Learning to be your own coach could be your first step in getting unstuck, especially if you are unemployed and your job search seems stalled. Self-coaching starts with looking at your strengths and exploring ways you can leverage them to achieve your goals, says Michele Martin, a senior associate with New Start Career Network (NSCN).

Martin will share self-coaching strategies in a presentation at the Princeton Public Library on Friday, April 27, from 9:45 a.m. to noon. For more information visit www.psgofmercercounty.org.

NSCN (newstartcareernetwork.org) provides a mix of free, virtual, and in-person resources geared for those 45 or older who have been looking for work for six months or more. Their services include job search techniques, resume-writing, mock interviews, training, information about job openings, and other topics. The group was launched in late 2015 by Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, with initial seed money from the Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation. NSCN is led by director Maria Heidkamp; and Rutgers professor and Heldrich Center director Carl Van Horn.

Self-coaching involves looking at your strengths and exploring ways you can use them in your job search, says Martin. The process involves identifying long and short-term goals and recognizing where you are on the path and what step you need to take next. Coaching helps develop clarity about the kind of work you want, where you want to work, and the companies that hire people with your background.

Because NSCN serves members from locations across the state, a strong aspect of Martin’s work involves creating and hosting webinars that can be accessed from anywhere. Some of her new and replay webinars include:

Introduction to Consultative Selling Techniques. Consultative selling is a communication process that helps you understand potential customer needs so you can tailor your services to meet their needs. Related to this topic, NSCN offers two follow-up webinars, one focusing on applying the techniques to job search, and one focusing on freelance work and long-term customer relationships.

Using the SCARF Model for Job Search and Workplace Success. SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) is a brain-based model that explores the concepts of social threats and triggers. Understanding and applying the model can bring greater awareness to situations and perceptions that affect behavior and interaction with others. This webinar is designed to help you use SCARF to improve your job search and prepare for interviews.

Roadmap to Navigating Bias in the Job Search. This webinar deals with bias against older and long-term unemployed individuals and offers ways to minimize these issues. One key for dealing with bias up front is to research and identify companies that are most likely to welcome your experience and wisdom.

Roadmap to Thriving in the Gig Economy. While a full-time, “permanent” job with benefits is the goal for many members, NSCN finds that gigs and contract work should be an important part of your overall strategy. They can bring in additional income while you continue your search, help you develop and build new relationships, demonstrate and grow your skills, and they can provide an answer to an interviewer’s question, “What have you been doing?” Use these webinars to create and implement an effective gig strategy.

“Permanent employment is the last thing on the list as far as many businesses are concerned, so they are looking at other employment arrangements,” Martin says.

Roadmap to Well-Being in Your Job Search. Job search and career transitions can be challenging. It can be difficult to maintain motivation and prioritize self-care when you are focused on survival. These webinars explore strategies and ideas for addressing the emotional and practical issues of job search and career transition. Topics cover the how-to of dealing with rejection, being your own coach, using the SCARF model, getting unstuck, staying motivated and finding meaning, and exploring new options.

Other webinars cover LinkedIn, self-assessment, effective resumes, relationship building, and more.

“A lot of people find they reach a point in their job search where nothing seems to be working. NSCN can help members navigate this transitional period, and although it may feel unsafe and uncertain to break out of that comfort zone, we can help members take the right kinds of actions,” says Martin.

Another area of Martin’s work involves connecting members with NSCN coaches and giving training and support to volunteer coaches. Through one-on-one support or group sessions, coaches can assist you in making the best use of NSCN’s resources and positioning yourself in your particular industry.

Coaches come to NSCN from several industries so they can offer different perspectives to job seekers, Martin says. The organization has more than 250 coaches from several New Jersey counties and a few from other states. Many of the volunteers are professional coaches or human resources professionals.

Members can receive coaching in person or online. A new offering NSCN is developing involves peer group coaching through video conferencing. Martin just completed a pilot program with about five people who participated in a master mind group.

Martin was born in California and lived in several states with her family as her father moved up the corporate ladder as a plant manager for Shell Oil. She earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, the state she calls home today.

Martin’s advice to job seekers is to think of yourself as a business of one. “You need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” she says. “Focus on what you bring to the table, where you can specialize and create a unique value. Ask yourself, ‘How can I create opportunities? How can I connect with people so I can test the ideas I have and the services I could offer?’ It’s an iterative process: You come up with an idea, express it to a coach or peer, and then refine that idea.”

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