How do you find out what you want to do next? Is it as easy as taking a test and perhaps a couple of classes. For many, the options can be overwhelming. Not to mention that new career choices are being created all the time. Where do you start?
STAY OR GO
Is it really a career change you need or just a change in scenery? Perhaps you still like what you do but need to be doing it in a new company or department. As you go through your day, identify the activities you still enjoy doing. Ask yourself what you like about the people you work with and for, write all this down. Now, list the things that you don’t enjoy. The more specific you are, the clearer your next steps should be. As you review your pros and cons list, what does it tell you? Show it to a trusted mentor or friend and see what they think as well.
Perhaps you still like what you are doing. You may not need a career change, just an employer change. Begin researching and talking to people about similar companies. Make a list of the top 20 or so and begin talking to insiders about what it is like to work there. Cautiously let them know that you are interested in leaving your current company.
Perhaps you’ve discovered you really need to do something else. Follow these 6 steps to find out what your options are. You should realize that there is always more than one right answer. The path of exploring something new is just as important as actually reaching your destination.
1. Assess your skills (Know who you are and what you have to offer)
There are many free assessment tools out there. Take one or more than one.
2. Review your results with multiple people
The interpretation of your results might be different to other people who know you. Share it with those you trust and see what they think.
3. Chose the top several options to explore
“Several” is not specific. There is no magic number of choices to explore. Too many choices will overwhelm you. Can you start with 3-5 and see what happens?
4. Talk to people in your desired career
The BEST way for you to see if the new career is right for you is to speak with people who are actually in that career. They have the answers to your questions.
5. Networking not resume spraying
Target your job search efforts. Focus on networking with people who work in the field you are pursuing. Let them know you are changing careers. Ask for their guidance in navigating the application process within their company. Your resume must clearly demonstrate you are qualified for this new career and that can be tricky. Therefore, you are really going to want to leverage your relationships with company insiders who can grease the wheel a bit for you.
6. Don’t give up AND be open to new lessons learned
You may find there are obstacles to pursuing your new career. What can you do about it? Ask for help and advice. Be open to learning new things about yourself and your new industry/occupation as you begin to explore. Who knows what you may stumble upon along the way.
It is with great pleasure I introduced to you the posts from my Career Collective colleagues. This collaborative initiative was started by Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers and Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, a Master Resume Writer and owner of Career Trend. Below are post from career and resume writing experts on The Best Advice for Career Changers!
- Are You Ready for a Career Change? @Debra Wheatman
- Changing Careers? Ask yourself these questions. @erinkennedycprw
- Changing Careers: Not for the Fainthearted, @GayleHoward
- The 10-Step Plan to Career Change, @KatCareerGal
- When it’s Time to Recycle Your Career, @WalterAkana
- Best Career Change Advice: Target & Plan, @JobHuntOrg
- How social media can help you change careers, @keppie_careers
- Expat Careers: You Are Not Your Job Title, @expatcoachmegan
- Changing The Direction Of Your Career, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland
- Career Changer: Can You Quell Bottom-line Ache? @ValueIntoWords
- Top 3 + 1 Tips for Making a Successful Career Change, @KCCareerCoach
- Changing Careers: Look Before You Leap, @barbarasafani
- 10 Commandments for Career Changers, @LaurieBerenson
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.