Tag Archive for: fear of career change

Fitting Back In: Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship

Fitting Back In: Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship


Owning your own business is hard work. It is definitely not something everyone can do — even the best business ideas don’t come through. Going back to a corporate job after owning your own business can feel like you’re giving up, but there are also advantages to making that change. When trying to fit back into the corporate puzzle, make sure you think through all of your options and determine exactly what you want.


ONE: Many business owners quit entrepreneurship because they are tired of wearing all the hats from CEO to janitor. Entrepreneurs work longer and harder hours because they must fulfill every job role for the company unless they are able to hire other employees. As an entrepreneur, you aren’t just implementing someone else’s business model. You:

  • Create the business model
  • Network with clients
  • Make and take the phone calls
  • Implement plans
  • Take out the trash

Corporate jobs offer stability and direction of position. Many factors can play into leaving a self-started business such as a drastic life change or just simply not wanting to do it anymore.

TWO: When you do decide to go back to corporate, know how your skills translate to the job you want. More than likely you will try to go back to a desk job at the level or position title previously held. While that is well and good, you need to make sure all of your new skills from owning your own business are also applied to your repertoire. Prepare your resume with those skills, be proud of your accomplishments, and any knowledge you have gained. Don’t promote yourself as the ‘CEO’ but use a title that best describes your position — what you actually did during your business.

THREE: Make sure you address the pink elephant — the question that needs to be answered, not ignored. Why did you leave your business? You should be thinking about this long before your first interview. It should be a well prepared explanation and make the company feel at ease instead of worrying about how long you will be with them. You want to prove that you can and will be an asset and a member of their team. Make them realize you do have value, skills they need, and are not just looking for a rebound job. Don’t be overly detailed in explaining why you are leaving entrepreneurship, but give enough information to indicate your current and future intentions. If the business failed, own up to it, you tried, you put yourself on the line and did the best you could have done. State accomplishments and take what you have learned from the crash and use it to better yourself and the company you want to work for.

FOUR: Do your research. When you go back to corporate, you don’t want just any job. There was a reason you decided to pursue an entrepreneurship and you should follow the path you are passionate about.

  • Fitting Back In Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship Image by iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Fitting Back In Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship
    Image by iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Take advantage of networking opportunities with former colleagues and supervisors.

  • Find companies of interest and reach out to people who work there.
  • Schedule informational meetings and interviews.
  • Have a concise description of what you are looking for.

FIVE: You may encounter the grief roadblock — feel like you’re ‘selling out’ or ashamed of leaving your own business. Try your best to be positive and focus on your accomplishments, not your failures. Plan for a change in environment and adjust accordingly.

SIX: You need to learn as must as you can. Don’t walk into the job thinking that you already know everything about the position. There will be things you need to learn and things you have never heard of before. Pay attention to things that will give you an edge and how you can effectively cooperate in this new job. Conversely, you may be able to teach them something from your own experiences owning your business. Offer creative and constructive suggestions in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you know better than the boss.

Navigating back to a corporate job is challenging. You need to re-market yourself, rework your resume, and present yourself in a way that fits into a corporate lifestyle. You’ve gotten used to working for yourself — being laid back about some things and taking your time on projects but a corporation does not operate that way. You need to figure out how to work effectively on a 9-to-5 schedule and leave work knowing you were productive and worked hard. Knowing the culture of the company you are moving into can help you adjust more easily as well as let the company know your motives align with theirs. Once you have worked through all of the details, you will be able to see how every piece fits together and your function as one part of the corporate picture.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

Every week, I speak to at least one executive job seeker who is in panic mode. These executives are in job search panic, and you might be, too, for a variety of reasons:
Quit the Job Search Panic Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

  • You heard the company is restructuring and you might lose your job.
  • You know the company is laying you off soon.
  • You have been assigned to a new manager or executive.
  • You’ve been out of work for some time.
  • You’re a go-getter, and any time spent job searching is better spent actually working in your next role.
  • Or, the biggest cause of job-search panic: The wait between developing your resume and hearing back.

If you are experiencing any one of these panic-inducing scenarios, then you’re probably very concerned about when that next job offer is coming. You might even be applying like mad to every likely possibility on job boards or LinkedIn. I’ll bet money that it feels like a ton of work. I’ll bet it also feels like you’re a hamster on a wheel, exerting a ton of effort and going nowhere fast, and increasing your sense of panic all the while.

Calm the Job Search Panic: Get off the Job Search Hamster Wheel

Can you imagine a job search that fees calm, controlled, and panic free, not to mention EFFECTIVE?

Having worked with hundreds of clients throughout their job search, I’ve seen these situations come up dozens of times. In every case, an executive job seeker can shorten the time between job search panic and job search success with one or more of the following strategies:

Define your job search goal: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Drive your job search forward by determining the type of company, the industry, the level, and the role you’re after.
Read voraciously: Explore industry resources, regional business journals, company web sites, and public relations pieces to inform your knowledge of the industry. You’ll learn more about the state of the employment economy by learning which companies are getting funded or are growing by reading about their goals and strategies than you will by reading their job postings.

Talk to people of influence: By “influence,” I mean people who can inform your strategy. These can be peers, industry insiders, and hiring managers. Remember: Not every conversation should start with a question about whether the person is willing to hire you.

Set up a job search project plan: As Rudy Giuliani said, “Because ‘change’ is not a destination, just as ‘hope’ is not a strategy.”

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

By taking control of your job search and establishing your process and goal before you start, you will manage your job search panic, whether you’re concerned about your company’s layoffs or in the midst of an active job search now. You know the pieces of the puzzle you can control, so take action on your executive job search now to avoid that paralyzing job search panic.

Build Confidence to Launch Your Executive Job Search

Build Confidence to Launch Your Executive Job Search

An executive job search is one of the hardest things that you will ever do. Going through an executive job search could leave you feeling bruised and beaten down. Your level of confidence can get hit pretty hard if you have been turned down for an executive position or haven’t been able to get an interview so far in your executive job search. Instead of focusing on the discouragement, work on changing your perspective.

Anchor shaped word cloud with text about confidence

Confidence is the key to your successful executive job search.

As you prepare to conduct your executive job search you might currently be without a job, but previously employed—or have a job and want a change. Decades ago, people would start with one company and retire from the same company. In today’s world people can change jobs or even careers many times in their career lifetime. Factors such as corporate reorganizations, mergers, technology changes, and increased performance expectations have caused a huge increase in those looking for a job. These are all external factors to your job search, whereas a change of your internal mindset truly can affect your success.

There are several approaches that you can take to adjust your attitude and raise your confidence in finding that great job opportunity.

  1. Look at the whole picture—Write down what is working well and not so well for you. Focus on what you do well and work to change what does not work well. Recently, I learned that many companies coach their employees to play to their strengths, for the greater success of the entire team. You can take this approach in your executive job search.
  2. Ask others—Reach out to those that know you well or have worked with you in the past. Ask for their perspective on skills or attributes that they have noticed in you.
  3. Use your skills—Maintain your skill set. Keep current by using your skills either through volunteering or continuing education. When you do not keep current, you take the risk doubting whether you are still “up to the job.”
  4. Practice interviewing—Research and record a list of potential interview questions and practice with a trusted person. You will find yourself more at ease during an interview if you are prepared. At the same time, review your executive resume to brush up on your own history, so you can answer interview questions with confidence.
  5. Keep involved with your network—Your network is the key to your finding a new executive position. Not only will you keep up on your industry, but you also might discover job opportunities that become available. Feeling shaky on the networking front? Contact us for guidance.

Keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind is difficult when you are faced with the challenge of a job search. You can help yourself keep a positive mindset throughout your executive job search with these 5 reminders.

For more information on building confidence in an executive job search:

Is Your Lack Of Confidence Holding Your Job Search Back?

How to Build Your Job-Search Confidence

Who Are Your Advocates in Your Executive Job Search?

Who Are Your Advocates in Your Executive Job Search?

When you’re looking down the double barrels of a complex job search, you might be feeling isolated. In most cases, you can’t talk to your immediate colleagues, your suppliers, or your customers. What do you do when you want to move on from your current role, but you have no idea to whom you will turn for help? Who are your advocates in your executive job search?

Your Existing Network

Desert with rock towers

Who are your advocates in your job search?

Certainly, speaking to your current employees or executive team about your plans to make a career move is tricky–or professionally suicidal. However, you likely have a “professional board of directors” who can serve as your sounding board. If you’re planning to change companies or careers, these individuals can advise you on the status of their companies, industries, and more.

Where to look: Start with your close contacts, such as relatives or close former colleagues–these will be your safest audience.


Recruiters can be your best confidential advocates–if they have identified you as a unique resource to pitch to their clients. Of necessity, recruiters follow the needs of their clients, which are the companies that hire them to find unique talent. So while your job search should never start with the premise that you will “work with recruiters.” They know how to find you if they need you, and spreading yourself thinly across a pool of recruiters dilutes your uniqueness. If a recruiter finds you and asks you about your interest in a particular position, that’s a call for which you should always make time.

Where to look: Don’t look at all. Let them find you.

Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer

Your executive career coach and resume writer can be your best advocate throughout your career transition. This professional is always on your side, helping you to develop clarity for your:

  • Target executive title
  • Target industry
  • Target company
  • Messaging and story telling
  • Marketing portfolio, e.g., your executive resume and cover letter
  • Social media presence, including but not limited to LinkedIn profile development

Where to look: Call me to identify whether we are a good fit.


Image courtesy of freeimages.com / sscharlo

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

To misquote Simon and Garfunkel’s “Kodachrome,” I don’t remember a lot of what I learned in high school specifically. Significantly, however, I do remember learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this concept has always resonated with me. Particularly now in my practice as an executive resume writer and career coach, I think about what pushes executives to stay on their existing career paths—and what induces them to push harder to find joy in their careers.

Briefly, Maslow demonstrated that at the most basic level we need food, clothing, shelter, and all of the fundamental things that enable our bodies to survive. At the highest level, we self-actualize, which has been interpreted as reaching our full potential. In the realm of your executive career, your joy in your work is your self-actualization.

The idea that you’re at your best when you love what you do should not come as a complete surprise. I’m sure there have been many moments in your career that sparked a smile on your face, not to mention accolades from your team or boss. In aggregate, that’s your personal definition of career-related joy.

The harder question is this: How do you make those moments happen more often and more predictably. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you dissatisfied with your company’s trajectory?
  2. Do you wish you could earn a promotion or better compensation faster?
  3. Are you sure your industry the right one for you?
  4. If you had no obstacles to a career change, would you immediately change industries or job functions to ones you’ve already thought about?
  5. Do you dread Monday mornings?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you might not be finding the joy every executive deserves in his or her career. Give me a call—we can talk about your specific situation and develop a strategy to identify the ways you can recover the joy you felt when you first started down this career path.



Image courtesy of freeimages.com / asifthebes

Treat Your Executive Career the Way You Run Your Company

Treat Your Executive Career the Way You Run Your Company

Recently, I read on several social media outlets a meme that reads, roughly:

Executive #1: “What if we invest in our workforce and they choose to leave?”
Executive #2: “What if we don’t, and they stay?”

Of course this meme was designed to incite executives to invest in their company’s talent. I don’t believe that there is an executive out there who thinks that ignoring the needs of his or her workforce is wise.

Despite the axiomatic value of investing in the talent and expertise of their company, so many executives refuse to do the same for themselves. These executives adamantly refuse to treat their own career growth with the same care and insightfulness.

Executive board room with chairs and table.

Do you refuse to treat your own career growth with care and insightfulness?

Examples of this lack of preparation and investment appear in a number of ways. These executives:

  • Lose their former passion for their work but keep trudging along the same paths on which they have been successful in the past.
  • Fail to create a thoughtful business plan for the success of their careers.
  • Neglect to build a career plan “inventory” in the form of a compelling current resume, recognizable branding, engaging social media presence, and so on.
  • Abandon their warm contacts when they secured the position that was right at the time, treating networking as a goal-specific strategy whose value dropped the moment the ink dried on their contracts.
  • Decline to budget to hire the right consultants to guide them in making complex career decisions.

These executives are smart and insightful, so, probably, they didn’t forget these key steps on purpose. What started as benign neglect quickly turned to outright apathy. The pattern disintegrates into painful lack of motivation and career subsistence. In other words, they are unhappy in their roles, know they can do better, but choose to do nothing, simply because change is too daunting. Fortunately, mastering the enterprise known as your career is not as complicated as running your company–although the personal stakes are infinitely greater.

The broad plan is simple. The expert consultant you need to engage knows the way your career is supposed to work. And the sooner you start, the less time you lose to indifference or fear, and the sooner you can tackle each step of the process, with support, one piece at a time. You simply need to choose to master your career.


image courtesy of freeimages.com / svilen001

Not Getting Interviews? Apply for Only 6 Jobs in Your Executive Job Search

“Why am I not getting interviews?” you’re wondering? “I’m sending out dozens of resumes, but the calls aren’t coming in.”

Not Getting Interviews? Hint: There are only 6 executive jobs that are right for you.

When job search candidates tell me that they have applied for hundreds of positions and received no interviews, they usually sound panicked and angry. After all, with all that effort they are putting into their job searches, why aren’t they getting any interviews? They are baffled, frustrated, and worried about their chances for success. They don’t see that there are only perhaps six jobs that are right for them.

The first thing I advise these frustrated executive job search candidates is to stop applying right away. Clearly, the strategy they have chosen is not working–they’re not getting positive responses to their resumes, and they are not getting interviews that match their expertise. There is something very wrong with their approach, and doing more of it will result only in more frustration and fewer calls for interviews.Not getting interviews? Narrow your career focus, and you'll get calls for interviews for the right jobs.

Now I’m Wondering, “Why Are there only 6 Jobs in My Executive job Search?”

Then, I ask what positions they are targeting. The wide range of responses is staggering. And there is the problem. There are no “hundreds of positions” that are right for any one person–no wonder there are no calls for interviews. I would posit that there are only 6 (or thereabouts) positions that are right for any single executive. So when executives are frustrated because they are not getting interviews, I tell them it’s because they’re casting a net that is by far too wide.

By eliminating all positions and companies that are not directly in the bulls-eye of your job search, paradoxically your job search will become more fruitful. You’ll target your entire job search process to this set of positions, which you have taken time to identify, focus on, and target your messaging toward. Yes, it might feel like you’re eliminating hundreds of possibilities, but instead your message is becoming more authentic and more believable to your hiring entity. You’ll start to sound like the executive they have been looking for all along.

So how do you focus on your 6 ideal jobs? You leave out everything not in your ideal executive job search zone. If the executive job is not targeting

  • Your values
  • Your corporate culture
  • Your function
  • Your growth
  • Your aptitude
  • Your skill set

Then do not apply, and have zero regrets about leaving it off your list.

Updated January 2017.

Lead Your Executive Career Transition–Just the Way You Lead Your Company

Lead Your Executive Career Transition–Just the Way You Lead Your Company

Of the many similarities among those who seek me out is that they all are deeply committed to making their companies as successful as possible. They strategize and plan and execute, all with amazing results. What strikes me is that many of these often did not do the same with their careers. They worked hard, got promoted, got recruited, and got hired. However, now the employment economy is quite different, and they must plan to be successful, just the way they plan for their companies to succeed.

Nothing Purposeful Happens on Its Own

Even though serendipity is great, the employment marketplace for executive leaders shares only passing similarity to that of other economic eras. Thus, executives need to focus on making purposeful change, which, itself, only comes out of purposeful decision making. So ask yourself these questions:

  • What choices can I make today to improve my access to the right positions?
  • With whom do I need to speak to get my career change on track?
  • What are the resources I need to enact a positive career change?

These are the same types of questions you might ask your own corporate team about their decision-making processes.

Examine All of the “Departments” in Your Executive Career Change “Company”

Now break you answers down further into their essential parts, perhaps by business department:

  • Strategy (what is next for me?)
  • Finance (what are my financial goals?)
  • Accounting (what happens if I quit today?)
  • Business development (whom do I need to meet?)
  • Marketing (how I am going to promote myself? what is my messaging?)
  • Advertising and public relations (what documents do I need to promote my marketing message?)
  • Operations (how will I keep track of my progress?)

Hire the Right Help

As you think about the choices you need to make, perhaps you need to think about the resources that can create the greatest degree of success in the shortest amount of time. For example, your business might require a marketing leader with expertise outside of your team’s core competencies to attack a new market. Or it might need a new financial strategist to build a well-researched acquisition plan. Certainly, if your company needed this expertise, you would source it. Wouldn’t you do the same for your own career? There are resources that can move your career forward as well. Ask me about them.

Sign up for my weekly emails on executive resume writing and career coaching here.

About Amy Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, CEIC, is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Five Strengths is a premier executive resume writing and career coaching company. Amy recently was nominated for Best Executive Resume and Best Career Re-Entry Resume in the 2013 global Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Awards. Amy won first place for Best Executive Resume in the 2012 TORI Award competition.

Measure Your Executive Career Success by the Number of Job Offers You Reject

Measure Your Executive Career Success by the Number of Job Offers You Reject

If you’re challenging yourself to find the right new executive opportunity, you’re hoping the next application you submit will result in a job offer. Then you can get out of the job you’re in and into something new. Something different, something…better?

Will any position do? “Yes,” you are thinking right now. “I’ll do anything, as long as it’s not what I’ve been doing.” If this is your thought process, borne of desperation, I challenge you to change it right now.

Recently, I wrote about how to run toward the perfect executive position, not away from it. I received a lot of comments from executives who all reported that they needed to get away from what they were doing. Up until that moment, they were willing to take almost any position, as long as it was with some other company.

Running toward the right position never actually struck them as a strategy, given the high level of stress and frustration they were trying to get away from every single day. They were taking interviews and would take offers from all comers. In fact, they might even have measured their success by the number of interview offers they received.

Can you imagine how these executives might feel in a year or two if they chose one of those offers, just because the offer came from a different company? Probably, they’d feel the same level of frustration and disillusionment they were experiencing in their former role. Wouldn’t you feel the same if you took a new role, only to find out in a year that it was a terrible fit for you?

Your Metric for Executive Career Search Success: The Number of Job Offers You Turn Down

Today I want you to look at your own pattern of executive career search. Count up the number of interviews you’ve received. How many of those would you have taken if you had received job offers from 100% of those interviews?

Now think about your experiences critically. Do you truly believe that each of those roles was right for you? Why or why not? How many of those interviews or job offers would you have consciously chosen to reject? Perhaps you never thought about it that way, and this is exactly my point. You should be even more particular about choosing not to accept an interview than you should be about choosing to participate in an interview. If you know from the start that a company or role would never meet your needs, however you define them, then you probably shouldn’t waste your time or that of the interviewer.

What, then, does the number of offers for interviews or jobs that you reject tell you about your strategy? Why is this metric critical to your overall success? This number tells you that you are evaluating future roles on their own merits, not based on the simple fact that the prospective position is not your current one.

How to Save Time and Energy in Your Executive Career Change: Hard Work

How to Save Time and Energy in Your Executive Career Change: Hard Work

Allow me to take you through a common scenario. An executive is thinking about changing jobs, perhaps changing careers. He calls me up, believing the first thing he needs to do is acquire “a resume.” Of course, executive resume writing is what I do, so the conversation interests me. However, upon digging a bit deeper, I learned that the executive has so many questions about his or her career path that writing the resume now might actually delay the process. If you are reading this, you might also be thinking about having your executive resume professionally written. But will having your executive resume professionally written right now save you time and energy in your executive career change?

There Is No Easy Path to Growth

It has been said that there is no royal road to learning. In the same way, there is no royal road to executive job search success. Regardless of who you are, what your executive role is, and what your accomplishments have been over the last decade or more, job search is going to be hard. Few individual mechanisms on their own will guarantee that you save time in your job search. In fact, starting with a resume probably is not going to serve you.

The Best Way to Make Your Job Search Faster– Hard Work

Now, don’t get me wrong, I truly wish that the executive resume well-prepared, targeted, and replete with great accomplishments would solve all the job search questions that executives face. Usually, however, the question is much larger. The soul-searching that executives like yourself must go through to establish a direction that make sense, tap into a new network to identify the types of missions that are available, build the marketing program, and execute a successful job search– these all take time and a healthy dose of hard work. If you are looking for a quick fix, you are likely not to find one; if you talk to somebody who promises a quick fix, you might want to dig a little deeper both inside yourself and inside what you are being offered to determine if such a panacea is possible.

The Pareto Chart of Career Success Strategy

What does this type of hard work look like? What will get you the biggest bang for your strategic buck? Certainly, the resume is important, but it doesn’t usually make sense to create one until about midway through the process. Start by writing down what you believe to be the hardest part of creating a job search strategy. I would be willing to place money on a bet that you have chosen one of the following:Pareto Chart: Learn How to Choose a Time-Saving Path to Executive Career Change Success

  • Building a network
  • Figuring out what to say to your network
  • Identifying the right role for you
  • Describing the kind of company in which you want to work
  • For the most confused among you, figuring out the right industry for your new career path

As you can see, all of these questions need to be answered before you can embark on the resume writing process. Because a resume is a document with direction, you can be sure that if you don’t know where you are going, you absolutely will never get there–unless you have the right level of support and help.

As part of our executive career success strategy, we take a hard look at the most difficult aspects of the process, and we help you design a path to resolving the biggest questions first, Pareto chart-like style.

If you happen to believe that the hardest part of your executive career transition strategy is organizing your thoughts around what to do next, what to tackle first, or when you should engage an executive resume writer, don’t hesitate to call me. I am happy to help.