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Top 7 Strategies for Securing a New Career
By Martin Goodall
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Career change is becoming a natural occurrence, and most studies show that the average job-seeker will change career several times over the course of their lifetime. There are many situations people find themselves in that leads them to investigate a career change, but whatever the reason it can often be a confusing and demanding time, so it is important to take it slowly and apply the following strategies.
- Assess your career so far.
Firstly, identify the real motives for changing career, rather than just changing job/employer. Then look at the activities you like being involved in, decide your personal strengths, and establish your key values. Doing this in a clear and methodical way will help you identify the types of career that you think you could be suitable for.
By the time you have assessed your career you will have possibly had a few ideas of what other types of work you could do. However, you may not know enough about them to know whether you are suited or will actually like the work when it comes down to it.
This is where a personal career assessment profile is a vital addition to your assessment. A good quality profile will help you to understand yourself in a completely different way, and should match your interests and personality with relevant career options. It should show you a much wider range of careers that you are particularly suited too.
- Identify & research new career options.
You now need to spend time researching the types of careers that play to your strengths and the activities you like doing. The internet has a wealth of information about particular career opportunities and you can easily find out everything you need to know about specific companies and organisations. You need to spend as much time as possible using the internet and other resources to research these things.
This stage can seem quite daunting, and you may feel a bit unsure, but don’t worry, it's a natural part of the career change process. There is some very useful career change information resources and skills-matching services available on the web.
- Market yourself.
It is possible in some of the very progressive employers to change career within your current employer. These employers tend to recognize that some unhappy employees can become happy and productive again in a different capacity, and will be willing to provide some continued education and training. If you feel your current employer is in this category then remember to not start asking about a job switch until you are completely ready to do so. For the rest of us however, it's more than likely that we will need to switch employers to change career.
The objective in self marketing is to convert initial contacts and approaches into meetings, and more meetings, and subsequently job offers. The first step in effective self-marketing is to get your marketing materials in order, and that means getting your resume or CV in order. This is not simply a case of listing your career so far, but being creative in the presentation of your strengths and achievements, highlighting the activities you actually like, and making sure your values are clearly represented.
- Refresh your job hunting skills.
It may be some time since you were last in the job market, so now would be a good time to refresh your job-hunting tools and skills. This will be even more important when looking to change career, as the 'rules of engagement' may be different than you are used to. Consider spending some time improving your skills in the following areas:
• guide to researching companies
• resume resources
• cover letter resources
• interviewing resources
• salary negotiation resources
- Get out there and network.
One of the secrets to successfully changing career will be your networking abilities. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, or offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry. Try to increase your network by getting out and meeting more people. Over 80% of jobs never get advertised as they are taken up by those who are introduced to those companies through networking. Networking is therefore a key aspect to career change.
- Find a coach or mentor.
Changing career is a major life decision that can get overwhelming at times. Find a career coach or a mentor who can help you through the rough patches. A mentor would be someone you know of who may also be able to help you by taking advantage of his or her network. They don’t have to be a highly placed individual, though the more powerful the mentor, the more success you may have in using that power to your advantage. Building a relationship with your mentor helps them understand your reasons to change career and could open doors that would otherwise remain closed.
- Be Flexible.
Flexibility will be the key to any career change. Remember, you will be starting a new career, so you may not be able to obtain similar job status in your initial position. Try to be as flexible as possible with nearly everything, including location and salary. You should expect setbacks and challenges, as well as the need to revise your expectations. To ensure these things don’t get you down, keep motivated and set positive goals for yourself. Try not to exclude a sideways move to act as a stepping stone for a bigger career change later.
Martin Goodall is Founder and Executive Coach at Career Change Solutions. His website, http://www.careerchangesolutions.com, is dedicated to helping career changers identify the options available to them and to equip them in their career search. It offers a FREE career-change email course, an in-depth career change guide, as well as providing resume-writing tips, advice on interviewing, and a wealth of other resources.
Article Submitted On: January 03, 2006