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What’s My Second Act? A Simple Formula for Figuring Out Your Next Career Move

In my work as a career coach, I frequently support the needs of professionals who are facing a “crisis of competence.”

Competent people rarely lack for work.

But what they often DO lack is a sense of fulfillment.

Because here’s the truth: the chasm between “just another role” and a role which actively supports your “second act” and brings greater fulfillment in the process can be wide indeed!

I want to show you a practical method for identifying these roles:

STEP 1: Identify your Marquee Skills

You may be able to do 50 different things at work, but most of us are truly EXCELLENT in only a handful. The first step is to separate these marquee skills from the rest.

-Keep a running log of your accomplishments at work, updated at least every 30 days. If it’s been a while since you’ve done this, now is the time to pull up performance reviews and other information to “fill in the blanks” for the past couple of months.

-Next, separate the accomplishments which inspired and excited you from all of the rest. For example, if you recently had a chance to take on some Human Resources management activities at work, and did enough to realize you NEVER want to do it again, remove these from the equation!

-Now, take a look at your “marquee accomplishments” and ask yourself: what are the skills I used to make them happen? You might end up with a list of skills that looks something like this:

  • New Business Development
  • Sales Enablement
  • Staff Training
  • Process Improvement
  • Product Marketing
  • Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

Congratulations! You’ve just identified your marquee skills.


Also read: Why Interning in My Mid-40s Was An Invaluable Career Move


STEP 2: Use Marquee Skills to Brainstorm Potential Roles

Next, hop on over to LinkedIn and bring up the advanced search function (this can be accessed by clicking on the search bar at the top of the page, clicking on “Search for People” and then clicking on “All Filters”). You will now have the ability to tap into LinkedIn’s enormous database of professionals.

-Make sure that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd+ are all checked within the “Connections” filter. We want to cast a broad net here.

-Next, use the “Locations” and “Industries” filters to further narrow down your search criteria. Put in any locations and industries you’re interested in here.

-Hit the blue “Apply” button and LinkedIn will run a search. Now here comes the ninja move:

-Once LinkedIn gives you the search results, GO BACK to the search bar at the top of the page and start inserting your marquee skills (ex. Sales Enablement). The more marquee skills you put in, the more focused your results will be. Expert tip: add quotation marks next to a skill (“Sales Enablement”) and you will FORCE Linkedin to only pull up profiles which contain this skill.


Also read: 3 Career Moves You Can Make at Age 50 that Would Have Been Unthinkable A Generation Ago


STEP 3: Develop your “Competitor Shortlist” and Take it Offline

 Now that you have the results of your marquee skills-based search, you will be able to easily craft a shortlist of interesting roles…many of which you probably haven’t even thought of pursuing! Going this route in figuring out your second act is INFINITELY stronger than checking out job postings, which are notoriously unreliable.

-Save the LinkedIn URLS of the most interesting people you come across. Why not send these people a customized connection request through LinkedIn and initiate dialogue? Turning these high-value results into offline relationships is one of the most powerful actions you can take to make sure your second act is a legendary one.

About the Author

Anish Majumdar is a nationally recognized Career Coach, Personal Branding Expert, and a fierce advocate for transitioning leaders. His posts and videos on disrupting the "normal rules" of job searching and getting ahead reach a combined audience of 30M professionals every month. Go down the rabbit hole of Anish’s career videos at HelloAnish.com, and connect with him on LinkedIn to receive daily career tips and advice.