10 Tips for Successful Career TransitionsSelf, Employment
Life is full of transition and change, and for most of us this includes career transitions. Here are 10 tips to prepare for and help you navigating career change well.
1. Understand yourself. As you consider a career change, know what motivates you. Do you want to use more of your skills? Are you looking for increased flexibility? Do you need more challenge? Knowing your strengths, skills, interests, values, and personal style may help you plan next steps in your career.
2. Write a personal mission statement. Clarify your purpose for living and working; articulate your “passion in life.”
3. Establish your priorities. If you don’t know what’s most important, it’s difficult to narrow down options. Evaluate and focus on relevant components of your career decision to eliminate distractions and identify options that are a great fit.
4. Recognize trends. Understanding labour market trends can help you find a niche where your skills will be in demand. Work that capitalizes on several trends concurrently is likely to be the most stable.
5. Activate your network. Most job opportunities come through networking, so it’s crucial to let your contacts know what types of work you’re looking for and exactly how your qualifications fit. Nurture your network by building relationships and finding ways to give back (e.g., pass on brilliant ideas, contract leads, or imaginative solutions to problems your contacts have shared).
6. Access the hidden job market. Don’t over-rely on advertised jobs. Instead, research positions that interest you and engage in informational interviews (e.g., buy someone coffee or lunch) to learn more about industries, organizations, or particular job opportunities that might be looking for someone like you. As stated in an ancient Chinese proverb: “A single conversation across the table with a wise [person] is worth a month’s study of books.”
7. Update your resume. Keep your resume and/or CV current with recent activities (e.g., volunteer experiences, certifications, training). Ensure your resume is reader-focused and visually appealing.
8. Prepare for interviews. Interviews are the gateway to employment opportunities, so it’s essential to understand the process and know how to shine. Have solid answers to personally challenging questions, provide evidence of your accomplishments, and tailor your responses to fit the interviewers’ level of technical expertise (i.e., a hiring manager will be more interested in specific job skills, an HR manager will be looking at general fit with the organization, and a member of the senior executive may be evaluating your potential for future opportunities).
9. Tell STAR stories. Many employers use a targeted behavioural interviewing approach to assess job candidates; this interview style is based on the belief that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Questions may begin with “Tell me about a time that . . .” or “What did you do when . . . ?” Use the STAR acronym (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to prepare 3 – 5 examples of relevant stories that illustrate the types of competencies the employer is seeking.
10. Seek work-life balance. Consider the elements in a balanced life: relationships, physical and emotional well-being, intellectual stimulation, work and leisure activities, self-care, and spirituality. Make conscious decisions about the relative importance of each of these aspects in your life and set clear boundaries to ensure that your roles and responsibilities are sustainable.
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