Friday 9th September, 2011 – Briggate Street, Leeds
It’s not every Friday that a bright orange bus with a Fairy Jobmother aboard, appears on Briggate Street in Leeds. The long queues that had become a common sight outside our bus each morning, had once again begun to appear out of thin air and Lifetime, Brook Street, Yorkshire Water and Barclays set up stalls outside our bus to answer questions and brief jobseekers about job opportunities currently in stock.
As the day progressed, CVs got reviewed, advice was handed out and hope began spreading round, the clouds weren’t the only thing shifting. Many had begun to start planning their career shift. It is not uncommon to set off in one direction and then have a change of heart. Yet, as daunting as the thought of shifting careers is, in the longer term is can prove more fulfilling and help you achieve greater levels of professional success. If you don’t really enjoy what you do, this will impact on your overall performance.
If you are thinking of shifting careers, there are a few things to think about so your transition is smooth:
• Make sure you actually want to change career – evaluate what it is you don’t like about your current situation – the job itself, the organisation, its culture, or even your boss? It might be that you actually like the role or industry so should look for a similar job at a different organisation.
• Understand what motivates you – what really makes you come alive? Look at what you enjoy doing outside work - what are you passionate about? Now try to apply that to a career. Ask friends to describe you as well as they often see things we don’t.
• Focus on your strengths and understand your weaknesses – psychometric tests are a great way of identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Instead of trying to overcome your weaknesses, leave the things you’re not good at to someone who is and focus on your strengths.
• Identify that dream job – match your motivations, strengths, preferred working styles and goals to specific roles, industries, and types of organisations (small or large, public or private, entrepreneurial or traditional etc.)
• Write a plan – actually putting something down on paper makes it real and forces you to think about how you are going to achieve it. Write down your career objectives with realistic targets.
• Get your finances in order – often people start their career shift journey but then go back to their original roles when money gets tight. Your shift may involve a pay cut, so ensure you have enough money to tide you over.
• Surround yourself with success stories – not only are they are a great source of inspiration but they’ve done it themselves so are also a great source of ideas and practical tips.
• Be positive – instead of focusing on what you don’t have (lack of experience, resources), focus on what you do have (passion, commitment). There may be obstacles in your path; rather than viewing them as insurmountable, ask yourself what you need to do to surpass them?
• Don’t let rejection get you down – whatever your career change, you are going to get rejected at some point and most likely at the beginning. View every no as one step closer to a yes.
• Do something today (and every day) – the hardest part can be getting started so do something towards your goal today. And it’s easy to get sidetracked or give up, so give yourself a task each day to keep you on track.
Are you thinking of changing careers and need advice or have you recently changed careers and would like to share you experience? Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.