Most of us underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to make a career change. It’s somehow more complicated than it used to be. The marketplace is overcrowded; the job market has changed fundamentally so don’t underestimate the amount of time it will take to find the right career for you.
Make Time for It
Make space in your time and in your life for this. This may mean re-contracting around your time with others if it impinges on it. You cannot afford to be unprofessional. Look at Timeline – Where you are versus where you want to go with your Career – Part 1.
Have Commitment and Discipline
There’s a lot to do when you’re changing careers and you need to be committed to your career change and disciplined in your behaviour enough to do it all. You can’t not do what you need to do, otherwise you’ll end up in the wrong role, if you manage to find a new job at all.
Review Your Assets
Reviewing your strengths, skills, qualities and experiences will give you a meaningful understanding of just what you have on board. This understanding is important to have if you’re going out to sell yourself to potential employers. Look at: How to Identify Transferable Skills for a Career Change and Unique Strengths & Talents-How to Identify Yours When Looking For a New Job?
Think about what help you’re going to need in this and where that help is going to come from. Some of it will be close to you, obvious and free. Some of it might not be so obvious and you might need to buy into it. For instance, you may need to become a member of a career development club to make use of its tools, support and community.
Develop Your Options
Focusing on just one target career is often seen as a big challenge for people who just open up and believe that there are a range of things that they can do. The best way to narrow down your options is to develop them so you can explore them. Go deep into the exploration of and experimentation with various career paths that interest you and then filter them out until you have just one to focus all your energies on. See 10 Ways to Re-Discover Your Career Passions.
Have a Niche
You are definitely going to have a lot of career choices, but choice is really not helpful in the sense that you’ve got to get clear and be very specific about what you want to do. When you go to market you want to be one of one; in other words be so specific in identifying a really niche area that there’s no competition from other, more generalist job candidates.
Work Your Network
Assessing your connections and working out who is going to be useful for you to spend your time with is really important. Think also about how exactly they can be useful to you at this time. Read our 135 Networking Career Tips eBook.
Meet the Right People
Who do you need to know to get what you want and how are you going to get in front of them? This is a strategic area you may not have needed before in your career. How do you present the unique you in a way that will attract the people you need to meet?
Hold Something Back
Our tendency to tell everybody everything is not helpful when we need to be specific, so part of our strategy will be to identify the relevant and appropriate elements of ourselves that we’re going to present to a specific target.
Think about the presentation of your online profiles and the various other ways in which we can project ourselves through different media. See How to Use Social Networks?
About the author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Follow him @PosIgnition
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