These tips are brought to you as a result of research and findings from real career coaching clients of mine. Together they form a strategy to help you achieve that career change you’ve been thinking about. Be warned though; it takes commitment, but the rewards are worth it! Good Luck in your career change!
1. Bring the best you to the table As a career coach, when people come to me to discuss a potential new career, they are often at a point of crisis in their career. They may have been experiencing negativity from a line manager or colleagues. So when you’re planning a career change, with or without engaging a career coach, I would urge you to really focus on the task in hand; you need to bring the best version of you to any decisions about career or life. I use guided meditations and visualizations to allow you to tap into you “Higher Self”, or as a pragmatist I’d say it’s more than just “trying to be positive”. I suggest you allow yourself the time and space to focus on this life changing decision you are about to make. How about writing a list of ten things that you like about yourself, as a primer to get into the right frame of mind?
2. Know yourself There is a natural urge to steam ahead with the job hunting, but we are talking career change here right? I mean, isn’t it worth taking that step back and really looking at yourself closely to ensure that your next career transition is worthy of your values. If I tell you that in my career change programme, 8 out of 12 sessions are exploration based, you might begin to see the depth that I recommend. A simple personality profile test, and there are many available, will be a good starting point.
3. Skills inventory Think Transferable Skills here; what generic skills (e.g. staff management, sales skills, financial, budgeting, project mgmt.) do you have? Make a list and keep that list visible on a day to day basis, so you can add to it as ideas come to you.
4. Your career / Life goals I hope that you’re beginning to see that sitting down with a blank sheet of paper, and creating lists is the only way to truly begin with many of these tips. As a career coach, I help people to really look deeply into what it is that they want, in both life and career. This cannot be dealt with superficially and takes some honest soul searching. Perhaps you could even ask others (past managers, colleagues, friends) to tell you what they think of you! You may be in for a pleasant surprise!
5. Create a list No, not a list of jobs that you might like, not even a list of themes (later!!), but “factors” about jobs which might appeal to you. I’ve nothing against window cleaners I assure you, but I use this as an example when I’m speaking to clients about this; say you saw a window cleaner doing their job – it’s not about “Would I like to be a window cleaner?”(Or any other job for that matter), but are there factors, or aspects of that job you’d like? Working your own hours? Meeting new people? Being your own boss? Many people also start with getting the Sunday job supplements, and cutting out words, pictures, statements which appeal (don’t “edit” yourself at this stage). Doing this in a visual / collage style really helps to form a picture of what job aspects appeal to you.
6. Allow yourself to dream When you’re thinking about a new career, I ask you not to “edit” yourself initially. Imagine a jelly fish expanding and contracting… This is the expanding stage, and it relates strongly to previous point. Think about jobs you’ve always wanted to do, things you dreamt about as a child, get it all down on paper. There will be plenty of time to whittle things down later on.
7. Look for themes So by now you’ll have a few long list, possible a collage, and many thoughts about your life and career. Specifically within the work themes and work aspects you’ve listed, you now need to work through them, and try to get all of the (hopefully many!) differing themes down into three workable, realistic for you, options.
8. Find your path This is a tough challenge, and one that takes a lot of soul searching and decision making. Remember the jelly fish? We’re now contracting, getting those three themes down to one! “Wow! How do I do that?” I hear you ask. It’s not easy but will require digging deep into each of the three themes to find out what each one really means to you, why it meet your values, and life purpose. Just take your time and work through it. It has to be your choice in the end.
9. Action plan. The preceding eight points are for nought without a meaningful, “smart” action plan, which details people, dates, activities that you will need to undertake in order to move closer toward your ideal career. It’s all about bridging that gap between an idea, and making that idea a reality.
10. Commitment I’d like to re-focus you back to the opening sentence of point one. If you’re seriously considering a career change, then it’s best to set aside proper time to put your ideas into action. This whole process is designed to change your life and career for the better, but it takes serious commitment, so try to ensure that you are distraction-free when you’re making lists, or thinking things through. Commitment is probably the key point that will determine success or failure with this process. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to help you. Contact me for a free career assessment.