Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Interview with Anna Runyan: Classy Career Girl

We are very excited to bring you today's interview with Career Coach, and Founder of, Anna Runyan.

We asked Anna for her ideas and tips on how to get 'Unstuck' if you are feeling unfulfilled and trapped within the wrong career, so read on to learn from and be inspired by Anna!

The Interview

Hello Anna we are so excited to have links to your excellent webinars on how to get your career unstuck on our website this month! 

From your experience what would be your words of encouragement to a woman who finds herself stuck in her current job, feeling unfulfilled and frustrated?

Anna Runyan:
The first step is learning how to understand you better so that you have a meaningful and truly fulfilling professional life.   That is the first thing you need to do.  You start with this and this is why most people jump into jobs they hate because they miss this very important step!  You need to assess your own unique personality, it will help you learn how you relate to other people, what kind of environments you are most comfortable in and how you manage, persuade and work with others. 

It took years for me to finally figure out that applying to jobs online didn’t work because I needed to understand myself better first.  And as soon as I did that, that dream job just starting popping up left and right.  Eventually, I didn’t even have to apply for jobs because those jobs would just come to me. It took me a long time to figure out but I realized the simple tool of learning more about myself through networking and self-assessment.  Knowing myself better has helped me nail interviews so much more than before when I was shy, introverted and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

Did you ever find yourself stuck in a job and if so what did you do about it?

Anna Runyan:
In the past I use to live a double life – working a day job I hated and then coming home and being a “job applicant” after work and on weekends. I know first hand how tough the job market is and how long it can take to find that next career opportunity.  I was totally stuck and didn’t know how to get out.  I didn’t even know or care what jobs I applied to, all I knew is that I needed to get out! I applied to 20 or so jobs and didn’t hear back from 1 until I started doing my job search differently and focusing on MYSELF first, rather than just applying to any old job on the internet and waiting for them to call me back.  I also know how scary networking is especially because I am an introvert.  I literally would get so scared with nervousness to go to networking events and then I would totally back out at the last minute and go home instead.  I didn’t know what to say to people and I wasn’t confident in myself and what I had to offer.

I then learned strategies on how to get more confident and how to give a great introduction and elevator pitch that now has people coming to me at networking events and I don’t even miss a beat!  I am still an introvert but going to events and talking to people in interviews is not scary anymore, I actually enjoy it now.  So I know what it is like to be stuck and know that you need a change but not know what to do about it. I knew I was meant to do greater things AND love my life more.  I mean this wasn’t where I imagined!  I even went back to school and got my MBA thinking that would change my job position after a few years.  Well, no new job magically appeared with the MBA title after my name.  Why? Because I put no effort into networking and job searching during business school because I was so dang busy!  It wasn’t until after I graduated that I finally put time into understanding myself and adding networking with people to my job search who helped me figure out what direction I wanted to go into and how to get there.  One thing I did learn is this, if you learn more about yourself and believe in yourself, there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle ahead. 

So after a few years of a lot of hard work understanding myself better and talking to people during my networking challenges where each month I would meet 4 people I didn’t know and 4 people I did know, I learned a lot, got focused, and got clear on the direction that I wanted to head.  I now love what I do everyday and get to do what I am passionate about AND work that fits my personality, my interests and my motivations.  So understanding yourself better and networking are the key.  That dream career is really out there for you if that’s what you are ready for.

Sometimes it is taking the first step that can be the hardest – what might be some of the practical first steps that our readers could take to make a positive change in their career, starting today?

Anna Runyan:
Informational Interviews: Informational interviews are basically when you ask a professional in the industry you want to go into 10-15 questions about your career before you get into it.

I can't tell you enough how important informational interviews are.  I did a lot of informational interviews when I was in college and I am so glad I did because it made me realize what careers I didn’t want. I did an informational interview with a lawyer and discovered that it was not the right career fit for me. So much better than spending time and dollars going to law school and then discovering I hated law!  It is so much better to learn if you like a profession before going into it.  Informational interviews can help you get your foot in the door of a future job.  The company may not have openings right now but if you make a good impression, they will think of you first when an opening becomes available. 

At Fresh Start Women’s Foundation we focus on job readiness, supporting women to develop key skills that will enable them to gain employment and make positive steps forward in their career – what would be your advice be to a Fresh Start women who is stuck in a job where she is underpaid, underappreciated, and unhappy?

Anna Runyan:
Just take action. Do something small everyday. Make sure you do something besides staying miserable in a role that you hate.  Life is too short to be miserable.
Don’t think that there is anything that you can’t do.  If you have a dream or big scary goal, just put a plan in place and start talking to the people that are already in that position you want to be in. It’s amazing how doors will start opening once you set your mind to do something and start telling people about it.

Thank you so much for your time today Anna – these tips and your insight will be invaluable to our readers!

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