what I identified as, But didn’t know if it was sustainable.
Let’s face it, recruiters are expendable, especially during a recession and after one of the largest meltdowns we’ve had in US history. So little by little, I slowly started to build my new life,y new career. My new normal.
I worked day by day, taking care of the operational tasks like building a website, understanding SEO, setting up social media accounts, dealing with tax and regulatory issues, implementing my accounting, trying to solicit sales, meeting with mentors, and whatever else it takes to start a business; it was hard. But you know what? I didn’t stop, in fact, I thrived off the challenge.
Sure, I’ve taken my lumps over the past 13 years since I founded MJW Careers.
I’ve tried things and failed and I’ve tried things and succeeded. I’ve re-tried those things that once succeeded but now fail, and I’ve learned that my business is a living, breathing thing. to be cared for after each day. To be consistently tweaked and improved. While I’m nowhere near the finish line, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Let’s jump right in. Can you please tell us about the career changes you’ve made? What prompted you to make these changes? Why didn’t you make the changes sooner?
I was a sales professional out of college. Lasted a year until I got into staffing as a recruiter. From there, I noticed HR recruiters making more money with fewer hours. I jumped on the chance to land a technical in-house recruiter role and stayed in that function until 2009. I bounced around contract gigs from 2005–2007 until landing a full-time job with Johnson Controls. I was in Cleveland and the job was in LA. I relocated, on their dime! Flash forward to when I was laid off and the next thing I know, I had to start all over again. I wrote resumes for $50 until I realized I could turn them into a business, which I did. Still here today.
Have you ever made a career change only to find that your decision to do so was not at all what you expected? If so, how did you handle things?
Yes, when I went from someone trying to break into the advertising business into a screenwriter. It’s way harder than imagined to crack the nut that is Hollywood. I still moonlight as an actor though.
The statistic we cited above says that people might change careers about five times during their working life. In recent times some people have questioned the utility or benefit of college because of the often crushing burden of student loan debt. On top of that, in light of this trend that people can expect to change careers five times, how can anyone hope to prepare themselves properly through college for five careers?
Work more, study more, and read more than partying. Save social life for the weekends and do yourself a favor and soak up everything. You don’t have to be a party pooper, but it’s time to grow up. Knowledge is key to success.
The other statistic we cited above is troubling; 30% of the workforce will switch jobs every 12 months. The cost to employers — not just in dollars and cents, but in customer service, customer loyalty, and other less tangible ways. What should the smart business executive do to retain talent, if anything?
Focus more strategies on keeping their talent pipeline active and happy. Worry less about the acquisition and focus on upskilling current talent. Your people will work harder and be happier when you treat them as such.
I personally know of at least five people who decided to quit their jobs (three gave their notice immediately) because they “didn’t like the person the job was making them become.” From your experience and perspective, is this sentiment a broader trend? How important is it for an individual’s personal values to align with the values of an organization? How can companies help correct this?
It’s true. You are sacrificing 40+ hours a week for other people that half the time you would rather not be around. Focus on your work and what you’re doing. Is it fulfilling or boring? Does it make you happy or crazy? Is it easy to separate or do you bring baggage home to the family? If you’re caught in a rut, it’s time to internalize, realize, and visualize. Try to identify your relevance in terms of value to a prospective employer, internalize what your passions are and some transferable skills and accomplishments to relay to hiring managers, a solid resume and some email communication templates (or cover letter), and a lot of patience and willpower. A good rule of thumb for the job hunter seeking a new role in a new industry is to identify your transferable skills and portray those first on your LinkedIn profile and resume. Reverse engineer your career path from your ideal job’s description and see what you have and what needs up-skilling. Think the long game. Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What’s important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k), location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc. Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What’s your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in two weeks, three months, or a year?
What are a few things that employers, managers, and executives can do to ensure that workers enjoy their jobs?
Focus on work-life balance measures, mental health support, more timely check-ins and performance reviews, additional training (upskilling), and keep up the perks! Also, focus on succession planning and ways to get people to help others out, better gaining more insight into the overall operations. Some ideas:
- Provide clear expectations and goals: Workers need to know what is expected of them and how their work fits into the overall goals of the organization.
- Foster a positive work culture: A positive work culture that values diversity, inclusivity, and open communication can help workers feel valued and supported.
- Offer opportunities for growth and development: Workers who feel that they are learning and growing in their jobs are more likely to be satisfied and motivated.
- Provide a safe and healthy work environment: A safe and healthy work environment is essential for worker well-being and job satisfaction.
- Recognize and reward good work: Recognizing and rewarding good work can help workers feel valued and motivated to continue performing well.
- Communicate openly and honestly: Open and honest communication between workers and management can help build trust and foster a positive work environment.
Can you share a few things that employers, managers, and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture?
- Foster open communication: Encourage employees to speak up, listen to their feedback, and be transparent about company decisions.
- Create a positive work environment: This can include things like providing comfortable workspaces, recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions, and promoting work-life balance.
- Promote diversity and inclusion: This can involve creating a diverse hiring process, offering training on unconscious bias, and creating an inclusive work environment where all employees feel welcome and valued.
- Offer opportunities for growth and development: Help employees develop their skills and advance their careers by providing training, mentorship, and leadership development programs.
- Foster a sense of community: Encourage teamwork and collaboration, and create social events and activities that bring employees together.
- Practice ethical leadership: Set a positive example for the team by being honest, fair, and transparent in your dealings with employees.
By taking these steps, employers, managers, and executives can create a positive and supportive work culture that helps employees feel engaged, valued, and motivated.
Some business leaders believe that the solution lies in the gig economy. Do you believe this trend supports this belief? Do you think the gig economy lends itself to a sustainable and stable business model?
The gig economy, or the use of independent contractors and freelancers to perform work on a temporary basis, has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are pros and cons to this model, and it may or may not be suitable for all businesses. One potential advantage of the gig economy is that it allows businesses to be more flexible and responsive to changing needs, as they can hire workers on an as-needed basis. It can also allow workers to have more control over their schedules and work arrangements. However, the gig economy can also create challenges for both workers and businesses. Gig workers may not have the same job security or benefits as traditional employees, and it can be difficult for them to earn a stable income. Additionally, businesses may face legal and regulatory challenges when classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Overall, it is up to each business to determine whether the gig economy is a suitable model for their specific needs and goals. It may be a useful way to meet short-term or temporary staffing needs, but it may not be a sustainable or stable long-term business model for all companies.
Ok, thank you for that. Here is the main question of this interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Switched Careers?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Aim high. When I was starting out trying to break into advertising as a copywriter, my true passion was film and I wanted to write movies. But I thought that was a pipe dream, too big of a world to even consider. Well, breaking into advertising is just as hard and especially if you want to write the copy for the next Bud Light Super Bowl commercial. I decided to try standup, get into acting, and learn how to write for the screen properly with the 3-act structure. Since then, I’ve been in over 12 studio films or shows.
- Network and build connections as soon as possible in the industry/role you want to pursue. Networking and building connections within the industry can be helpful in finding job opportunities and getting your foot in the door. Network and reach out to like-minded people or decision-makers and build a connection. Then schedule a time to continuously stay on top of this relationship cultivation. Join forums and answer questions or pose questions to start a dialogue. Anything and everything to continuously push ahead into thought leadership status. Knowing your value is key to cutting through the fluff and ensuring your content leaves a positive and memorable mark on these hiring managers and recruiters. Your goal is to understand the role and industry inside and out so that eventually you can become the subject matter expert. Find some new career job openings and the possible credentials you may need to better position yourself in this new role find online institutions where you can acquire these credentials, and list them on your resume. Also, find membership groups and industry networking opportunities…this is a wonderful place to gather knowledge from industry pros who can help explain the nuances of your new role. Be realistic about what you can achieve. While taking chances and risks is a good thing, do not over-stretch yourself into a role you simply are not a fit for (yet). What industry do you want to live in, and in what role? Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, and live it. Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer. The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable to other duties. If you’re an accomplished professional, it’s best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience.
- Start a business NOW rather than head back to another contract or W-2. I wish I would’ve started a business in my 20s instead of partying and haphazardly trying to figure out my way in life. It just takes some small steps to turn your idea into a real-life business, so get going already! Start planting those seeds.
- Build a brand and served as a subject matter expert in the new field sooner than later. You might not think about it, but your personal brand is already forming. What do people see when they Google you? Do they see the résumé you put together? The cover letter you wrote? Or do they see all of the other information out there about you, like your social media profiles and what people say about you online?
The answer is probably some combination of all three. But if you’re looking to get hired by a company that aligns with your values, it’s important to make sure that your brand is clear and aligned with those values.
A personal brand is what will set you apart from the competition. Your personal brand is, according to a study by Northeastern University, “who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the way in which you express those values.” Employers want to avoid hiring people who can become potential liabilities and those who contradict the very core values or overall mission that the company stands for.
For example, let’s say a company has a core value of “being honest at all times.” If you have a history of lying or being dishonest with employers, that could be a red flag for them — even if it had nothing to do with the job position (for example: if an employer found out that you lied about having previous work experience).
Or let’s say another company has a core value of “being respectful of others.” If their employees start making fun of customers on social media or in person, it could affect how customers feel about their brand. It could even affect how other employees feel about working at that company. Also, social media is a great place to show off your personality, but it’s also a place where you can use your skills to get noticed.
You probably have a LinkedIn profile and maybe even a Twitter account. But have you ever considered the value of adding videos to your social media portfolio?
Adding videos to your LinkedIn feed can help you stand out from the crowd, as well as give you a better chance at landing job interviews.
If you’re looking for a job, consider creating a YouTube series or writing a blog. The more ways you can demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about (and that you’re fun), the better.
According to an article in The Muse, “Videos are an excellent way to show off your skills and expertise.” The article goes on to explain that users who post videos on their profiles are more likely to get hired than those who don’t. This is because recruiters use video clips as part of their screening process and they want to see how you communicate with others in real time.
To get started, all you need is a smartphone or tablet with a camera and a free copy of iMovie or another video editing app (such as Final Cut Pro). Once you’ve recorded something, simply post it on your profile page for everyone in your network (and beyond) to see!
Even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, there are plenty of free tools that will help you create graphics and photos. Try something new: share graphics/photos in your LinkedIn feed that reinforce who you are as a professional. Use these images as branding tools to showcase your expertise, character, and professional beliefs. You can create simple graphics using free tools like Canva.
For example, if one of the skills listed on your resume is leadership, then create an image that showcases one of your favorite leadership quotes. These images will stand out in the feed and get noticed by your network!
My particular playground, LinkedIn, is a great place to build your personal brand, but it can also be a black hole that sucks up all the time and energy you have to spend on your personal brand.
But if you stay consistent with your posting schedule, you’ll see the results of your efforts pay off in no time.
The secret to branding on LinkedIn is consistency. It’s not about making your posts flashy or clever or even about being original; it’s about making sure people see them over and over again, so they can’t help but notice that they’re there and take a look at what else you have to offer. I wish I would’ve stayed more creative, hungry, and consistent early on with my brand.
- Take a chance on a lower role to get into the industry. I wanted to be in advertising, but now that I think of it, I should’ve done the same pursuit with film/TV at a major Hollywood studio, the PGA golf tour, some record label, or within the crew of a band I love, or with the Cleveland Browns, all places I would’ve loved to work. As an entry-level (or career changer) job seeker, your priority is to gain experience and training and expand your network.
If you’re looking for a new job, now is the time to start applying. Hiring managers have told us that they’re looking for candidates who understand not only the role but also the company and its mission.
Companies are seeking employees who have a passion for learning, can work collaboratively with their team members, and help the company achieve its goals.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” — Steve Jobs
I’m a Steve Jobs nut and this quote is impactful because it speaks to the idea that loving what you do is a key ingredient to producing great work. When people are passionate about their work and enjoy what they do, they are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and committed to producing their best work. On the other hand, if someone is not passionate about their work or finds it unfulfilling, they may be less motivated and may not produce their best work. I find that as a passionate person with a zest for life, it’s important to not let that energy be exhausted with work that isn’t of interest to me. The quote also encourages me to keep searching for other projects that bring out fulfillment and joy, and not to settle for just one project that does not make me happy. Overall, this quote is impactful because it emphasizes the importance of finding work that one loves and encourages people to pursue their passions in their careers. I am a career coach who helps people find their passion and respective career path. Very apropos.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a living person in the world or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Tiger Woods because he is someone I’ve followed since I was 14 and brought out my love for golf. I’ve cried over his documentaries and have felt his energy when I was near him shooting during tournaments. The man is a force in real life, not many people have that effect.
Our readers often like to follow our interview subjects’ careers. How can they further follow your work online?
www.jobstickers.com will guide them to all of my internet playgrounds
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
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