Cleveland author advises seniors to learn to navigate change
By Ed Runyan
A Cleveland author and human-resources consultant told high-school seniors that one of the best ways to be a desirable job prospect is to think like a company owner, which means being able to navigate change skillfully.
“Change can warm you or it can burn you,” Sunny Lurie told students at Trumbull Career and Technical Center on Wednesday. “Resistance can be harmful to your career, whereas resilience can be very beneficial.
“When you’re going out and interviewing for jobs, talk about how you are resilient, how you are flexible,” she said. “You are a valuable employee because the best assets are adaptability and flexibility ... because it’s likely you will be in a work environment that is messy and rapidly changing.”
Lurie said companies appreciate a worker who anticipates change.
“Business owners don’t have the luxury of waiting. They must initiate or their customers will abandon them,” she said. “You must initiate ways to learn and grow continuously in your career, or you won’t move forward.”
Lurie observed that many of the students at the career center indicated that they knew what kind of job awaits them, but many people are not so sure.
Career assessments can give a person “clues” to their best choice, but they are just a starting point.
“The key is to learn more deeply about yourself, your true interests, your strengths. Who are you? What excites you? What kinds of work are you drawn to? Determine if you prefer to work with people or ideas or data or things.”
She said talking with someone about these issues can help bring clarity because another person can “provide you with a new perspective. It’s important to find a partner and set up a support team around you.”
That goes for deciding on a career before starting work or when making a change. “Don’t isolate during a career move,” she said.
Getting an interview or being taken seriously by most employers requires marketing yourself with “leading-edge marketing tools and social-media savvy,” such as having a digital profile on the Internet, “where hiring managers can look you up.” Without that, “hiring managers may not take you as a serious candidate.”
The social-media site LinkedIn is a “networking gold mine,” she said, adding that Twitter also is worthwhile, though unflattering information on these sites have doomed many job candidates.
An important part of a job interview is a story, she said. “Be sure to bring a story to your interview about you, about a skill you have. It gives you credibility that yes, you’ve been there; yes, you can do the job,” she said.
She advises waiting for the employer to talk about salary before the candidate.
“Wait for the employer to give you a starting number first so you don’t undercut your worth. You never want to talk about money right away. Wait for the offer.”
For someone working now, it pays to start planning for another job “before a collision occurs,” such as a merger, acquisition or termination. “When a collision happens, you may be forced to take a position you don’t want,” she said. “Make the decision yourself.”
“If you’re employed and something’s not right, start working on a plan while you’re still working, if you can. The clearer you are about your career choices, the more likely you are to be able to obtain what you want.”
Lurie’s book is called “Jolt Your Career from Here To There.”