I've Found My Passion, Now What? How to Make a Career Change
I took a break from passion to talk about robots but now I’m back to passion. You have now figured out your passion and now you would like to pursue a whole new career path. Change is scary for a lot of us so let me try to ease the anxiety by providing you with a career change cheat sheet.
Reflect and Research
No meditation or chants are required. I just want you to think about your career path up to this point and identify what you liked and what you did not like about the companies you worked for, the job duties you had and even the work schedules you had (work/life balance).
Once you have reflected, start your research. Google should be your best friend. Research things like:
1. Job Openings - study the job duties and requirements for the jobs you are interested in. Assess how your current experience and skills could transfer into the roles. You could also look for hybrid roles that would allow you to utilize the knowledge you already have. For example, a paralegal who is interested in HR may find that HR compliance is a fit for his/her legal experience. Similarly, an accounting clerk who is interested in HR may find payroll administration to be a better fit for his/her background than other areas of HR.
2. Education - research the educational tools needed to get you to your career goals. Every field is different but the most common education requirements include degrees, licenses and certifications. You may just need a few training seminars to augment the education you already have. Consider doing a gap analysis to assess your current education and figure out what you will need to get you on the career path you desire. Another trick is to research some professionals in your goal career path and look at their work and education histories. You could even reach out them and get their thoughts on education for your desired field. Your education is a very important investment in your career’s future so ensure you make informed decisions.
Network and Study Your Field
Make the effort to join field-specific organizations in your area. Attend their events, network and form relationships with other professionals in the same field. Subscribe to field-specific publications to stay informed on the trends in the field. You could also join online forums with other professionals in your field. Connect with recruiters who specialize in recruiting for your field. Even if you are still applying for jobs on your own, it is always beneficial to connect with recruiters who can also contact you if their clients are looking to fill positions that could be a fit for you. Post your resume on sites like Monster, Career Builder, Indeed and LinkedIn so that recruiters can find you. My last two job opportunities started with a recruiter seeing my resume online and reaching out to me. It works.
Once you think you have a good grasp of what is you would like your career path to be and how you can get there, it’s time to set some goals. You can do this on your own or with the help of a career coach. Set short-term and long-term goals. Consistently evaluate your progress and adjust as necessary.
You may have to take a step back to move forward in your new career path. That means you may have to take lower-level or lower paying job initially to get that foot in the door of the field you want to be in. This step back will catapult you to where you ultimately want to be. There are times you may feel discouraged on your new journey but remember Mr. Winston Churchill’s advice to “never, never, never give up”.