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With a new school year, many people turn to also look for a new career or work opportunity. Is this the year that you finally decide to break with a dead-end job that’s taking you nowhere or a boss who causes your blood pressure to rise? Are you done giving everything that you’ve got in the tank to a company that doesn’t acknowledge your contribution? Have you thought about moving to a new career, but didn’t know how to get from here to there?

Your opportunity for change is now. It’s here. There’s no time like the present.

If you’ve been thinking about leaving your job for a new career opportunity, now is a great time to look to see what’s out there in the market. The economy is generally good, businesses are feeling more confident, and so unemployment is at low levels. We know that everything is cyclical and there will come a time this will not be the case, and so this is a great environment to see if you can improve your work situation.

Do you need a new job or a new career?

The first question to ask yourself is whether you prefer a new job or a career change. Moving into a new industry will come with all sorts of challenges, such as training, a pay cut, or taking a job that’s at a lower rank than where you are in your current industry. Moving to a new career is a lot of work, and so it requires careful consideration and thought. If you’re not wholly committed to doing everything necessary for a new career, the chances are high that as much as you would like to have been, you’ll probably be okay with a new job.

Take an inventory of your skills.

Even if you’re looking to move into an entirely different industry, you should review and assess your skills, especially those that are transferable to another career. For instance, ask yourself if you’re a strong communicator or manager? Do you have particular skills in marketing, finance or operations? A reason to carefully assess your skills is that you should be keenly aware of your best skills as you begin to transition and go on job interviews. Also, you might be able to ease into a transition to your ultimate career by exploring job opportunities that will get you a step or two closer to your goal, but not yet be the career and job of your dreams.

What’s going to be the effort for a new career?

Once you’ve decided that a new career is in the cards for you, you have to get started on doing your research. Some people who are chasing their career dreams may end up in a situation where they are evaluating more than one industry. Making a career change is more challenging than a job change, so you’re going to have to assess what it will take for you to switch careers. In your research, see if you will be required to attend training or get any certifications. When you make a career change, you will also have to consider if you will be getting a pay cut and starting out a few rungs below where you are on the corporate ladder. Now is the time to prepare your personal circumstances to give you the best chance at success.

Get in touch with who you know.

When you have a firmer idea of what you want to do for your career change, make it a point to speak to the people you know and work yourself out from that point. By communicating to everyone you know, you might have an opportunity, such as an introduction, open up for you. Additionally, the people who know you best will be able to support you and perhaps give you different perspectives and ideas as you begin to search for your new path. Be aware that you might have one or two people who may tell you that you shouldn’t make a career change for whatever reason. We all have one or two of those friends. Take what they have to say with a grain of salt and stay focused on moving along in your career and life.

Get going and make it happen.

Finally, get started. One of the most challenging things to do for so many people is to begin. For many others, once they start and see the additional work demands that come from making a career change, on top of their regular responsibilities, the desire to change a career begins to dim. The way to ensure this does not happen is to create a 90-120 day plan with measurable goals and objectives that you break down weekly. If you need additional training, one of the tasks could be researching schools and then signing up. Another task could be to reach out to a certain number of people you know, as well as professionals in the industry, each week. It’s crucial to keep the passion going so you can make a successful transition.

Making a career change can be daunting. There can be a lot of fear that bubbles to the surface of the unknown and failure, but it doesn’t have to be the case.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

If you take small steps that are regular (daily or weekly), you will be able to make a successful transition.

 

Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

© 2018 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.