I was asked earlier this week for insights on how to know it is time to make a career change – either within your current organization to a new department or role or a switch to a completely new organization. While there are many personal factors to consider, here are some key considerations to help you determine if this is the time for you to leap forward.
How do you know it is time to change careers?
- You have trouble getting yourself out of bed in the morning and motivating yourself to go to work
- You dread going to work, just the thought of it makes you anxious
- You get depressed on Sunday night knowing you have to go back to work in the morning
- You are constantly thinking that this isn’t what you want to do when you grow up
- The thought of doing this for the rest of your working career depresses you
- You are frustrated that you are not using certain talents and abilities or not pursuing key interests or passions
- You have that nagging feeling in your gut that just won’t go away
Is it real or a passing phase?
- Do some self-assessment exercises to clarify your interests and abilities
- Get input from colleagues and friends about your strengths and your possible fit in your desired role
- Ask your mentor for honest feedback
Learn more about the career you aspire to before making a final decision
- Conduct informational interviews with people who are doing the job you think you want, find out what it is really like
- Is there any opportunity to test what you think you want to do by doing it part time or in a volunteer situation while you keep your day job?
- Identify what education or certification may be required and determine what you need to do to meet those criteria
- If you aren’t qualified to take your dream job now, identify what you need to do to quality, what job now would lead to the job you desire?
- What companies offer the type of job you desire? Who do you know at those companies for networking?
If you decide it is time for a change, have a plan.
- Identify target companies and research those companies
- Identify networking contacts within those companies
- Conduct informational interviews with contacts in your target companies
- Prepare your resume and cover letter to focus on your transferrable skills
- Prepare your pitch of how you will present yourself in networking events and in interviews, explain your motivation for the change and your transferrable skills
- Identify opportunities to gain needed training or experience while you are searching
- Use your passion to motivate you throughout the process
We all spend too much time working to be miserable doing it. Find work that you love and do it well but go into your career change with a specific action plan for success.