Reinvent Yourself: A Road Map to Finding a New Career Path
You’re stuck in a rut, staring at the killer B’s of boredom and burnout. You’re unhappy and deep down you know it’s time to make a career move. But, where? And how?
A career change can be good. Making the shift from the same-old to something new can be energizing. But, some advice on how to change careers – and do it as smoothly as possible – can help.
Do Your Research
Job search website Monster.com recommends “some intense introspection” before taking the plunge. Do a thorough self-assessment. Make a list of skills from previous jobs and transferable skills you can bring to a new job, along with your strongest personality traits. Choose words that will grab a prospective employer’s attention
Look at companies in your target field and see what the job market’s like. Find out what kinds of qualities their decision-makers are looking for. Start networking with pros in the field and get a sense of what it’s like to work there, and what you need to bring to the table. Look at the field‘s long-term growth prospects.
If possible financially, get a part-time job or internship and test the waters.
Learn By Example
Many people have gone through radical career transformations. Some athletes and dancers have to find new careers in their 30s and 40s because of the physical demands or injuries associated with their work. Mario Lemieux went from hockey player to team owner.
Some transitions are less extreme and more organic. In 2002, for example, Denis Vranich, an Ontario real estate developer, secured a franchise development deal with Quiznos Canada and opened several stores throughout Ontario. In four years, he divested these properties and returned to a growing industry — the development of green buildings.
British businessman David Bartram, meanwhile, made the move from a career in finance to head of ventures with UnLtd., a London company that supports social entrepreneurs. “I made sure I knew what it was that I wanted to do. And I discovered that that was using the power of business to help society,” he said in a Career Shifters interview.
It’s Never Too Soon — Or Too Late — To Make The Leap
If you’re in the early years of your career, don’t do anything rash. Maybe you’ve just started a job and you’re unhappy. Give it a little more time before making a life-changing move.
But, don’t wait too long. Burnout takes a psychological and emotional toll, and will drain you of what you need to push forward. Make the change while you still have energy and drive and room to grow.
A midlife shift is more of a challenge, but not impossible. Look at others who hit their professional stride later in life. Your life-work experience can often be something you won’t learn in any college course.
Edit that resume: it doesn’t need to be a museum of everything you’ve ever done. Focus on strengths and what you’ve done lately. Delete dates for older life events, like graduation.
Avoid Common Mistakes
Take your time and analyze your next moves. If you don’t, you’re just buying another ticket on the boredom and burnout express.
Don’t plunge into the current “hot” career path. It may not be the right fit for you, just like that size zero dress you think you need.
Money isn’t everything. Just because you can make a lot of it doesn’t mean you’ll be happy in a job you hate.
Be prepared financially. You’ll probably be taking a pay cut. You might need to pay for continuing education. Having a cash reserve helps.