Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Six Tips to Making Your Career Change a Success

Charles Darwin said it best years ago: "It's not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Changing careers is challenging - but not impossible. Here are six key things to consider before taking the leap.
1. Make a change for "the right reasons". Do any of these reasons for changing careers sound familiar to you? - I'm bored. - I'm frustrated with office politics. - There are no career development or training programs to speak of at my company. - The grass is greener elsewhere. While its understandable that all of these reasons might inspire you to RUN from your current job, consider exploring alternative solutions before actually jumping ship. If you e bored, define what it is you'd rather be doing and look for opportunities to adapt your position -- or perhaps switch positions -- within your current organization. If you want a more opportunities for growth and development, create your own! Talk to your boss about your longer-term career goals and ASK for the training or promotion you desire. As far as office politics go, they exist (at least on some level) everywhere. Try changing your focus from the politics to your performance. What you focus on increases. And as for greener grass elsewhere... isn't that an old proverb? Change is hard, lets be honest. But its a whole lot easier if its driven by a desire to move toward something - rather than an urge to run away. 2. Know your product (YOU, that is). What are you really good at? What interests and inspires you? What do you truly enjoy - not just about working but about life? Knowing yourself - what you want, what you do well, what you value, what motivates you - is critical in making a career choice that truly satisfies and endures. Investigate these issues thoroughly, and get an outside perspective if possible. 
3. Take it one step at a time. Moving from a marketing position in retail to a marketing position in entertainment is a lot more doable than moving from marketing in retail to It in entertainment. TAKE IT "ONE CHANGE AT A TIME". Changing roles within an industry or changing industries within a role gives you far more leverage in terms of transferable skills and experiences. If you ultimately want to switch both roles AND industries, consider making this shift in a few gradual steps.
4. Have a solid financial plan. Career changes often involve at least temporary pay-cuts. Get clear on how much you e willing to sacrifice - temporarily - in terms of disposable income, savings, and luxuries while you make the transition. Keep in mind that the average job search time at senior management or executive level is about six months; the average career transition at that level takes 12 months. If specific training is required, it could take even longer, so be prepared by deciding up-front how you and your family will cope with the financial realities that come with the territory. Think of it as an investment that will pay off with less stress, more joy, and greater success down the road. 
5. Do your homework. This goes back to the "grass is greener" thinking mentioned above. Before you make any gestures toward swapping careers, get the real story on what its like to work in your field of interest. Talk to people who've been there; ask them what they love and hate about their jobs/companies/industries; get their perspective on the lifestyle, the benefits and sacrifices, and what it takes to be successful in their field. A good way to do this is to set up "informational interviews" with individuals who are already doing whatever it is you e considering moving into. 
6. Think beyond what you "like". People often pursue a career based on their likes, but a truly good career fit also takes into account what you enjoy doing, what you e good at, and what sort of lifestyle you desire. For instance, you may really love cooking, but if working nights and weekends conflicts with your vision of a great family, you might want to reconsider applying to culinary school. Choose a career that supports your preferred lifestyle and plays upon your strengths.You'll be infinitely happier, healthier and more successful if your career adapts to your life, not your life to your career.
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