FIVE Steps to Career Change Success
1. Determine that a career change is indeed the right choice for you
The job market is precarious, and transition is rarely ever easy. It is worth it to take the time to explore your reasons for wanting to make a move. Making that move for the wrong reasons often results in rash decisions that are not always easy to make a recovery from.
At the same time, it is foolish to think that a career change won’t be warranted for some reason in the future as the economy shifts. You may not have a choice, and it is better to be prepared.
2. Explore career options based on your current skills, ability, and interests
Often we find ourselves stuck in a career that has come as a result of our exceptional skills, for example an administrative assistant who has incredible organizational skills because of her work history, but actually has more of an affinity for management or sales.
The key is to frame the skills in a way that will complement a position in the new area of interest.
3. Network for career change success
The majority of jobs are found in the unlisted job market. Even jobs listed on popular job boards are often filled through word of mouth recommendations. Let your friends and associates know that you are looking, where appropriate. They might comment to a significant other, or one of their friends or associates, and come up with an open position that might be good for you. Use your online network too!
Extend your network by asking for informational interviews in the industry you are targeting. These interviews are for information gathering and relationship-building only. DO NOT ask for a job in these interviews. You can ask that they let you know of any ideas or thoughts they might have for you.
4. Define yourself to the market
In Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, the authors Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry say that “personal branding is a matter of survival” and knowing how to market that brand is essential in the job hunt. Who are you in the market? What do you have to offer? How are you different from other candidates? All of this is your story, your brand!
Your resume isn’t the only thing that needs to stand out. How you conduct your search is important, and it may be more important than ever to have a portfolio of projects and experience to show both online and off.
5. Choose a career where you have passion
In the book The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, it is said that “energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.” Doesn’t it make sense that you find more energy to do the things you love?
The book goes on to say that…
”less than 30% of American workers are fully engaged at work, according to the Gallup Organization in early 2001. Some 55% are “not engaged.” Another 19% are “actively disengaged,” meaning not just that they are unhappy at work, but that they regularly share those feelings with colleagues.”
It is probable that even if you aren’t in a career where you are passionate, that you have skills that are transferable to one where you are. If you are uncertain about that, or about how to make a career change, a career coach can help.