Are you ready for a career change? Is it time to use your
skills in new ways or try something entirely different? Do you have
the entrepreneurial spirit? Most people change careers at least
three times in their work life and have several different jobs. The
work paradigms have shifted and you don't have to start with one field or
company and stick with it until retirement. Here are some tips to
help you in changing careers:
Reflect and take stock of yourself. Ask yourself some
critical questions. What do you like to do? What do you dream
of doing? Sometimes our dreams aren't that far from reality.
Where do you visualize yourself working? What sounds like fun?
As Mark Twain once said, "The most successful people are those who do all
year long what they would otherwise do on their summer vacation".
Take some time to reflect on your best options.
Do a thorough skills analysis. Make a list of your life
achievements and analyze for the skills involved in each accomplishment.
This process will reflect your best skills. Many skills are
transferable from one field to another, such as problem solving,
management, analyzing, customer services, administrative and computer
Do your research. Visit your local library and read up on
different fields in the Occupational Outlook Handbook plus various
journals as well as books geared to the hottest jobs and new trends.
Read the business section to keep abreast of current issues that can spark
new employment opportunities. For more information on changing
careers, try reading: The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change
Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas
Lore. Attend seminars, association meetings, surf the Internet or
take a course to test out your new interests.
Position yourself through contacts. Let everyone know that
you are interested in making a change. There is a 90% chance that
you will find your next career via networking contacts. This
includes friends, relatives, neighbors, and business associates.
Start with the people with whom you are most comfortable (those in your
mutual admiration society). Let them know your key skill areas and
ask for their ideas, advice, and information on transferring your skills
to a new field. Listen, thank them, and ask for a referral to
someone they know who could give you some additional information.
After several contacts, a pattern will emerge, funneling your ideas down
to a solid career action plan.
Test out your potential targets. Attend seminars,
association meetings and courses to test out your new areas of interest.
The next best thing to trying on a new career is to talk to people in the
field. Keep networking to maintain a reality check and gain
validation for your choices. Get your feet wet with volunteer work
in your chosen field.
Become a skilled job seeker. Position yourself for success
by becoming an expert on how to get a job. Read job search books
such as Getting Interviews by Kate Wendleton to arm yourself with
the tools you will need to pursue new endeavors. Review interview
questions and practice answering them in a positive and informative
manner. Be sure that you know how your current skills will transfer
to the new environment.
Give yourself permission to change careers. Effective
career management requires taking the necessary risks to position yourself
for where you want to be. Don't allow yourself to feel like you are
"stuck" in your job. Your level of interest in pursuing something
new is directly commensurate with your level of discomfort in your present
job. If not too unhappy, most of us will typically stay in our
current situation since it takes time and energy to make a career
change. Build your confidence so you can let go when it's time to do
Set goals with schedules. Make it happen by setting a goal
of when you would like to be in a new career. Make an action plan
with steps and schedules toward your new endeavor. Envision yourself
as a pathfinder on a new frontier. Believe in yourself and go for