About the Book
Switchers is the first book written specifically for the career changer, to help them to realize their dream of landing in a new industry or function. The first step is recognizing that the usual rules and job search tools won’t work for a switcher. Resumes and job boards were designed with traditional applicants in mind. Career switchers have to go beyond the basics, using tactics tailor-made to ensure their candidacy stands out. Switchers reveals how to:
- Convince skeptical employers to take a chance on you as a career switcher
- Craft a resume that catches hiring managers’ attention within six seconds
- Uncover and spotlight transferable skills that companies covet
- Rebrand yourself—aligning your professional identity with your new aspirations
- Reach decision-makers by recruiting “ambassadors” from within your network
- Nail interviews by turning tough questions to your advantage
- Negotiate a competitive compensation package—even as a “newbie” to the fieldCareer changers face unique challenges that demand fresh approaches. Packed with psychological insights, practical exercises, and inspiring success stories, Switchers helps you leap over obstacles and into a whole new field. Want to pull off the most daring—and fulfilling—career move of your life? Read Switchers.
About the Author
Dr Dawn Marie Graham, PhD is one of the nation’s leading career coaches. She the Career Director for the MBA Program for Executives at The Wharton School, where she counsels business leaders on making strategic career choices. A licensed psychologist and former corporate recruiter, she hosts SiriusXM Radio’s popular weekly call-in show Dr. Dawn on Careers and is a regular contributor to Forbes.
American workers are no longer satisfied with a steady paycheck; they want to be inspired by their work, and, unfortunately, they’re falling short. In a survey conducted by Forbes, over 52% of Americans reported being “unhappy at work,” and only 30% reported feeling “engaged and inspired.”
Some surveys report the number of dissatisfied workers as high as 80%.
A scant 14% of the American workforce are currently employed in their ideal job. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed were actively engaged in career change efforts, and 89% would consider making an industry switch.
In her column “B-School Insider,” Leslie Moser asserted that “one of the major selling points of business school is the potential to change careers . . . And over 50% of incoming students at top tier business schools say that they are interested in career switching.”
The Graduate Management Admissions Council reported that in 2012, 64% of MBA program graduates were going back to school to make a career switch.
As the Career Director for The Wharton School’s MBA Program for Executives, Dawn has built a brand as the career coach for some of the world’s leading business minds, many of whom not only are career changers, but also are vying for some of the most competitive jobs. She also hosts the weekly show Career Talk on Sirius XM radio, where she noticed again and again callers asking questions about how to switch careers.
Author Q and A
Q: Tell us about the term “switchers.” Where did it come from?
A: “Switching” careers is becoming a trend. I see it regularly in my position at Wharton and on my radio show through caller questions. Many people feel stuck and unsatisfied in their jobs, but switching professions mid-career seems so daunting and impossible. It also feels lonely. By giving this trend a name, I hope to build a community and normalize the act to make it easier for someone to embark on a new career path.
Q: How did your experience as a recruiter and psychologist inform the contents of this book?
I wrote Switchers to help readers understand the psychological principles that underlie one’s own journey and also how hiring managers and recruiters think. Knowing what is happening on the other side of the desk gives someone confidence and an advantage. Readers will learn not just the questions hirers are asking about them, but the subconscious connections and assumptions that hirers don’t even realize they’re making. Job seekers will be able to leverage that information to their advantage by giving hirers what they don’t even know they’re looking for.
Q: How can someone tell if they’re ready to make the switch?
A: As Switchers, we need to get real with ourselves first. We must acknowledge that many parts of our current careers that we like— such as salary, title, or status—will change. The good news is we don’t have to relinquish everything, and some changes may only be temporary. Ask yourself, “What are my true non-negotiables?” Non-negotiables are requirements you are 100 percent certain you cannot forego, no matter what. These are different from ideals or wants. All of us are shooting for the ideal job, and we all have a list of wants a mile long. But many of us haven’t thought hard about what we must have in our new careers to be happy. In my book, I cover the 4 different types of switches and their difficulty level, and there is also an assessment that helps switchers to understand their tolerance for a career change right now.
Q: You write that the human brain can be one’s biggest enemy when trying to make a switch. How so?
A. The human brain is amazingly advanced in many ways, but it’s also incredibly outdated in other ways. Many of the functions that were designed to protect the survival of our species in the caveman days, for better or worse, still influence our behavior today. For example, the human mind has functions that allow us to engage in daily habits without much thought. While the brain’s propensity toward habit makes us incredibly efficient, it also hinders our ability to change. In addition to resisting change, the human brain has a bias toward negativity. Humans once survived through an ability to continuously scan for danger in the environment and quickly detect threats. These tendencies undermine our sense of security, creating an anxious mindset that gets in the way of change. In the book, I explain how these psychological tendencies may be influencing someone’s decision about a career switch and share 5 ways that switchers can combat these hurdles.
Q: What’s the most important thing a job switcher should do?
A: Network! Job seekers hear this advice a lot, but for switchers, it’s absolutely essential. That’s because they need to break into the “in-group” at an organization and then convince the hirer to pass up traditional candidates and roll the dice on them. But many people “hate” networking because it’s perceived as schmoozing when in fact it’s really about leveraging your existing relationships in a way that is mutually beneficial. We do it every day, although not likely with respect to a job search, so everyone has the skills to be effective, it’s just about building a strategy around it, including a conscious effort to build “ambassadors.” Once you do that, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that come your way.
Switchers includes practical strategies on how to overcome common networking hurdles, including how to “micro-network” for those who feel time is a major constraint. The less someone interrupts other areas of their life when making a change, the more likely a new habit will stick. So as someone begins a job search, incorporating networking into already scheduled activities like time at the gym, weekly religious services, or their child’s soccer games means there’s a greater chance they’ll do it.
Part I: Choose Your Switch
1 Are You a Switcher? The “Magic” Equation for Seizing Career Success
2 The Psychology of the Job Search (and How to Use It to Your Advantage!)
Part II: Clarify Your Plan A
3 If You Don’t Invest, Why Should They? Figure Out Your Plan A
4 Change Isn’t Linear: Mapping Your Path to a Career Switch
Part III: Craft Your Brand Value Proposition
5 (Re)Brand or Be Branded: Crafting Your Professional Identity
6 Your Career Story: Where Reason Meets Intuition
7 What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: The Proactive Job Search
Part IV: Create Ambassadors
8 No Excuses: Your Network Really Is Your Net Worth
9 The New Way to Network: Create Ambassadors
Part V: Keep the Ball in Your Court
10 How to Never Have a Bad Interview: What Are They Really Asking?
11 It’s Not Fair (It Really Isn’t!)
12 Always Sleep on It: Get Ready to Negotiate!
13 Never Look for a Job Again (You Can Get Recruited!)
Appendix: How to Choose a Career Coach
Paperback: 288 pages, $24.95 hardback; $29.95 audio
Publisher: AMACOM (part of Harper Collins) (June 26, 2018)
If you would like to inquire about Dr. Dawn Graham’s availability for media appearances, speaking engagements or interviews, please reach out.