top of page

Breaking Career Institutionalization - preparing for the next job after a long tenure

If you have worked for a company for a decade or more and are exploring roles inside or outside the company, this post could help. I worked in Liberty Mutual for 15 years - had a long successful career, made great friends, and co-created success on critical projects. After 12 years of waiting for my green card and personal motivation for a change, I started looking for opportunities, internal and external.

I learned a lot during the process.

Identify your needs by priority:

It's easy to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of our personal goals and priorities. Identifying what you want is important because it helps you to clarify their values, preferences, and aspirations and to develop a clear plan for achieving their desired outcomes.

So make a list and rank them by priority:

  1. Health/Lifestyle/Employment Status priorities

    1. I want to _____

    2. Then, I want to _____

  2. Work priorities

    1. I want to be in _____ role

    2. I want to work in _____, _____ or_____

  3. Financial Priorities

    1. I want to earn _____ more than _____

Interestingly, I used to think short-term and long-term goals are a continuum. Short-term is incremental in small order (1+ to 2X), whereas long-term goals could be of higher orders (10X or, if you are lucky, 100X).

Now I have a distinct set, and I try to allocate time and effort toward long-term goals daily.

Finish your Resume:

Updating your resume is an iterative process. And you may need to customize it before you apply for a specific position.

  1. Gather information: Collect relevant work experience, education, skills, and accomplishments to include on your resume.

  2. Information: Decide on a format that best showcases your strengths and experience. Some standard options include chronological with recent first, functional, and combination resumes.

  3. Header: Include your name, email & phone, and relevant certifications or licenses at the top of the resume.

  4. Summary: This should be a short summary of your skills and experience and highlight the value you can bring to a potential employer. You may need to customize it to highlight specific values for a given role.

  5. List Work experience: Start with your most recent job and work backward. Include the company's name, job title, and a brief overview of your key responsibilities and achievements.

  6. List Education: Include any degrees or certifications you have obtained, along with the name of the institution and the field of study.

  7. Include any relevant skills: These could include technical skills, language skills, or other relevant abilities. This could be a tag cloud or a matrix.

  8. Review and edit: Carefully proofread your resume to ensure that it is error-free and easy to read. Consider asking a friend or colleague to review it as well. Alternatively, you can request a professional review. LinkedIn has professionals available for hire.

I prepared a master resume and trimmed it as needed. I also had it in an uploadable word document format and plain text format to copy and paste into Application forms.

Another important thing you need is to keep your public information up to date on social sites like LinkedIn.

Leverage your Network:

Throughout your career, you learn the skills to do the job. But you also earned the trust of your colleagues, many of whom would be ready to work with you in a heartbeat.

All your years of kindness, ability to work together as a team, and putting people first will work for you. So reach out to your colleagues and network - ask for references or positions that they know are available. I discovered the chances of getting an interview and the speed of interviewing process greatly improved when going through a referral.

Needless to say, my fantastic colleagues in my network have helped me achieve the best outcome.

Preparing for the Interview:

This needs some serious thinking. As an experienced person, you may already have the necessary job skills. But answering what the interviewer wants to hear from your personal work experience needs preparation. This, again, is an iterative process.

The good news is you can prepare a write-up that you can use effectively in your interview. Here is how:

  1. There are many preparation methods, but I have found Amazon's STAR method to be the most effective.


Describe the situation you were in or the task you needed to accomplish.


What goal were you working towards?


Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on you.


Describe the outcome of your actions, and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior.

2. You can use the STAR method to highlight a behavioral principle. Again, Amazon's Leadership principles come in handy. I created a table with all leadership principles, started writing stories from my work experience, and aligned them to the leadership principles. My recommendation is to have 10 to 15 STAR stories.

Tip: Copy the spreadsheet in CSV into your workbook and start writing your own STAR stories!
Download CSV • 2KB

Once you have a stellar resume and documented STAR stories, practice well. Use your network and get referred to positions that align with your priorities. Shine in that interview!!

Good Luck!


bottom of page