Reverse Engineer Your Career

I was at the Canadian Nuclear Association conference in Ottawa last week and some really interesting people came to our booth to talk to us.

The one that stuck out was a soon-to-be graduate of a nuclear engineering program.  Most of his classmates were heading down the typical path – applying to power generation and research companies.  His dreams, however, were different.  He wanted to do work on the policy side, not the application side.

All of his co-op terms and summer jobs had been political, not practical.  He was looking to us for some guidance.

His skill combination was very unusual and was going to make finding a job trickier.  He had already come to the realization that his resume was not going to rise to the top of pile in either world.

I was reminded of a story that Martin Buckland, founder of Elite Resumes, once told me.  He was working with a senior executive who wanted to make a life change.  He wanted to leave the city altogether and be able to live and work at his cottage.

He had discovered that the hospital near his cottage was looking for a CEO.  He came to Martin and asked if together, they could create a resume that would get him in the door for an interview.

They researched what the hospital was going through and identified the challenges and opportunities that the new CEO would have to face and then presented a resume that reflected his experience with those things.

He got an interview and subsequently, got the job.

Did I mention that he had no experience in healthcare?

Here is someone who also had a less-than-typical profile and yet, managed to get into the role he wanted.

The key is to decide where you want to spend your time working.  It does not have to be a specific organization. It can be a certain type or size or location or brand personality.

Once you know where you are going, lay out a map to get there. Do research.  What’s happening in the space?  Who do you know there?  How can your experience help them?  What problems can you solve for them based on your knowledge?

It takes patience and perseverance but it will be worth it in the end.

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