Career Change Advice

By: Ann Ronan, Ph.D.

Tough words….but I truly believe that folks who make career changes should be applauded for their courage. The courage to live closer to their authentic selves. The courage to put aside all the negativity we hear about the economy. The courage to face their own fears.

Most people will change careers 5-10 times in their lifetimes. Not just jobs – but whole new careers. At the same time, we’re not taught how to go about this in the best way –how to evaluate what careers fit us best – how to choose work that makes our heart sing!

If you are considering a career change, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Know thyself. Give yourself time to really get in touch with yourself.

What do you value most in your work? What skills do you really love doing? What natural talents and gifts do you have that you must use to serve others?

2. Go on an exploration. Be curious. Ask lots of folks about their work. Make a list of everything you’ve ever considered doing –even if it seems outlandish. Then make a list of questions you’d like to get answered about those careers. This website can give you some good information about skills needed, education requirements and salary ranges for many careers: http://online.onetcenter.org/. As you get your questions answered, start making commitments about what you WILL have in your next career. Narrow down your choices until you’ve settled on one to target.

3. Go after it! Put together a job search campaign. Make a list of at least 5 different strategies you’ll use to go after your best work. These can include networking, making a list of contacts to call, online job seeking on specialized job boards, online seeking of specific companies’ job postings, sending targeted letters to organizations you’d like to work for even if they don’t have jobs posted.

Set weekly and daily goals and get a support partner to help keep you accountable to reaching your goals.

Changing careers takes good strategies, courage and support. And it can be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. Congratulations on taking this first step!

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