Finding Your Path: Career Insights from Julia Toothacre


  • reflective career exploration: Start by evaluating past roles and experiences to identify what you liked most and least about what you eliminated, using this insight to guide your career choices and less-than-ideal options.
  • Communicate unique advantages: Identify 3-5 core skills that make you stand out and showcase these skills in your job application, resume, and cover letter to highlight the impact and value you bring.
  • Goal Setting in Uncertain Career Paths: Participate in research about industries, roles and companies to gain clarity. Network widely and set small, achievable goals for continued progress and self-discovery.
  • Identify and get rid of wrong paths: Consider signs of disengagement or persistent poor performance as indicators that you are on the wrong path. Tailor career options to your strengths and possibly pursue further education if provided with clear direction.
  • Leverage transferable skills: Understand and articulate your transferable skills, both general (such as communication) and skills specific to your functional area, to facilitate career transitions and provide opportunities in new industries.
  • Develop leadership beyond current role: Strengthen leadership skills through empathy and positive feedback engagement. Seek leadership opportunities in professional associations, non-profit organizations, and community groups to gain experience and demonstrate potential.

How to determine your ideal career path

How do you find the right career path and develop the skills to thrive in it?In this comprehensive Q&A with Julia Toothacre, a respected career coach and founder Riding the wind and waves collective, providing expert guidance on career direction and transition. She provides actionable strategies for job seekers unsure of their career path, emphasizing the importance of self-reflection and identifying core strengths. Julia also addresses the challenges of career change, revealing how to leverage her leadership skills development, highlighting the role of empathy and feedback in shaping an effective leadership style. Whether you are looking to advance your career, strengthen your leadership skills, or simply want to change your career and improve your leadership skills, Julia’s insights provide a roadmap for career growth and success as you find your footing in a new industry.

“For those who are unsure of their career path, the first step I recommend is to reflect on where you have been. What positions, organizations, and skills do you enjoy most? What do you enjoy least? The ability to say no to choices is related to It’s just as valuable to find the path.”

“To start, I recommend that professionals have about 3-5 core skills and attributes that make them unique. From there, these skills and attributes need to be articulated through intent and results to show the impact they will bring to the organization .This should be spelled out in your resume, cover letter, or any other document where you have an opportunity to showcase your talents.”

“It depends on where you are in your career, but in most cases I recommend making research your first goal. Start looking for open positions, industries, and companies that interest you. Network with as many people as possible and Have a conversation to find out if you’re interested in their path. Most importantly, don’t overdo it. Set small, manageable goals for easy success. Reflect on what you’ve learned each week about yourself and what interests you through research. “

“You know you’re on the wrong career path when you’re disengaged from your job and not connected to management or culture. In some cases, you just underperform in your career. You don’t get promoted, and your feedback is negative, or you have been fired multiple times for poor performance. In order to transition effectively, you need to analyze your strengths. Spend some time researching and considering new paths that better align with your strengths. In some cases, acceptance is required Additional education may be a good path, but only if it provides a clear way forward.”

How to cope with career changes

“There are different types of transferable skills. There are core transferable skills that apply everywhere; think of communication. Then you have skills that are transferable within a function or industry. If you have strong functional area skills , they are likely to be easily transferable “There are indeed nuances between industries, but the core skills in a functional area are harder to come by than understanding the details of the industry. Functions will be HR, people management, finance, marketing, legal, operations, etc. path.”

“A common misconception about career changes is that once you reach a certain stage in your career, it is impossible to make the transition. The reality is that you can make the transition at any time. The length of time required and the opportunities available may vary It’s different, but it’s possible.”

“Transferable skills and experience combined with recognition from influencers will help you get noticed for roles you’ve never had before.”

“Use your current network to help you connect to a new one. Six degrees of separation is real if you’re willing to do some research and openly share what you need.”

How to develop leadership skills

“Empathy. A lot of people roll their eyes when you start talking about empathy, but it’s a skill that makes you a great leader that people want to work for.”

What role does giving back play in developing leadership style? How should feedback be sought and applied?

“If you don’t seek feedback at all levels about your perceived leadership style, you’ll never grow. Great leaders learn from others and take feedback seriously—whether it’s positive or negative. They check in with themselves biases and shortcomings and be honest with the team.”

How can aspiring leaders demonstrate leadership potential in their current non-leadership roles?

“Listening and coming up with strategic solutions to big problems is a great way to get noticed. But make sure you share those ideas in a group setting so you can get the credit.”

Can you suggest ways for individuals to gain leadership experience outside of their current job?

“There are many ways to gain leadership experience outside of your current job. Consider taking on leadership roles in professional associations, nonprofits, alumni associations, community groups, etc. All of this experience can be added to your resume and LinkedIn to showcase These leadership skills. ”

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