Do you have the nagging feeling that you are meant to be doing something else? Are you frustrated and unfulfilled in your current position? Sometimes a simple job change is not enough. If you are considering a career change, here some things to consider carefully to determine if you are ready for a career change.
- Honestly Assess Your Current Feelings – Keep a journal for at least a month of how you are feeling about your current work situation. Do you have trouble waking up in the morning and motivating yourself to go to work? Do you feel depressed on Sunday evening at the thought of returning to work on Monday? Are you experiencing an increase in headaches, stomach disorders or general stress symptoms? Are you constantly thinking that this is not what you want to do when you grow up? Does the thought of doing this work for the rest of your career depress you? Do you have unique talents and abilities that are not currently being utilized? It can be important to “trust your gut” but keeping a journal helps identify the day to day frustrations compared to the underlying issues.
- Honestly Assess Your Personal Reality – Do some honest self-assessment exercises to clarify your interests and abilities. There are useful tools available online as well as professional resources to conduct these assessments. Your alumni career center may also have tools and advisors to assist you. Do a sanity check by asking friends and colleagues about your strengths and abilities.
- Do Your Homework – You may think you have determined what you want to do but now you have to reality test it. It is important to learn more about the career you aspire to before leaping ahead with your plans. Conduct informational interviews with individuals doing the job you think you want. Learn what they do each day, what skills are critical to success and what experience a hiring manager expects for that position. Is there any opportunity to test a new career path by volunteering or working part time? Non –profits often welcome assistance and it could be a chance to try to new type of role as a volunteer. Are the educational credentials you are lacking or key certifications expected in this new role? Identify what you are lacking and implement a plan to address those shortfalls.
- Plan Ahead – Maybe your dream job is a step or two away since you currently lack the experience or credentials required. Identify opportunities to build the skills you are lacking to move you closer to your dream role. Incremental progress is important.
- Identify Targets – Do you research to identify companies who would offer the type of position you desire. Identify contacts in those companies and conduct informational interviews. Do your research on those companies. Review job postings to monitor their requirements. Build your knowledge of the company and the role to increase your opportunities for success.
- Define and Execute Your Plan – If after all your exploration you determine it is time for a career change, define plan. Identify your target companies and research each one. Identify networking contacts at each target company. Conduct information interviews. Be sure to update your resume highlighting your transferrable skills. Prepare your pitch on how you will present yourself at networking events and interviews to highlight your desire and motivation for a career change focusing on your transferrable skills. Use what you have learned to provide context. Identify opportunities to gain needed training or experience. Use your passion to keep you motivated and track your progress.
We all spend too much time working to be miserable doing it. Find work that you love and do it well.