What’s the best way to change career or direction at work?

Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

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We’re working in a world where loyalty is what you get from a dog, and career certainty or job security is all but eroded. There are also so many more career choices “out there” that it is quite foreseeable that you will get bored in your job and decide to change career at some point. I don’t wish to over-simplify this – because it is not easy, although it can be exciting – but I think I can simplify it to 4 steps.

1. Decide what the new career direction is you want to take and find out everything you can about it. Research it to the Nth degree. Spend time with people you may know in that career / industry. Often other careers appear easier / more likable because you are not aware of what goes on behind the scenes. People think that my job as a speaker, “corporate mentalist” and consultant is easy and glamorous – it has it down sides – like spending hours on airports and eating airline food. Also the hours of research and preparation for keynotes and consulting meetings in industries I’m not always familiar with. Nobody sees that. So nobody understands the downsides until they’re immersed in it.

2. Get the necessary qualifications (if required) while you’re still in your current job. A friend of mine, Karyn, was an investment banker in London for several years until she realised that neither London nor investment banking was where she wanted to be. So she started doing short courses and qualifications in alternative medicine and massage therapy. When she had completed that, she quit, moved to Cape Town and has bought an existing practice in Muizenberg.

3. Use your network. Start connecting with people in your network who have exposure into your new career, thereby expanding your reach. Remember it’s not who you know, but who knows you!! A very high percentage of senior management positions as well general recruitment takes place as a result of introductions from personal networks and not merely from employment agency CV’s. And on the CV note, your biggest challenge will be your lack of experience in your new career, so you’ll need to highlight other experiences in your professional life that would augment your new career / job.

4. Do it. Start branding yourself in your new job / career using your social media networks (LinkedIn) and real networks. Get your new CV out there on websites like Job Crystal and send it to recruiters who specialise in your new job.

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