How To Return After You Quit


Consider it act two for lawyer-turned-actor-politician-turned-actor-turned-presidential-candidate-turned-actor-again, Fred Thompson. The Law & Order judge and former Tennessee senator has signed with the high-powered Hollywood talent agency William Morris just two months after his withdrawal from the Republican presidential race. Just because he didn’t get the commander-in-chief gig, doesn’t mean he still can’t play one on TV. He’s already portrayed President Ulysses S. Grant in HBO’s (TWX) Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Fred Thompson did a great job throughout his career of making sure he was identified as both an actor and a politician,” says Marci Alboher author of One Person/Multiple Careers .“He has always moved between those dual identities. He kept doors open which had people easily able to think of him in multiple ways. If you move between careers its terrific if you can find a way for them to have a synergy and allow people to associate you with different things.”

Keep ties within the world of your old job. With Law & Order episode repeats playing, Thompson is still in actor in the minds of America and the publicity around his campaign made him more bankable as an actor. It ultimately scored him high profile Hollywood representation, explains Alboher. This was smart considering the reality of the job market and threat of a recession. “Having a back up or a ‘slash’ career makes a lot of financial sense,” says Alboher. “To go back to or add on an earlier career is something people will do in hard economic times or when transitioning to a new career.” Keeping that connection in your old career means you won’t have to answer any awkward questions about why you’re back on your old beat. “That could mean just showing up once a year to an annual conference,” says Alboher.

Take James Altucher, a columnist at MainStreet’s sister site, and founder of other sister site, Stockpickr (TSCM) His career began through using his computer science background in the entertainment industry where his company built websites for such companies as HBO (TWX) Miramax, and Bad Boy Entertainment (WMG). After selling, he became a day trader and traded for hedge funds. But, when he and his partner were approached to sell his hedge fund company, Altucher took a step back to reevaluate. “We folded back my Internet roots and our finance experiences together instead and formed,” says Altucher. “That’s how you rise to the top in both disciplines. The key is to integrate multiple disciplines. We took my Internet skills and combined every investment approach we ever used to create the ultimate social network for finance.”

If you have the chance to prepare a bit, make the change when you have some savings to dip into, says Hallie Crawford  a career coach and founder of Authentically Speaking in Atlanta, Ga. “Try to make the change when you already have a solid transition plan. The plan could include savings, or you could try freelance writing within your expertise,” says Crawford. Once of Crawford’s clients, a director of human resources was able to cut back her workload to part time hours with one day a week off so she could dabble in a freelance writing career. When things didn’t work out so well, she ultimately found another HR job that allowed her to write more. “She had to be flexible and see her dream job a little differently that she first imagined” says Crawford. You could also find a completely different part time job that just pays the bills but allows you the freedom to pursue the new job on the side.

If you are juggling several careers on your resume, try a functional resume over a chronological resume says Crawford. “Don’t worry about the chronological order, instead make your resume functional and organize it by categories and experiences,” says Crawford. “On my resume I’d list my experience coaching and running my own business first and then have another category that shows my administrative, managerial experience, and other stuff that isn’t coaching related.” Make sure to put the experience that is most related to your next job first and relook at what might be a transferrable skill to highlight says Crawford. “Just because you didn’t work in advertising before doesn’t mean you don’t have excellent organizational skills and aren’t a good manager. You can multitask and handle projects.”

Not to mention cashing in on those Law & Order royalties too.


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