Are You at a Career Crossroads?

Are you at yet another crossroads in your life and career? Looking to the left, looking to the right and unable to move forward. 

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?” 
                     ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

We meet many women in the Vermilion Talent community that face an extra layer of complexity in their journey back to work due to major life changes such as divorce/separation, relocation, or even recent downsizing. Each of these can strip you of the confidence you once enjoyed making any career decision impossible.

We get it. This is an unsettling feeling and you desperately want to "re-establish" yourself.. Where do most people start? They will start applying for jobs online. And what awaits them is the “black hole” of unacknowledged applications.

Resist this temptation. We recommend you step back and get your house in order. We have travelled this road with many Vermilion members and would like to share some tips to move forward with confidence:

  1. Stabilize your home system. Imagine what will change when you start working. What needs to change in your daily routine? What support is required for you to feel confident and secure to leave the house and enjoy your work day. Think about child care, after-school activities, pet-care, etc. and how to create a support system to accommodate your new needs. This allows you to have a realistic view of a minimum salary and other filters such as commute time, and company culture that fit into this new chapter of your life. Develop a game plan so that you can enter this next phase of your career with confidence.

  2. Prioritize self-care.  Take time out for yourself whether its joining the newcomers club in your new town, scheduling a daily walk, or coffee with a friend. Give yourself some room to settle in to your new life change. The energy you create here will flow into other parts of your life. 

  3. Don’t think in terms of a “job”, define your skill set first. Identify what transferable skills you gained during your break, for example through volunteering, and what skills you still master from your previous career. Maybe the combination of the two will reveal new insights on what type of roles to pursue. If this is difficult, work with a coach to guide you through this process.

  4. Update your resume & LinkedIn profile.  Now that you have clarity on your target role(s), take stock of your resume. Is it current and modern? If it isn’t take a stab at updating it and add any relevant experiences and transferrable skills you gained. Make sure it has a profile on top that summarizes who you are and what values / skillset you bring to the table. Language should be crisp, clear and relevant. Same goes for LinkedIn, use your resume as a starting point to create/update a LinkedIn profile and make sure your personal brand comes through loud and clear!

  5. Create your renewed, current, confident me. Update your wardrobe as norms may have changed. Many companies (depending on the industry of course) have adopted more casual work environments. You want to  feel confident in your clothes and reflect your personal style. This will reflect how you feel and come across at networking events or in a job interview. Also, create a simple business card. If you are feeling inspired, add a simple logo or color reflecting your  personal brand. Ask your friends how they would describe you to get some inspiration. 

  6. Show up and work it with confidence. It’s time to shut down your laptop, practice your elevator pitch, grab your business cards and get out of the house. Attend educational and networking events to connect with other job seekers and potential employers. Sites like, EventBrite and the event calendar of relevant industry / trade / local organizations are all useful to find places to network. Acknowledge the fact that stepping into a room with people you don’t know can be scary.  Reframe this in your mind. Networking is just connecting, which we as women are great at!

  7. Don’t wait for the perfect job. Getting started is key, in all perspectives: confidence, income, daily routine, networking, and re-building your professional confidence.  You are taking a step forward and refining your skills set and getting your foot in the door at a company or industry you want to explore. You will expand your network and subsequent opportunities will follow.  So that first job after your break may not be at the (income or role) level you’re aiming for, or not at your target company, but getting started is much more important.  

  8. Communicate with confidence.  Keep your chin up and let your network know that you are serious about getting back to work. As you start networking and doing your "elevator pitch", don’t apologize for the situation you are in. Instead, focus on your skills and communicate how you are the right candidate for the role.  Hiring managers tell us that they are not interested in the nitty-gritty of why you are re-entering the workforce. No need to overshare; keep private details private. Acknowledge your career break and move on.  

Remind yourself of the inherent skills you bring to the table that have been honed over the years such as communication, professionalism, maturity, and emotional intelligence. This is an asset. Our partner companies tell us they greatly value talent and functional skills, but place a premium on candidates with a portfolio of “soft-skills.” 

Finally, keep in mind that while it's important to keep your career goal in mind, it's the journey that defines you. Rediscovering your professional footing can be isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. We invite you to join the Vermilion Talent community and access a guided approach to career re-entry. It is an art and we work with our members to navigate each stage of this process. 

To Your Success,
Anju & Anne-Barbara

P.S.  Are you a Vermilion Member yet? Join today and schedule your 1:1 session with a member of our team. Contact us with any questions!