Considering a Career Change?
Have you come to a point in your career where you are considering changing jobs? Do you get bored with what you do each day? Are you concerned that you are not making enough money and that the career you had hoped for has not come to fruition? Do you have skills that you are not using? Have you taken a promotion and are no longer doing what you enjoyed in the past?
These are some of the situations many people find themselves in throughout their careers. Remember, it is never too late to make a change. But as you consider making a change, there are some things you need to think about and prepare for so that you will be successful and enjoy the next stage of your career.
So, how do you begin to find careers in which you might be interested? The best way to begin this journey is to determine which skills or interests you have and pick the top three.
The following questions may help you:
- What things do I enjoy doing in my spare time?
- What things do I do well?
- What would I like to change about my present career?
The next step is to go online and type those keywords into a job search Web site. Since most sites use keyword searches, you might be amazed to see the types of jobs that appear. Next, take a few minutes to review some of the job descriptions that come up and identify some other keywords from the descriptions that interest you. You can now take those additional words and do additional searches and find other jobs, industries, and companies that interest you. Now this is where the fun begins.
The next step is to start contacting people in your network who may have additional insight into these jobs, companies, and industries. As you contact people, be prepared with some questions to help you learn more about chosen careers.
The following questions are a good start:
- How did you get started in this career?
- What defines success in this career?
- What skills or training are necessary to enter this field?
- What are the greatest challenges in this career?
- What is an average day like in this field?
As you contact people or companies, remember to make great first impressions by being organized, punctual, to the point, and respectful of people’s time. Send thank-you letters and express appreciation for their time and assistance. These contacts may become your advocates in the future!
The following list will provide you with some additional suggestions:
- Decide if you really need a career change. Perhaps it is the company you are not happy with. Also, a minor change in your job description may be all you need to change what has been bothering you. Make a case with your boss, and you may find him or her to be very supportive.
- Take some time to assess your skills. Use online tools; speak with co-workers and friends in order to learn what skills you possess and how you can use them. You will be surprised to learn how many skills you really have and how others feel about you. This feedback will help you articulate to others the value you bring to the workplace. Note: All feedback may not be positive, but this will provide you information on areas in which you can improve.
- Do not move forward on any changes without having a plan in place. A career plan can take place within weeks or months. Don’t make the mistake of rushing into a change without understanding how to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself (and your family). You may need to receive additional training or to relocate. Whatever the issue, make sure you are ready with the correct resources. Without good preparation you may take the wrong opportunity and regret it later.
- Conduct as many informational interviews as possible so that you can learn what some of your next steps will be. Most people are willing to share with you all they can in order to help you. As mentioned before, make sure you are ready for these interviews. Even though they are not official job interviews, approach them as such. If you make a great impression, you may find that they are looking for a new person with your skill set.
Even if you are interested in a field in which you do not have all the skills required, don’t assume you cannot get into it. You should take advantage of training programs that are available in your community. The LDS employment resource center or self-reliance center nearest you has a variety of tools and information that can help you develop your career plan.