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.
What has been your experience in career change? What were some roadblocks you faced and how did you overcome them?
Do you want to develop Career Smarts?
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- Find career and leadership boosters in the Smart Moves Blog.
- Copyright © 2010 Marcia Zidle career and leadership coach.