As summer transitions into fall, and the memory of your vacation to the shore or the mountains is fading fast, it might be time for a new career transition for you.
While summer is great fun, if you’re returning to a job this fall that is sheer drudgery, you might want to consider a career change. One way to start your transition is to focus on a passion of yours.
Here are eight important career tips that will help you discover more about yourself, allow your passions to guide you down a new career path, and help you take those first steps on your way to a new and more rewarding career.
Figure Out What You Want to Do
How do you support yourself during a career change? More importantly, how do you decide to embark on a new career? Perhaps your current career no longer reflects your skills and achievements, or maybe you just don’t find your work fulfilling or interesting anymore.
Figure out what you want to do before you start doing it.
All too often individuals seek out change before they know what they really want to do with their lives. Here are some suggestions to help you figure out what you want to do and how you can make it happen.
1. Start With Free Association: Take a piece of blank paper or open a blank Word document and write out everything you enjoy in life. Don’t leave anything out. Even things like walking the dog or cooking dinner should go on the list, if you enjoy them. Then (you guessed it) take another piece of paper or start a new document, and write out everything you don’t enjoy doing. Do you see a pattern or cluster on each of these lists? Ultimately, your ideal job will incorporate some version of the activities you enjoy while minimizing the activities you dislike. Hang onto these sheets, as they will help you along the way.
2. Be Your Own Detective: Research careers that incorporate activities you enjoy in life, even if they seem like a stretch at first. Read up on these careers, talk to people who are working in the field, and, if possible, tag along for a day with someone who successfully pursues the career path you’re interested in learning about.
3. Build a Vision of Your Life: Based on your detective work, start to think about how your values and goals might line up with a particular career. For example, if your vision includes a more balanced lifestyle, you might have a goal of transitioning into a career that supports a healthy lifestyle while incorporating the activities you enjoy most in life. Write your vision and goals down and keep them with your free association lists. Think of these as your planning documents-they will sustain you during your journey.
Start Walking the Talk
You have your map; now it’s time to start walking the talk.
After you’ve developed a vision for your life and researched the type of career you’re interested in pursuing, it’s time to look at your next steps:
4. Focus on Skills and Education: If you look carefully at your professional history, you’ll find skills that are transferable to your new career. As you review your skills, take stock of what you need to learn in order to excel in your new career. Consider taking classes or attending conferences in your new field to refresh and build on these skills.
5. Join Professional Associations: This is a great way to stay current about the trends in your potential new industry, and network with your future colleagues. In fact, professional associations quite often sponsor conferences, networking sessions, and educational opportunities for their members. In many cases, online services also will accompany your membership privileges. Take advantage of these services, as they will help keep you on track.
6. Build a Relationship With a Mentor: Mentors play a unique role in your career development well beyond the transition leg of your journey. In fact, as you network you can begin to develop several mentoring relationships. Spread yourself around, because each mentor will bring a unique perspective to your new career.
7. Try Coaching to Your Potential: Working with a professional career transition coach provides a structure to your journey as well as ongoing feedback about the choices and decisions you’ll make along the way.
8. Get Your Foot in the Door: If possible, get involved in volunteer or part-time employment in your new field. Small opportunities build experience and provide networking and mentoring opportunities.
Patience and realistic expectations are the keys to successfully embarking on your career change. You undoubtedly will encounter obstacles and challenges along the way. Everybody does. However, if you’re committed to making the career change and continue to seek out help, your persistence will pay off.
Your Thoughts on New Services
This is the first in a series of planned articles on career transition and career exploration. We’re also in the planning stages of developing new services aimed at career self-exploration and career transition. If you have any suggestions or thoughts on new services that could help you smooth out your own transition, please feel free to drop us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career counselor and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.
If you would like more information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com.
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