Career Change

This topic is about changing from your current carer to a different one. If, instead you are interested in advancing in your current career, then see Career Advancement. If you are interested in selecting a career, then see Career Planning.

Sections of This Topic Include

Make Career Change Work for You
Career Survival Strategies to Ride the Waves of Change
Additional Perspectives on Career Change

Also see
Related Library Topics
Career Advancement
Career Planning and Management
Job Banks

Personal Development

Also see the Library's Blogs Related To Career Change

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to career change. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Career Management Blog
Library's Coaching Blog
Library's Human Resources Blog

Make Career Change Work for You

© Copyright Marcia Zidle

Are you looking for more than just a better job?

Rather, you’re seeking a more rewarding profession, one that better aligns with your skills, interests, values, and plans for the future. It will not happen overnight. It will take reflection, planning and motivation. Here are five tips for making the transition into a new, rewarding career.

1. First be sure of your reasons.

Just because you’re unhappy in your current job isn’t a strong enough reason to make a total career break. Carefully analyze whether it is your actual career you dislike or whether the problem is your employer, supervisor, or workplace environment.

If you’re unhappy with your boss or the politics of the job, an option is to stay with your career choice and try to find another department or division to work in. However, after much soul searching, you truly feel you would be happier in another career, then start looking.

2. Decide what’s important.

Take an honest inventory of your likes and dislikes, and evaluate your skills, values, and personal interests. You may want to consider consulting a career coach or taking a career assessment to determine what is the right career for you. Many people who want to change careers do so to find a balance between their personal and professional lives; to get the juices flowing again; or to achieve a better mix of meaning, money and motivation.

3. Check your qualifications.

Do you have the necessary experience and education to be considered a qualified candidate in another career field? If not, then find a way to bridge the credentials gap. This might mean making your goal more long-term while you go back to school or receive additional training.

Also, don’t expect to begin at the same level of seniority in your new career that you held in your old one. You probably will have to take a lower level job to gain the requisite skills and then move up the ranks. You must realize that it’s not starting at the bottom but really starting from a place that will give you mobility for career growth and, most importantly, career satisfaction.

4. Look before you leap.

Be sure to examine all possibilities before attempting a career change. Do information interviewing with people who are actually in that career field. Test the waters to see if you would like that work by volunteering or by doing free lance work. You can also meet with a career management professional to guide you so that you make a wise career choice. You do not want to jump from the frying pan (your present career) into the fire (a career that does not meet your expectations).

5. Update your job search skills.

When was the last time you looked for a job? If it’s been 5, 10 or more years ago, then it is especially important to polish up your job-hunting skills and techniques before you get out there. I’ve seen too many good people fail because they made the following mistakes:

They quickly put a resume together without focusing on what they are “selling”; they primarily looked on line for open positions rather than networking; they did not prepare for each interview thinking they can “wing” it; and they felt uncomfortable in self – promotion (it’s on my resume, why do I have to explain what I did?”)

Career Success Tip

Keep in mind that a successful career change can take several months, or longer, to accomplish. The keys are specific plan, a lot of patience and an attitude of perseverance.

Career Survival Strategies to Ride the Waves of Change

© Copyright Marcia Zidle

Change is a fact of life. Don’t resist it; thrive in it!

In these days of takeovers and mergers, of downsizing operations and multiple rightsizings, chances are you’re going to be caught up in some form of major workplace change at least once in your career. Probably several times!

Whether it’s a new job or a new boss or a new direction, the best career survival strategy is to respond effectively to these four stages of workplace change.

Stage 1. Something’s Up: What To Do Before The Change

If you’re lucky, you’ll have some advance warning and time to prepare. But most of the time, you just have an uneasy feeling. There might be lots of hushed conversations or closed-door meetings. Top management might seem especially busy and inaccessible. Or the rumor mill is running high.

This is not the time to stay buried behind your desk or in your office hoping everything will be OK. Rather get out there, keep informed and start thinking about your options for riding the waves of change.

Stage 2: Getting Acquainted: The First Couple of Months

In the first weeks of the transition, take extra care to be visible, productive and open to change. This is not a good time to go on vacation for two weeks. Ask yourself: Is there still career opportunity here or should I now begin looking elsewhere more earnestly? You need to decide to put your energy into making a go of it or starting to let go.

If you have a new boss, ask for a meeting to discuss your background, to provide an update on your projects and to find out about the new priorities for your team, department or division. If it’s a restructuring, understand the reasons behind it. What is the company dealing with now, that it wasn’t dealing with in the past? What goals is it trying to accomplish in the reorganization? In what way can you contribute to these new goals?

What do you see on the horizon? I bet it's change and more change!

In these days of takeovers and mergers, of downsizing operations of multiple “rightsizings”, chances are that you are going to be caught up in some form of major workplace change at least once in your career. Probably many times!

Stage 3. Settled In: The Six Month Benchmark

Now that the dust has settled, it’s the time to gauge your career health. Do I feel like an active participant or am I on the sidelines looking in? Have I gotten reassuring comments or positive feedback? If you are in the dark, take the risk and request a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance.

You need to be direct. Say, “I’ve been working hard to cooperate and adjust to the changes. So how am I doing? Are there things I need to work on to be more effective?”

You may get an indirect response such as: “You’re doing fine, keep up the hard work”; or “Let’s set a time to discuss this further.”

However, don’t be satisfied with an evasive or avoidance answer. Performance feedback is essential during times of organizational transition. If all the signs are looking good, you can start breathing a sign of relief. But, don’t let your guard down completely. The next six months are also very important.

Stage 4. A Year After: Is The Coast Clear?

By the time you’re a year or more into a major change, it’s reasonable to wonder: Has my work life settled down at last? Has the sense of crisis passed? If this is the case, great! You’ve come through the storms of change and now are going on to calmer times, at least for the short term, – long term who knows?

Or, is the atmosphere still very hectic despite many attempts to try to fix what’s not working? Or, is everything on hold again for the nth time waiting for someone to make the decision? Or your workload is not easing up but getting worse? Sad to say, sometimes things never calm down especially in troubled company or rapidly changing ones. If this is your scenario, you may decide to take a break from the relentless change. You can try to find a calmer port within your company or you may need to seriously consider finding a new position somewhere else.

Career Success Tip

Taking control of one’s career sometimes means making some very hard decisions. But once a decision is made and action is taken, then you can get on with your life. Isn’t that what career management is all about—taking charge of one’s destiny?

Readers, are you currently dealing with a new boss, a direction or other workplace changes? If so, what stage are you in? How well are you doing? Let me hear your stories.

Additional Perspectives on Career Change

The 10-Step Plan to Career Change
5 Ways to Conduct a Secret Job Search
Changing Careers in Midstream
Unconventional Midlife Career Change Tips
Career Change Do's and Don'ts
Career Change Decision Making - Remember This Vital Piece
Sincerity Means Everything in a Resignation Letter
How to Avoid Impossible Assignments
Midlife Career Change: An Opportunity For Self Discovery
A model for continuing professional development
Visualize a Career Change Several Steps Ahead
Can You Change Your Career After 40?
Make Career Change Work For You!
Job Satisfaction: Is it Time to Stay or Leave?
Leave Your Job the Classy Way
Seven Keys to Switching from a Big Company to a Small One
Knowing When to Say Goodbye
Financial Considerations When Changing Jobs - Creating a Smooth Transition Into a New Career
Tips for Negotiating an Earn-out
How to Improve Your Employment Application
How to Quit Your Job
6 Reasons You Shouldn't Quit Without Notice
Career Plateau: Feeling Boxed In?
Changing Jobs: Don't Have Buyer's Remorse
Lateral Moves: Will They Advance Your Career?
Watch Out For These Seven Career Mistakes
Turning Down a Job Offer
Am I a Bad Employee or Do All My Past Bosses Stink?
Why I'm Glad I Got Fired
Career Change: Don’t Jump From the Frying Pan Into the Fire
Job Transition: Do It the Right Way
Build Your Change Muscles! Build Your Career!
Career Change: Is It the Best Move For You?
Career Change Without Leaving Your Organization
Tips For Starting a New Job
Are You About To Lose Your Job?
Moving to a New job or Company? Do It Right!

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by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
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3. Groups and teams in the nonprofit
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Many of the Library's materials about nonprofit leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.

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