Be the Boss Over Cancer

Hello - I hope you can provide some advice or inspiration to help me get back on a productive job search.  I have over 20 years experience in sales of technology - computer products - it services to large corporations.  As a result of a corporate restructure I was laid off in March 2009, April 2010 was diagnosed with breast cancer and completed treatment November 2010, I remain visually able but suffer lymphedema in left arm.  Unfortunately I have been unable to secure a sales position in my field ( IT Business Services ) I believe is this is possibly due to to be my age 50, and/or that I was interviewing during my treatment.  Interviewing during treatment "got me thru cancer" but in hindsight  hurt my employment prospects.  I have a BS in marketing and am considering a new career in the medical field.  With limited sciences education but a wealth of marketing and awesome people skills in client relationships can you suggest any new areas to explore.  I have been lucky to have received medical treatment and am living off my retirement funds there has to be something I can suceed at and become a productive person in society again.


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  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Jun 14, 2011

    Career Coach Comment:


    Congratulations at arriving at your post-treatment phase.

    You probably find that you can now put more enthusiasm and energy into a search at this time.
    It’s time to look forward. Yes, both the economy and age can have an impact. However, as a Career Coach working with Outplacement firms in recent years, I have had clients who have landed fairly quickly.

    The first step is to be fully prepared. You must have a GREAT resume. The Summary at the top of your resume is critical to define who you are and what you can do. Did you know that summary can then become your introductory statement, your 30 second message with just a little tweaking?

    Be sure that your resume reflects Accomplishments rather than duties. You need to demonstrate what you can do for the next employer. Also take the time to prepare a couple of good cover letters to fit a couple of circumstances. I encourage you to utilize the services of a Career Counselor who has been trained by an outplacement firm. Network until you find someone. Ask HR professionals for contacts.If you have to pay that person, it will be a good investment to help you prepare for a successful search. If you have a colleague or friend who has gone through an Outplacement program, borrow their book and work through the program and learn about the process.

    Focus on the industries that are growing: Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Alternative Energy. Consider also working for a Consulting firm. Make a list of 12 companies that you are going to target and do your homework to learn about those companies, their challenges, their direction, new products, etc…Over 90% of people, particularly today, land their jobs by networking.

    Use the social network to make contacts, build visibility and locate job leads. LinkedIn is a must in today’s job search market. Attend local networking groups; they are often lead by an experienced career counselor who can provide you with great ideas to guide your search.

    And don’t forget to check out some of the material and resources on our website; these have been prepared by experienced coaches.

    Good Luck. Go find the right job for you at this stage of your career.


  • Judi Swedek

    Judi Swedek on Jun 15, 2011

    Career Coach Comment:

    Dear Linda:

    You have come a great distance in your recovery and congratulations at reaching this phase.

    You are asking all the right questions and thinking outside the box in terms of related careers in fields where you can use your transferable. I will agree with Margot that the key to your search is a good resume. In your case, make certain that you highlight your marketing skills and accomplishments that will be transferable into a new industry, like healthcare or other. You obviously are very accomplished, so take this opportunity to highlight accomplishments that will be understood outside of the IT undustry, e.g. increased sales, customers, new product roll outs, etc.

    In addition, network, network, network! Find every and any opportunity to connect with others whether it be a formal networking opportunity or informal. I have known people who have uncovered connections while in line for a Starbucks coffee. Volunteer work is also a great place to connect with others, we feel good about what we are doing and our energy and abilities are effortlessly translated to others we encounter.

    Remember while networking, you are not asking for a job. You are asking for information. That could be information about industries, companies, people...when you ask for information and help, you'll be amazed at how people will reach out to you. If you know someone in the medical marketing field, ask to meet with them to find out what they do and how you can potentially segue into that field. Then ask for others you can talk to. And always follow-up.

    Much success to you as you enter this next chapter of your life and career...check out the resources available here for help and let us know how things go. Step by step you will get to where you need to be.


  • Linda P.

    Linda P. on Jun 15, 2011

    Margot and Judi,

    Thank you very much.  This is just what I needed to hear.  Once again, after many resume updates, it's time to look at this document with a fresh eye and focus on the accomplishments and transferable skills.  I will also check out my LinkedIn account that has very sparse info and consider updating.  Many colleagues say LinkedIn is great but I have been hesitant to place info to the world.  I have found a treasury of contacts on facebook which I can with comfort investigate what these 30+(er's) (that I managed 10 years ago) are now doing. 

    I know I am very fortunate and grateful to have many resources and contacts to tap into. Silly me-  sometimes I get lost in the forest of embarrassement about my circumstances and turn into the deer frozen by the headlights.  The key for me to use my network and find information about industries, opportunities and once I get that interview then ask for the job.

    Facing Cancer and getting cutting edge treatment without any medical insurance can turn you upside down if you allow it.  I am still here and it's my time to act.  Thank you for helping me "get it started"


  • Loraine S.

    Loraine S. on Jun 24, 2011

    Hi Linda P,

    I believe you and the experience you have been through are valuable as you can tell your story to others truthfully. I am in sales and I tell the stories of what people go through every day as they face this illness. I enjoy my work and I am compensated generously. Having a sales background is a plus but it is not necessary. I do not know which part of the country you live in but I can tell you we are nationwide. You can visit our website or contact me by email  I would be glad to refer you to a coordinator in your area for an interview.  Best wishes as you go through this journey to your next destination. 

    Sincere regards, Loraine

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