It takes grit to change careers and find a new job that you love. Few people enter this arena for sport. If you’re visiting my blog, you’re likely at a pivotal moment, either because you’ve reached a breaking point in your present job or you’re without employment (and unhappy about it). There’s good news. As uncomfortable as it feels when you’re looking to change jobs (and I have walked hard in those shoes), the fact that you’re reading this means you’re motivated to move forward. Here are 5 steps to turn your motivation into action:
EXPLORE YOUR PASSION
The first step to a successful career change is unearthing your passion. Ask yourself: what are the key ingredients to feel satisfied in my next job? Knowing this answer is not a luxury. IT’S THE FUEL. Without it, you’ll stall out. And if you haven’t felt that passion in a long time, I promise you, it’s still there. You might need to do some digging into the archives to find it, but the effort will pay off. Seize this moment to fully explore and clarify what excites you most about being alive. Check out more questions to jumpstart the process.
ASSESS YOUR STRENGTHS
A crucial component to career change is identifying your strengths, so that you can talk about them with your network and potential employers as you head into a new direction. If your confidence is shaken after a career loss or hiatus, you may be wondering what you have to offer. In order to turn this thinking around, now’s the time to do an accomplishment debrief. Examine in detail one feat that you’re really proud of, and come up with a list of every single quality you needed to get it done. People often take their greatest strengths for granted because natural talents come the easiest. Resist this temptation. When you’re looking to change jobs, you’ll need to self promote.
HARNESS YOUR NETWORKS
Make a diagram of the various networks of people in your life, stretching as wide as you can. Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, vendors, workout buddies, and any others you might run into on a given day. From there, compile a list of who you might talk to about your looking to change jobs. Perhaps they’re in a field that you’re drawn to, or know someone in an organization for which you might be able to volunteer. Maybe they’ve had their own experience with career reinvention, and can offer strategies. By utilizing this network, you’ll be creating potential allies and leads. It will also give you an opportunity to hone your story.
CREATE YOUR PLAN
This is your moment to commit and make your next career more tangible. Now that you’ve explored your passions and clarified your strengths, it’s time to create a plan. Where do you want to be in 6 months, a year or 2 years from now? You’ll want this plan to be achievable, but also to include some stretch. What specifically will it take to reach the goals of each part of this plan? Who in your network will be the first group of people you go to for informal meetings? Start by mapping out the big picture, and then create a chart of 5 action steps you can take in the next 30 days to make it happen.
SAY IT OUT LOUD
Creating and documenting your action plan is a vital start. Accountability is what will keep you motivated as inevitable challenges arise. Choose an accountability partner with whom you can share your goals. Arrange a weekly check-in for updated progress reports, to make any necessary tweaks to your strategy, and develop the next set of achievable steps to stay on track for your career change success.
If you have questions or would like personalized guidance on how to follow through on these steps, email me now for a complimentary session.