While many people would love to change their careers, not many people know what to do or where to start. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why many people remain stuck on jobs they don’t like.
Career or job shift can often be the desirable and rightful thing to do when you no longer feel fulfilled in the job you have, however, I will strongly advise that you plan your move carefully.
Do not leap before you look! You do not want the regret of making the wrong move.
With adequate planning, the switchover can be exciting, motivating, and rejuvenating instead of fraught with worry.
Consider the following strategies as you plan and implement your career move:
1. Life Purpose Evaluation:
This is perhaps, the most critical step. You must start by identifying and evaluating your life purpose and values.
I believe that every human being has a purpose for which they are put on this earth. And the principal reason why most people are unhappy with their jobs is because the work they do is not in alignment with their life purpose and values.
You must ask yourself: what is the core message of your life? What are the most important values to you?
You must be clear of your purpose, and you work must be an expression of your life purpose. It’s only then that you can perform at your optimum.
Discovering your life purpose and identifying jobs or careers that are in alignment with it is the most important step in making any career change.
That’s what we call the inner shift. A good career coach, using the right technique, can help you work through this step.
2. Assess Your Motives:
Unearth the reasons for your desire to change careers. Do you feel underappreciated, underpaid, overworked, or unsatisfied in your current position? If so, dig deeper to discern whether your current employer or the career field as a whole is at the root of your dissatisfaction.
If you discover that the source of your unhappiness is your employer, change employers rather than starting an entirely new career. It’s much easier to get a job within your current career field than to get your foot in the door of a completely separate career field.
If your issue is being underpaid or overworked, it may not be necessary to change employers. Have a talk with your supervisor and tell them how your current position is making you feel. If you’re an asset to the company, you may be able to work out an agreement for a raise, promotion or different department that may align better with your life purpose.
3. Have a Game Plan:
Be sure you have a solid plan in place before you take the plunge.
Find out what it will take to succeed in your new career, and be clear you got it. If you don’t have it, be clear how you will get it.
Do you need a new training or certification? What about skills? Are you sure you can excel in the new area?
If you don’t have those, do you have a clear plan on how to acquire them?
If you’re considering a drastic career change, such as going from being a mortgage loan officer to a career in the medical professions, clearly you’ll need additional training. More common career changes may require less additional education, if any.
Search for job postings online which fit the career field you’d like to enter. Generally, the employer or recruiter will list the required education and experience necessary to be considered for the job.
If you’ll need additional education, of course, it will be wise to evaluate a number of issues, like time and resources it will take to complete it.
Your game plan should include your strategies for marketing yourself in the way your prospective employers will see your strength and the value you could add to their organizations.
Do not forget to update (or clean up) your social media, especially your LinkedIn account. Almost all employers these days will check you out in the social media.
Be sure you have strategies in place for accessing both the published and unpublished job markets. Indeed, it’s been estimated that more than 70% of jobs filled each year, especially beyond the entry level, are unpublished, that is, filled without being advertised. Having a plan in place to capture that market is critical when you’re trying to make a career move.
4. Update Your Networking:
Networking is very critical for all job search efforts, particularly for those planning to make a career change.
For one, networking is the number one strategy for accessing the unpublished job market I just discussed above.
It is therefore, imperative that you develop strategic relationships with people in the industry that you are planning to break into.
Remember, networking is not about blabbing to everyone you meet that you’re looking for a job. Start first by getting relevant information and referrals, and then build on those. Link up with as many people in that industry as you can through your social media and other networking channels. Learn the language of the industry and make yourself present during personal meetings and conversations.
Do not stop networking even after you’ve landed a job. Networking continues to remain crucial as you advance in your new career.
5. Balance Speed with Caution:
Yes, you’ve made the decision to move, and move you must, but do not throw caution to the winds. Don’t make reckless moves.
Hang on to your current paycheck for as long as you can, preferably until you can secure a position with a new employer. Set up interviews while you’re still employed and only quit your current position only after you have signed, sealed and delivered your new job contract.
When you’re currently employed with another company, you have more bargaining power in terms of salary when considering a position with a new employer.
Once you’ve secured a position, it may be time to give a two or three week notice to your current employer. The lengthy notice will further increase the chances of a good recommendation and it will prevent them from being surprised when someone calls to confirm a reference. Do not burn your bridge; you never know when you might need it again.
There is nothing wrong in making a career change. There are many jobs available for qualified candidates. If you aren’t content in your current position, life is too short to continue to spend eight hours per day miserably.
As long as you plan carefully to ensure your family’s security, you’d be well served seeking employment in a career field that will increase your quality of life.