Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Career Change Success

May 31, 2015 By in Career Advice


Recently I watched “The Wizard of Oz” with my family and although I can recite the movie lines by heart, I was struck by a number of life lessons that I’d never noticed before. The energy and spirit of this classic movie resonated with me as a career coach. I help a growing number of motivated clients overcome obstacles and connect with new jobs.

So what’s your Yellow Brick Road? Are you navigating a clear path for your job search? Are you making progress overcoming challenges on Career Transition Road? Have you identified a trustworthy coach to successfully steer you to your next great opportunity? Professional athletes and organizational leaders understand the value of finding a coach, a mentor to help them achieve their goals. However, selection of a coach in and of itself isn’t enough to guarantee your career success. You need to listen, work, and follow through to achieve your goals. When Glenda the Good Witch advised Dorothy to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”, Dorothy had a choice: to listen and move forward into uncharted territory or do nothing. Rather than letting fear of the unknown paralyze her into inaction, Dorothy followed the Munchkins’ chant which reinforced Glenda’s sage advice to move forward.

Create the mindset that you’ll overcome obstacles and achieve success applying four key action steps that Dorothy accomplished in her path toward her goal:

1. Grow Your Network: While you reinvent yourself for a new job, you’ll experience a variety of obstacles. They might not necessarily be flying monkeys, a vindictive green-faced witch, or angry apple-pelting trees, but we can definitely learn from Dorothy because she successfully created a network to support and encourage her march to victory. She was open to accepting assistance and friendship. By creating a network in an unfamiliar situation, Dorothy received encouragement from her new teammates. She surrounded herself with people having different strengths, meeting the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and the Wizard. Without her network, Dorothy couldn’t have gotten to the Wizard. All of these people supported and encouraged her to achieve her goal of returning home.

What about you? Are you making valuable, mutually-beneficial professional LinkedIn connections with existing and new colleagues offering support and resources on your path to employment? Are you reciprocating with assistance, reaching out to struggling friends? LinkedIn is that powerful avenue to meeting and receiving help. When used properly, your expanding network is the catalyst in transforming your job search. During your career transition, ask for and accept team support. Use your trusted LinkedIn network of quality connections to expedite your search. Build relationships, market your skills, and increase your interviews as you thoughtfully navigate a clear path to accepting your next job. Learn to optimize LinkedIn’s tools to contact hiring managers directly, introducing yourself before submitting your well-written resume. Contacting decision makers demonstrates that you’re a proactive go-getter excited about their new opportunities, eager to schedule interviews. By contacting hiring managers directly, you’ll set yourself ahead of the competition and develop a valuable network of resource people.

2. Wisely Navigate Your Path: Glenda offered guidance to a stranger who fell out of the sky. Dorothy accepted direction once she determined that this Good Witch had her best interests in mind. When we fall, it’s critical that we seek and accept advice from an empathetic mentor who truly cares and has overcome similar obstacles. Identify a respected, proactive career coach with a solid record of having helped others reach their goals. Their trusted advice will help you move from survive to thrive. Part of their advice will include two key ingredients to confidently moving forward in your job search path: Have expertly written profile and resume content, and learn how to optimize LinkedIn’s tools to generate more interviews. Without both elements, proven to ensure your success, it’s comparable to driving a vehicle with flat tires, resulting in either a stalled search or lackluster results. To drive to your interview, have four working tires. Like Dorothy, follow your mentor’s advice and you’ll remain on a clear path to success. Listen and take action.

3. Develop Confidence: Each turn in the Yellow Brick Road of your job search has bumps and adversity. Lean on your network and stay on your coach’s prescribed path. Channel your inner Cowardly Lion for courage, your inner Scarecrow to stay mentally focused, and your inner Tin Man for the heart which drives both your energy and passion. As each of these characters gained confidence along the Yellow Brick Road, they developed the attribute that they most wanted. They stopped thinking about what they thought was missing inside of themselves and focused on the goal. Their inner dialogue was transformed from feelings of inadequacy to strength, and they grew into confident, competent people. Don’t focus on the challenges. Focus on the end result so you’re able to easily look ahead to reaping your reward. Work from the end in mind, clearly picturing your new job, carefully considering the steps you need to get there. Your confidence will grow and attract exciting new opportunities.

It’s not surprising that the talented candidates who find new opportunities the fastest are the ones who are confident in their skills and have purposefully chosen to view their hiatus from work as an “adventure”, a valuable time of reinvention, rather than a frustrating period of loss and struggle. We create a different experience through the power of our words because we think, speak, and hear our language. Our words create emotion and affect our level of energy and confidence, and they set into motion the Law of Attraction. Dorothy was so focused on returning home that no wicked witch was going to prevent her from reaching her goal. Losing a job or being part of a downsizing can certainly leave you with a feeling of being sucked into tornadic chaos and dropped into a foreign land. The twist is that you must choose to alter your feelings and thoughts about the experience, empower yourself with the belief of becoming a champion, move forward, and make your new circumstances work for you.

Elevate your energy level with enthusiastic, positive, life-giving language rather than wallowing in any words that will deplete your confidence and high expectations. Yes, it’s a mind game but to reap these rewards, believe in your talents and expect terrific results. Henry Ford asked, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?”

4. Select Your Mantra: Your inner dialogue colors your experience and confidence. Have you ever stopped to consider your internal conversation? If your inner voice speaks of defeat, fatigue, and frustration, you’re inviting more of the same. I appreciate Pastor Joel Osteen’s advice, “You cannot talk defeat and expect victory. Be positive or be quiet. Zip up the doubt – You’re prophesying your future.” We need to pay attention to our language. There’s amazing power behind our words and we want to invite belief and strength, rather than mediocrity and defeat. Transform your vocabulary and you’ll elevate your experience. Use positive words that attract and speak your new goal into existence. Dorothy’s personal mantra was, “There’s no place like home!” Her words had focus and energy, a meaningful declaration of victory over her struggle. What’s your favorite motivational quote that renews your belief? One of my personal favorites is Les Brown’s battle cry, “It’s not over until I win!” There’s great power in our words, so select exceptional phrases that keep you upbeat and focused. Energize your mood and build your belief in your mission. Have confidence that when you’ve wisely chosen your words, you will attract great opportunities and achieve terrific results.

As we all know, Dorothy accomplished her goal of returning home by accepting help from her network of friends and remaining determined to succeed. Your goal is to find your own way to an exciting new opportunity in the New Year. I wish you great success!

About the author:
Deborah E. Rooney, M.S., Ed, is the owner of Power Resumes & Coaching. She coaches new grads, seasoned professionals, and adults in career transition to identify and market their outstanding transferable skills and core competencies to attract new jobs where they’ll thrive. Deborah teaches job hunters how to optimize LinkedIn as a powerful catalyst to connect with their network of colleagues to find great opportunities. She works with her clientele to improve both resume and LinkedIn profile content. As a LinkedIn Connector, she uses her network to introduce clients to hiring managers.

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