New Year, New Career (Part 1: Navigating a Major Career Change)
As we enter a brand-new year, many of us naturally take stock of where we are in our career path. If you’re between jobs but you love what you do, finding the job you want is really just about finding the right opening and positioning yourself as the best person for that job. But what if you are looking for something completely different?
What if your New Year’s goal was “Launch a whole new career?”
I’m not going to lie: changing careers is not an easy prospect. (If it were, everyone would be changing careers at the drop of a hat.) It requires courage, and a bit of moxie, to make a major life choice to leave one career path for another. But if you are dissatisfied in life and ready for change, it can also be one of the most exciting and rewarding decisions you’ll ever make.
That being said, making a successful career transition requires more than just closing your eyes and leaping of the metaphorical cliff. It takes careful planning and consideration to pull this off well, examining all the angles before diving headfirst into something completely new. We’ll cover the following steps more in detail in upcoming blogs, but just as an overview…if you’re looking to make a radical career change this year, here are some tips on how to do it right.
Take a Personal Inventory
If you already know what you want to do for a new career and why you want to do it, you can probably skim over this step. But if you are fuzzy about the details or you don’t really know what your next move is going to be, this first step is absolutely critical.
No matter how different you think your new career will be from your old job, there will be at least one common denominator between them: YOU. Your skills, your passion, your point of view–these will all follow you into the next career and inform your choices. That’s why any time you’re considering a career transition, the best place to start is by understanding your current skill set and how it can be applied elsewhere. Take a step back and look at yourself objectively—what marketable skills have you acquired over the years that could help you in another career? What are your strengths? What are your talents? What are you passionate about? What makes you tick? (Reviewing my blog on “What Is Your Why?” may be helpful here.) Almost any new career you launch will involve a reimagining of your current gifts, talents, and passions–you’ll just be using them in a different way. This analysis will give you important insight into which jobs may be best suited for your abilities and interests.
Make a Plan for Training & Education
Once you’ve got an idea of what your desired career path is going to be, you may need additional education or training. Research degree programs and certifications, look into online courses, or consider taking classes at your local community college or university. Make sure that whatever program or courses you choose will match up with what employers are looking for in the field that interests you most. If you’re aiming for a specific position, pay attention to the job description—it will give you a good idea as to what classes you need to take or what credentials you need in order to qualify for the job. You’ll also want to investigate whether there are any additional steps you need to take (such as passing exams or getting professionally licensed) before launching into job applications.
Network and Build Connections
Networking is essential when making any kind of career shift — even more so when making such a drastic move between industries or job roles. Leverage your existing contacts as well as professional associations related to the industry you want to move into; this could include attending conferences or seminars or getting involved with related groups on LinkedIn or other social media outlets. In addition to providing helpful information about potential opportunities, networking is also important because it helps build relationships, and those connections can prove invaluable down the line.
As exciting as it may be to consider heading in a whole new direction career-wise, let’s face it: a career shift is a major change, and change can be scary. But the key to navigating this change, as I’ve said over and over to my clients, is to have courage and make a plan. Change is inevitable; fear is optional. Being proactive in your approach to a career change will help you have more control, and therefore less fear. That’s why I always say, “Change happens: take control!”
Whether you’re just looking for a new job or navigating a major career change, if you want some support, someone to help guide you through the process, that’s why I’m here. Start the new year off right with the coaching you need so you can land the job you want. Just click here to access my calendar and set up a free 30-minute initial consultation.