How to Reinvent Yourself and Build Your Network for a Career Transition with John Tarnoff

Making a career transition in most cases comes down to a dramatic necessity. And – let’s be honest, 2020 is a real bad guy who makes things much worse in the labor market. Finding yourself in a challenging situation is, however, an opportunity for a career reinvention. How to reinvent yourself? Let’s find out together with John Tarnoff, best-selling author who was a special guest of our Job Bites podcast!

Inviting John Tarnoff, a world-class career coach, speaker, and university lecturer who garnered a legion of over 83K followers on Twitter, to our podcast was a natural move. Why? Because guiding people to find their way from one career situation to another, is the core of his business.

Moreover, John is the advocate of reinvention as a solution whether you feel stuck with your career or are in the middle of a drama of being left out.

So, what is reinvention? That was one of the first questions asked during this episode.

What is reinvention? 

It would be super hard to find anyone more entitled to explain a reinventing career. Our guest embraces the fact of having 18 different kinds of jobs during his professional life!

So, let’s give it to John:

“Reinvention is the ability to pivot courageously from one job to another, from one career focus to another. And to do so successfully.”

Reinventing willingly or under pressure?

It’s worth highlighting that the reasons standing behind people’s career reinvention can fall into two categories: those put to action through an assessment of a happiness level, OR – those more dramatic, which come down to a loss.

And, unfortunately, the pandemic is a catalyst of those dramas, regarded both – professionally and personally. According to the New York Times, March and April “slashed 22 million positions” (and we’re talking about the US alone). 

As John Tarnoff pointed out in our podcast episode:

"For the most part, dramatic reinventions are definitely through necessity. You get fired from a job, something happens that's quite dramatic in your life, and you have to pull yourself together. It is daunting. Most people want to avoid that. But now, we're in a really a tumultuous period where everything that we knew is changed, and the acceleration of processes that were already in play before the pandemic is now much, much more rapid."

How to reinvent yourself in those difficult times?

This year’s tough, and there’s no doubt about it. However, the point is that we all need to be prepared for any (possibly stronger) seismic activities in the job market and economics in general.

How to achieve that? Our guest star is crystal clear: 

Build and maintain relationships

"One of the things I think is the most important, particularly for younger and early mid-career workers to understand, is that the career process is not about endlessly applying to jobs, sending your resume out."

On top of that, you also need to realize that as much as 75% of resumes land in the trash long before reaching the hiring manager.

OK, so since sending away CVs is a bad habit, what's the other option?

"The strategy is about relationships. You have to focus on your network as the number one resource to build your career." – John convinces.

To prove his point, he recalls his own experience and career path:

"When I was in transition from one job to the other, I was always using my network. I was always calling people up, taking people out for coffee or lunch, what's going on, who's going to be needing someone who got fired. Who's going to replace them. It's all about the career community that you work in. And I think what's happened now is that the rest of the global economy, because of the changes, has become a lot more like entertainment. Used to be and still is where it relies on your connections."

The dos and don’ts of networking

While building relationships and making the most of the networking is a good hint for a career transition tactic plan, be careful not to fall into the trap of calling your old contacts only when you urgently need help.

As Jean, who's hosting the Job Bites podcast, points out:

"You call up someone after three, four years. It's like:

-           Hey man, how's it going?

-           Yeah. Great, great, great. And I need a job right now, so, can you help me out?

-           Well, where the hell were you for the last three, four years?"

This approach is a definite "no go." What can you do instead? Your strategy should be about contributing to your contacts, giving them useful tips or resources, or perhaps – recommending them to someone you know who's valuable and trustworthy.

How to overcome being fired?

Losing a job is never easy and can be traumatic. How to come out of it victoriously? In his own example, John Tarnoff learned how to embrace both – ups and downs in his career. Instead of sweeping those failures under the carpet, he has been speaking about it openly. And it brought him credibility and authenticity.

"I think it's worked for me, but I think it works for everyone. I think it has to be this way because this is a kind of a psychological principle that I hold, which is that in order to create your future, you have to reconcile your past. And that if you are holding onto something negative, that happened to you, whether you got fired from a job or you blew a deal, or you, you kind of blew a relationship with someone, you're going to be carrying that negative energy into every single interaction and every single job interview that you're on, and the effect is going to be that they're not going to like you."

To avoid that situation, when people from the company you're trying to get on board are eventually rejecting you because you weren't truthful about losing your previous job, you need to do the exact opposite – be fully transparent about your past.

"Next to every mistake that you've made is a lesson that you've learned. If you've learned the lesson, because you're not going to make that mistake again, that's a valuable consideration for someone bringing someone into a company. If they hire someone who hasn't made any mistakes, that's kind of bigger risk." – John explains.


Want to get more proven and mind-changing pieces of advice from our expert?

[Listen to the entire episode] of the Job Bites podcast now and learn how to reinvent yourself and implement your career strategy.

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