Be the Boss Over Cancer

Hi---I ran my own business for 10 years before I had a 2 year bout with cancer.  I know find it impossible to return to what I once did.  I guess a career change is what's required but at 51 that's a daunting prospect. As resumes typically only go back 10 years, that would mean my resume only consists of one job---with me as the boss.  How do I work with a one-entry resume with only me as the reference?


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  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Apr 29, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Eric, 

    I empathize with your trepidation about starting over. You don't mention what kind of business you have had or what you are thinking about doing however the reality is that people change careers all the time. The key to being successful is to be clear about what you want to do and then gear your resume toward that by highlighting your transferable skills. If you are not sure what those are, then I suggest taking some self-assessments many which you can find on-line or in career books. 

    You say that you are your only reference however no doubt you have had customers or clients as well as people you may have hired on occasion to help you in your business? Most people have success changing careers by networking with people to find job openings versus applying for jobs on job boards or going through recruiters. 

    If you can give me more information about what you are thinking of doing, please feel free to write back so I can give you more customized advice. 

    Thanks Eric! 

    Take care,


  • Eric Z.

    Eric Z. on Apr 30, 2014

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for your words.  Yes, people change careers all the time but as I have not worked for anyone else in 10 years it feels a bit daunting to me.  My business was as a hypnotherapist (yes, hypnosis).  I worked with people to help them achieve their goals and modify a behavior they wished to achieve whether it be overcoming a fear, stopping a negative behavior or achieving a positive one (ie losing weight or stopping smoking).  It was part coach, part motivator, part therapist.  I do have former clients who would speak on my behalf but that would not tell an employer anything about how I am as an employee.  These are things I think about because it is an employer's market right now --- they call the shots.  While networking has always been the way to go, I have not worked for the last two years as I stopped seeing clients when treatment go too rough.  I'm not sure what I can do now but I do want to get back to work.  The world is different now as I have far more restrictions than I once did.

  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Apr 30, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:


    I suggest that you just start connecting with people on LinkedIn from your past and begin building your network. By talking to lots of different people, you should get ideas about what your next career can be. Also, while your former clients cannot attest to your qualities as an employee, they can talk about your professional qualities on some level and you can identify a handful of competencies and think of stories about your achievements. You did start and run a successful business and no doubt had your hands in accounting, marketing, sales/business development, etc. in addition to delivering hypnosis services. 

    You may have some restrictions that you didn't have before however the world holds many more opportunities than it did when you started your career. I think it would behoove you to turn your motivational, therapeutic and coaching skills inward and believe that you will find a new career once you talk to enough people and start reentering the professional world. 

    Good luck! Take care, Julie

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