Points to Ponder Before Changing Your Career

3If you have been toying with the idea of changing your career, it is important that you ponder some important points.

First of all, ask yourself why you want to change your career in the first place. If this is what most of your friends have been doing lately, and you just want to jump on the bandwagon, you do not have a valid sensible reason to do the same.

Of course, if your financial condition is absolutely sound and stable, you can probably afford to experiment more with different career options.

But if that is not the case with you and you have a family to provide for, it is not advisable to give your adventurous and enterprising spirit free rein.

There are cases when people accept any job that comes their way. Naturally, they don’t have a particular strategy in mind.

Of course, some people are so lucky that their very first career or job becomes their lifetime passion and they keep prospering in that career without looking back.

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Points to Ponder Before Changing Your Career
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How to Plan Your Career

1The career coaching industry has found that planning a career involves a predictable pattern. No matter whether you plan a career on your own or with the assistance of a career coaching firm you must take the following eight discrete steps. Read on to learn more.

Discovering Who You Are

If you don’t know who you really are, how can you tell a prospective employer about you? How can you even know which kind of job will suit you? Answer: you can’t. That is why 47% of new hires leave their jobs within 12 to 18 months of the start, even though they were eminently qualified for the position; having won the position over heavy competition. That is why you may often get the feeling at the interview that the interviewer has no idea of who you really are.

To discover who you are, you need to perform some psychological testing of yourself; AND THEN CONFIRM THAT IT IS RIGHT. Armed that way, you know if you need to be in a job where activity and urgency are key or where patience and people concerns are paramount or where detail and caution are essential or where ideas and creativity are the drivers. Some of those are you. Some are not. You must go for the jobs that cater to those personal traits AND STAY AWAY FROM THE JOBS THAT DO NOT. Notice that we have not even talked about your skills yet. Having discovered who you are, or at least having articulated who you are, how do you tell others about it without boasting?

Creating a Life Story that Tells the Full Picture of Who You Are

Next, you need to toss that traditional resume out of the window as quickly as possible. It is a boring laundry list that exhausts the resume readers as much as it pains you to write it. Inject life into the resume so that it displays the personality traits and strong points of you discovered in step one above, using facts, proofs, under-statements, yet excitement.

Keep this portion to one page and attach the laundry list as page two. That’s it: a two-page resume that should take around 15 hours to prepare if you are to get to the root of who you really are. Such a resume will serve you forever. Future job changes will only affect a small part of the laundry list of page two.

Describing Succinctly Who You Are

With the hard work of the resume now in place and your own understanding of your personal drivers, summarize the picture of yourself with a one-paragraph biography, describing what you want and who you are. Done properly it will entice anyone who would be interested in you and will drive away anyone who should not be (thank goodness).

To go with the bio, create a single sentence that captures the essence of you like the tag line for Coke: “The pause that refreshes” or Nike: “Just do it”. The simple phrase speaks volumes to the reader or listener and allows you to paint a brief picture of the essence of who you are on that 3-story elevator ride with a stranger.

Defining What You Want that Will Make You Happy

With a grasp of who you are, and of what you can do, define the ideal position for you. Now, focus your efforts towards it. Be so clear that any prospective employer knows exactly what you are after. Avoid being all things to all people. It will leave readers confused and skeptical about you. Avoid making compromises. If at this stage you find such defining difficult, take the time to create a personal mission statement, articulating your purpose in life, your vision of where and what you ultimately want out of life as well as the values you will hold dear as you pursue them (such as honesty, directness, integrity – whatever appeal to you personally).

Learning How to Find the Job you Want

Job searching is NOT about sending your resume to an advertised position where dozens of others will be equally qualified. That is playing the losing lottery game. Only the casinos win (read employers) and you lose. Avoid this at all costs. Nor is job searching about aimlessly networking. It is about purposeful, non-offensive networking; it is about having a clear method with proven statistical probability of you connecting to your dream job. Enroll in a proven program to learn these steps that anybody can employ or learn them from a friend who has been there (successfully). Your job-finding odds will increase about 200 times with this handy capability in your back pocket.

Creating a Plan or Market Campaign

Take the above five steps and commit them to paper. Then develop a checklist to guide you as you set about a well-defined job search program, delving into the statistical probability of the unseen job market with your success assured by chaos theory and your own confidence in your newly defined self.

Finding what You Want

Begin setting up meetings of people from all walks of life, interviewing them (rather than the other way around), discover what is going on out there in the world that is of interest to you. DO NOT LOOK OVERTLY FOR A JOB. This connection process will often lead to an unexpected and unpredictable opportunity – although you will never know where or when in advance. The success in this finding process is determined by chaos theory (like the ‘coincidence’ of meeting someone you know when you travel to another part of the world) and is often manifested by the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. That is there are only six connections between where you are today and the ideal job that you want. (Test: look at a past successful job search. How many different people did you have to link in a chain to find it?)

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How to Plan Your Career
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Switching Careers: How to Manage the Process!

2With the downturn in the economy switching careers has become much more common. The demand for some professions are disappearing or shrinking while others have increased. With this turmoil all around us changing careers can be a challenging task.

Switching careers from the relative safety of a long-held career into something completely new can be overwhelming. However, with the proper approach, some planning and avoiding some mistakes you can make the career switch to a job with a future and into something that you will enjoy.

Here are some ideas to help you get ready for the move, what actions to take and missteps to avoid.

1. Sell yourself on the move. Do your research and get excited about the prospect of switching careers. Do everything you can to walk the walk in the new career. Join appropriate career based organizations. Read and study what those in the new career do. Read their blogs and websites on a regular basis.

Go to career based conventions and other relevant meetings. Build your network of individuals currently working in the desired career. Add to your career switching network through your alumni association, and by searching on LinkedIn.

When you are ready to make the move you will have the groundwork to assist you in finding relevant job openings in your new career.

2. After researching a potential new career take an inventory of what you have to offer potential employers. What transferable skills are important?

Use your network to find out the possible needs employers are looking for in your new career. Now you have a list of what you have to offer and what the employers need. If there is a gap you may have some work to do.

3. Close the skills gap through added education and experience. College level courses can be taken. But not all education needs to be acquired in a classroom. Online learning is all around us. Self-study is another option. Perhaps a mentor can guide you in learning a desired skill. There may be workshops and seminars that you can attend.

You can add desired experience through your current employer. Volunteer to work with groups in other departments is one good choice. Working for an outside organization is another option.

4. The most important aspect of any plan to switch careers is to build a financial plan to assist and support your career change activity.


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Switching Careers: How to Manage the Process!
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