Monday, December 5, 2011

Making a Career Change: Step 7 Putting It All Together

Previously: Step 6: Looking to Others

Let's review. Thus far you've looked back into your past and examined previous jobs, your interests and influences, and generally the important factors that have shaped your professional life. Next you looked at your current job and examined what it is you like and dislike. Then you looked inside yourself and examined your skills, values and what you have to offer. Finally, you spoke to others who know you to see how you are perceived in the work place and to learn what areas you need to improve. Inbetween you have hopefully interspersed some physical activity and are feeling energized by the stress relief benefits.

Now what?

You may remember this is the part of my career change where the build up of all the work I did lead to the career counselor telling me that I should look for marketing jobs. You know that sound when a contestant loses on The Price Is Right? That's what I felt like when she said that.

Step 7: Putting It All Together
Grab your notebook.
  1. Spend time some flipping though your notebook and relfecting on what you read. Are there any  common themes?
  2. Use the information in your notebook to write your own job description. If there was a job that no other person in the world could do but you, what would the advertisement for that job opening say?
  3. Make a list of careers and industries that you've been thinking you might like to explore.
  4. Start reading job descriptions in these industries. Look at the skills they are asking for and the level of education required. Notice the years of expereince needed. If the number of years exceeds the number you currently have, find a job description in that industry that asks for the number of years you have. The job you want may be a down the road and you may need to take a different one in the new industry first.
  5. Start researching those industries. Look at the companies. Go online and read blogs and articles about those industries. Learn about their trends and innovations. Learn about hiring trends taking place within these industires. Find conferences you can attend and journals you can read.
  6. Considered any gaps you find in the skills and education needed for these industries and think about filling those gaps. Will you need to go back to school? Can you assume new responsibilities in your current job to help fill those gaps? Can you volunteer in your area to gain experience that will help fill the gaps?
I learned the hard way that there is no magic formula or computer program that can spit out exactly what it is you should be doing. Even if there was, how would it know what you want to do? This is where career cousellors step out and you step in and take over. You need to answser the tough questions.

Your notebook is now a resource filled with many pieces that together constitue the whole of who you are, what you have to offer and how you can get where you want to go. So don't rush this step. Take time to review it, consider what you see in that notebook and what you see yourself doing next. Remember, the best thing that can come out of this step in the process is an understanding of what you want to do. What you REALLY want to do. Once you determine that, you can start your research using the questions above and other resources like the internet, conferences and journals to begin to see how you match  what you want to do next and if you don't what you can do to become a match.

Up Next: Step 8: Looking to Your Nework

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