4 steps to start your career change journey
You’ve identified you want to change your career – congratulations on figuring it out and making the decision!
If you want your next career chapter to feel truly meaningful and aligned, the first and most important step before you move on to any of the practical steps I'm sharing below is to get crystal clear on what you want.
I want you to be able to answer questions, such as -
What would fulfilment at work look like for me? What would alignment with work look like for me? What would expressing myself at work look like? Answering these questions will help you move forward intentionally.
On a practical level, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s going to be very challenging to narrow in on a role, company, industry, or sector with any real conviction or effectiveness.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you get started with your next career move:
Tailor Your CV
Once you've identified what you want next, and you start looking for work, examine the sorts of job descriptions for the roles you want to apply for. You want to identify the specific skills and qualities employers seem to be looking for so that you can describe yourself with the same keywords that the company uses. Your CV will be “discovered” in a keyword search of the database, and the keywords used most often come from the job description.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Once you’re clear that you’re ready to move on, update your LinkedIn profile to let companies know you're seeking employment (bear in mind that colleagues may be able to see this update). Just like you did with your CV, tailor your profile to take into account the common keywords, transferable skills and qualities often used in the job descriptions you’ve seen so far.
Especially if you’re making a big career shift, you have a chance to tell your own story before someone dives into your experience. This is your opportunity to effectively tell your story — a coherent, cohesive one. Follow the companies you’d love to work for in order to keep on top of relevant news. Share relevant articles with your network, and consistently post updates to demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge to prospective employers, too.
Talk to People
If you’re seeking an opportunity, never underestimate the power of reaching out to people. Statistics show that 80% of new jobs are found through conversations. It’s rarely random when an exciting opportunity comes out of the blue. It’s much more likely to do with the way you have managed your visibility — people have approached you because they know something about you.
If this all feels daunting, know that you don’t have to ‘network’ or deliver a slick ‘elevator pitch’. The secret to getting the outcome you want is having authentic, genuine conversations with people. Listening and asking great questions. Asking more than you tell. And finally, knowing and being able to share, in a few words, what it is that you are looking for.
Figure Out Your Finances
The reality is when you change your career, chances are you'll start with a job with a lower title that pays less, or, especially if you’re starting your own business, it takes time to create a steady stream of income. Making sure your finances are in order, perhaps having some savings in place, will help the transition be more smooth. Really figure out what financial runway you’d need to feel more comfortable through the transition. This is where you might consider going part-time first or starting a side hustle (anything from volunteer work with an organisation that’s in that new industry you want to go into, to starting your business part-time on the evenings/weekends) before you make a full move.
It can feel really scary to step into the unknown, which is why we often come up with a long list of reasons for why it’s not the right time. Our mind will never be ready to take a leap into an unfamiliar territory. In the end, you have to go with your heart. You may not think that you’re ready, but you feel that you are.
If you’ve been contemplating a pivot, a shift, in your life or career, I invite you to take the time to explore and get abundantly clear on what alignment really feels like for your next chapter. Don’t rush the process of discovering what that thing is, even if it takes a little longer it’ll all be worth it in the end.
P.s. Here are a few more blog posts you might find useful on the journey of career transition: