I met a...

Like Al Franken, you are not your title.

Since Al Franken was declared winner of the Senate race in Minnesota the chatter about whether he’ll be successful in his new career hasn’t stopped. Can a former comedian, author and political pundit do the job? Will he be taken seriously? One of the biggest obstacles any career changer faces is the propensity for everyone to classify you by your former title. People do that because it’s easier for them to understand who you are (or were) when they can classify you. “You’re a programmer and you want to be a chef?” My clients hear that type of thing all the time. So if you’re trying to make a career change, expect that, but be ready to help folks see you differently. You’re not your title. You never were. You’re a body of transferable skills, talents, knowledge, interests and desire to make a difference in a new field. That’s how you talk about yourself. You may have been a comedian, an accountant or a farmer. That’s nice, but, depending on what you want to do next, may not be helpful when it comes to helping others see how you can indeed work in another field. Franken’s ability to think on his feet and skillfully communicate and his depth of knowledge and passion about issues is part of what will help him in his new career. What are your greatest skills? What do you care about deeply that will make you great at this new career you’re seeking? That’s what you need to know and tell people without batting an eye.

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