With the world beginning to tentatively re-open there has been a definite jolt in the world of work as we are seeing the job market waking up once again.
It will be interesting to see what job seekers are also on the hunt for from their work in these ‘new normal’ times (I know — sorry — had to say it despite hating that phrase — if you know of a better one then please tell me)
I am predicting that there will be several types of job hunters:
- those that have been made redundant who may well be desperate for work
- those that are suspecting they will soon be let go and may well feel slightly panicked as to what the future holds
- those who have been considering a career change for some time and see this as a fresh start
If you are in one of those groups then read on to discover the essential 5 steps to make not only a rewarding, but also positive career change.
Step 1 — What do you really want to do?
This, for many people, is a tough question to answer so let’s break it down and ask even more questions (I’m in Coaching Heaven!)
- Where do you get your energy from?
- What gives you joy?
- What are you good at? In fact, what are you known for? What do people ask you specifically to do or help with?
- What do you both enjoy doing that energises you and that you are good at?
- What will people pay you to do?
- What are you good at, gives you energy and that you can potentially earn an income from?
Now, your ‘purpose’ may not manifest itself as your career (read my article on Career Passion to get a new perspective on this), however, chances are you will identify certain elements of what you really want to do, are good at and that people will pay for which you can now choose to incorporate into your current career to enjoy it more, progress or you may decide to find a role that utilises these elements far more.
Step 2 — Your Career Audit
Let’s take a look at what you really want from a career. This will be different for us all, however, when I work with clients on this the career areas that come up time and time again are:
- Value of the work I am doing
- The impact I can make
- The scope for growth and development
- The package I will receive (salary & benefits)
- The people I will work with
- Life-work balance — flexible working, work from home options, commute, stress/pressure of the role
- Stability and security of my role and the company
Once you have discovered what your core career ‘values’ are this will help you refine your search and shortlist your options when it comes to what you want to do and what that gives back to you.
You may realise that your current career ticks several boxes so ask yourself “what is missing?” or “what is not working?”
This will invariably highlight the changes you need to make which may be a shift in industry, a move to a different organisation, an aligned role but with some variances, more or less responsibility, doing what you do now but as a consultant or on a freelance or part time basis.
Still want to make a drastic change? If so — read on…
Step 3 — Your ‘You’ Audit
Now it is time to delve into what you bring to a role and I use several tools with my clients to really uncover all of their skills, strengths, experience and expertise — their career USP’S as it were.
- Look Back to Learn — evaluate your career history and note down in each role you have had what your greatest achievements were, how you made that happen, what the impact was and what you have learnt. This will reveal how you have shaped your career and potentially vice versa. It may also highlight any patterns that you have encountered in your working life — some you may want to continue and others you will want to break away from.
- Superpower your Skills — I send a spreadsheet exercise to clients at this stage so that they can fully evaluate all of their skills as we tend to only focus on the skills we use the most. In this instance, take a look back at your career history and add in the top skills you gained and used in each role. Now mark those that you actually like doing, rank them and then start looking for roles which demand your highest ranking skills.
- Cement your Strengths — thinking about each of your strengths, first of all rate the extent to which that strength energises you from 1–5 (1 is low, 5 is high), then list your top 7 to 10 strengths that really energise you. How can you now start using them more in what you do? What roles require them? How can you highlight them on your CV and LinkedIn profile?
Step 4 — Explore your Options
The previous steps have already touched on this in terms of researching what careers take into account what you want to do, your skills and strengths and what a career should do for you.
Here are some tips to help with your option refining, especially if you are not sure where to start or are feeling overwhelmed with the information you are finding (that Google rabbit hole is a deep one)
- Who do you know who can give you insight into the career(s) you are looking at? People love to help and give advise so now is the time to tap into your network of friends, family, current and ex-colleagues, LinkedIn, your book/gardening/rugby club pals and start asking.
- What more information do you need and where can you get it? Consider talks, seminars, webinars, podcasts you can watch, attend or listen to in order to gain more insight.
- What courses are available to you? Many are free, most are still online and are a great way to try before you buy or commit to a drastic change. I went on a 2 day free coaching certification course before I really knew that I wanted to re-train to be a career and confidence coach. It gave me the chance to explore the techniques, understand the teaching and training style and see if I actually enjoyed it.
- Network with those who are doing what you want to do. I know this sounds like a repeat of my first point but as 75% of jobs come from those who you know it is worth hammering this one home. Take people for coffee, wine, dinner — hell all 3 if needs be and be bold — tell them you are thinking of making a change and ask them how they can help you or who they know who can help you. People like to help people they like — it’s career karma.
Step 5 — Plan, prepare and plan some more
Sounds dull but this is essential as if you don’t have a plan then chances are you will be reading this article in a year’s time or so and feeling very frustrated with yourself, after all:
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail
(attributed to Benjamin Franklin, overused by my father — however they have a point)
Ask yourself “how big is the change I am wanting to make?” as if it looks to be too much of a risk ask “how can I know this for sure?”
If it will be too much of a risk then you can see how you can mitigate the risks by breaking the change down into stepping stone stages. For example, there was no way in which I could afford to give up my job as I retrained to be a fully qualified personal and business coach so I carried on working whilst training and studying.
Now you must set and stick to deadlines (easier said than done I know) but without a timeline for your change then you may find you are only getting so far.
For each stage on your timeline map out what the obstacles may be that you will come across as you will need to plan as to how to overcome them.
One major hurdle for many when it comes to changing careers are the funds to do it — whether than be costs of retraining, studying or just starting out at the bottom again. So get budgeting, start saving, cut back and, crucially, have a vey open conversation with whoever else this may affect.
You may want to consider free courses, secondments, trialling a new role in your existing organisation etc.
This is not an easy process as it will take time, can be emotionally draining and often demoralising — keep in mind your why — why do you want to make this change?
For example you may be craving better life-work balance which is great and now ask yourself why do you want more balance?
To spend more time with my family — lovely — why though?
So I can really bond with my children and have quality time with my partner — marvellous — why?
To be a more integral part of their lives, be a positive influence on them and because they bring me so much love and joy.
The more you define what you really want — your ideal — then the more dead set you will be on getting it.
You will need to be proactive — these are simple steps but they demand your time and effort and energy so ensure you have your resources to hand of support from loved ones, money if required, blocked out time to take action, patience and determination.
Finally — be open to every opportunity but don’t say yes unless it is ticking enough of your boxes. You may be offered the chance to shadow someone for 2 weeks or asked to do an internship or perhaps a short contract role — work out what will work for you just as much as you will work for it.
Go for it and good luck! If you want more advise from a career specialist or career coaching then don’t hesitate to get in touch today firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published at https://www.kate-bishop.co.uk on May 12, 2021.