Whether it’s transitioning from your part-time job as a teen or switching companies to get that double-digit salary increase with more authority, making a career change is something you’ll likely experience at some point in your life.
While change can be exciting, it can also be super uncomfortable and scary! And with your livelihood on the line, settling for the job you’ve outgrown (or grown to despise) sounds more and more appealing, right?
Well, you’re in the right place because I’m not going to let that happen! Instead, I’m here to help take the uncertainty out of your next professional transition. I’ve spent the past couple of years diving into the details, and I’ve created The Professional Pivot to share them with you!
Although there are many things to consider when making a career change, this article will touch on the main three – and all are equally important.
WHY ARE YOU CONSIDERING A CHANGE?
Understanding your why is crucial. I’ve seen so many professionals dive headfirst into a new job simply because they hated their previous job and “just needed something new.” Fast forward one year, they hate their new job too.
When it comes to the question “why?” I challenge you to dig deep. I like to use the 3 Whys method – asking why 3 times to get to the true reason. Example: I want to change jobs. Why do you want to change jobs? Because I’m unhappy with my current job. Why are you unhappy? Because I’m working 60+ hours each week. Why does that make you unhappy? Because I desire work-life balance, which requires having more time to spend with my family and friends. BINGO!
Once you’ve identified the reason for the change, you can proceed to determine what the change should look like.
WHAT CHANGE ARE YOU CONSIDERING?
This seems pretty obvious, but to be successful, you must figure out what exactly you want to do. I mean, the possibilities are endless – as long as you’re willing to work for it!
To determine the “what,” you should take inventory of your current state:
- What do you enjoy about your job?
- What do you dislike about it?
- What skills do you currently possess?
- What hurdles are you willing to jump?
- Who/what do you need to consider before you finalize your decision?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you should take the time to research different suitable career options. This could be everything from Google searches to conversations with your network to job shadowing. As you’re completing your research, you should take note of your non-negotiables and nice-to-haves. Ex: Working remotely may be a nice-to-have so you can enjoy more time at home, while a $60K+ salary might be a non-negotiable to maintain your current lifestyle.
You’ll likely find that you have many different options, all with varying levels of effort associated. For example, if you’ve worked in sales your whole life and have a degree in Business, it would take a considerable amount of work/time to pursue a new position as an Engineer. Whereas, your communication skills, client service experience, and a track record for meeting or exceeding weekly goals would translate more easily to a role as a Project Manager, Advertising Executive, or Operations Director! This is in no way meant to discourage the big, bold change – just food for thought!
Once you’ve decided on the change, you can determine what’s necessary to get you there.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE THIS CHANGE?
Ok, so now it’s time to put pen to paper and create your comprehensive, strategic action plan!
The easiest way to create this plan is to complete a gap analysis. You can do this by listing the qualifications for the new career, assessing your current state, and determining your required future state to successfully break the barrier. I’ve included a sample gap analysis here for you!
You should allow this gap analysis to drive your intentional action planning. Example: If obtaining a certification is necessary for you to move forward with the change, outline the steps needed to obtain that certification! Be sure to add dates to each action to help hold yourself accountable.
Changing careers can be daunting, but those who have done it successfully can attest that it’s so rewarding! We spend way too much time at work for it to be a major source of dissatisfaction for you. If a change is what you want, a change is what you should pursue – you owe it to yourself!
Do you need guidance as you plan your upcoming career change? Drop me a line, and let’s chat.