Second Breaks 166 Sarah Baker Andrus

“A big mistake I see experienced people make on their LinkedIn profiles or on their resumés in the summary at the top, it’ll say ‘More than 20 years of experience.’ Please no. We don’t want to lead with our years of experience.” — Sarah Baker Andrus

IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Strategies for returning to your previous career after a long break
  • Strategies for career pivots in midlife
  • What to do when you’ve been let go in midlife
  • How to approach networking when you haven’t been keeping in touch with your contacts
  • How to address the “years and years of experience” in your resumé

ABOUT MY GUEST:

Sarah Baker Andrus is the founder and CEO of Avarah Careers, a career coaching business. She’s worked on all sides of the hiring equation, serving as a career counselor, a recruiter, and a hiring manager. After twenty+ years in recruiting and PR with the same company, she got the itch to make a change and jumped to a shiny new “dream job.” Within weeks she knew she had made a huge mistake. 18 months later, she received a gift in the form of a layoff. She started Avarah Careers in 2014 and hasn’t looked back.

Sarah has seen common mistakes that people make when looking for a new job. In this episode, we explore effective strategies that can help us when we find ourselves, either by choice or necessity, needing to make a career transition in midlife. We talk about techniques that can make this a little bit easier and less stressful.

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MIDLIFE CUES: Curated ideas and resources for a well-lived, rocking midlife. Every Sunday.

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CONVERSATION:

In our country, our value as people is defined by what we do. It’s ironic that we put so much value there but we don’t teach people how to find work. We don’t have a culture that supports us as we move in and out in what really is a natural wave as we grow and develop as adults.

What’s distinguishing the nuance here between how separated we are with our skills and how stale they may have become is it comes to are you able to seamlessly move into a role?

A former colleague reached out to me on LinkedIn and his first line after “Hi Sarah” was, “I know, 13 years is a long time.” I loved how completely transparent he was and how that just invited me in. And he owned it and then he moved to not why he was reaching out, but what he remembered about me, which was brilliant.

We have to start with compassion because getting laid-off can be devastating. I think that when we’re laid off, it’s often an assault on who we are as a person, but it doesn’t have to be if we look at it as an opportunity. But I believe we need to grieve before we, um, can really take meaningful action steps.

What I say to help people is our partners, the people who love us, have a right to know what we’re doing. So let’s decide how that’s going to happen in a way that gives us power. Let’s recognize that they just need reassurance.

Let’s put a date on the calendar, say once a week when we give them as complete an update as we can, with as much generosity as we can, in a positive spirit of, “I want to share this with you because I know you’re concerned. I want to let you know what I’m doing. But then that the partner agrees in exchange for that, we will have other conversations about other topics. We will not begin every dinner with did you talk to so-and-so.

We have to become absolutely fluent in what we offer. We have to do an exhaustive examination of our skills. Every one of us who’s ever been laid off, we have times in our careers where we can look back and say, I did something there. And my suggestion is that you look back at those times and tease out the skills and make a complete skills inventory.

We don’t want to lead with our experience. Years of experience don’t mean years of building skills. We want to lead with our skills and being able to be fluent with what you offer an employer


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