It takes a lot of time, frustration, dissatisfaction, hesitation, and confusion to decide to take the leap and shift your career. It’s a courageous decision, to leave the job you are familiar with, and probably excel at, and go begin a new whole career! I’m on your side, but I know that this shift is more likely to fail than you hope.
Many professionals take calculated, thoroughly planned, well-thought leaps to new careers, and still FAIL! I’ve met many of them in career coaching sessions, and I can tell you, it is very easy to fail, if you don’t avoid the mistakes in this article.
This article is based on true stories!
You think it’s too late for a career shift
It’s challenging to start something new. New is unknown. New is unpredictable. New is fearful. Realizing it’s time to change your career is one thing, and taking tangible actions towards the full shift is another.
It’s not too late. The transition can be challenging without a proper plan but it’s certainly doable. A lot of people have done it, so what do you think makes you unable to do it?
Throughout all your years doing the same old job, you’ve picked up a number of essential skills and qualifications that are pretty much are needed in other jobs. You are not starting from scratch. You will, of course, need to fill in some knowledge gaps in your new career, but you’re still a highly qualified professional.
You are career-shifting for the wrong reasons
There are so many reasons why you’d want to leave your current job and consider another opportunity. But you have to take a minute and think of the reasons why you want to leave the job that you have now and have been doing for quite some time now.
If you really like your job, but don’t like your manager, or the company culture, current salary, or even your colleagues (we all have that one annoying teammate, but is he or she annoying enough to consider leaving the company?). We’ve all been there! Then the course of action would be to consider your career values and try to find out what you hate about your current job. Maybe look for a new job, the same job at a different company with better conditions.
If there’s NOTHING wrong with the company or the people, and you just hate the job, look for another position.
- Remember to tailor your CV and online profile to reflect the transferable skills that will help you in the new job you’re applying for.
Now if you’re unhappy with all of the above, the people, the company, the industry and the job, you need to consider shifting your career!
You don’t know what career you want to shift to
We’ve all been this confused before, whether as a part of a career shift struggle or even right at the beginning of our professional life. It’s simply because we don’t have enough self-awareness of what we truly like doing and what we should look for in our jobs.
Lack of self-awareness can be a huge block in your career shifting process. You have to make sure that you understand what you want to do and what you are capable of doing. Otherwise, you’ll feel like a fish out of the water; feeling doubt, helplessness, and regret.
Learn your must-haves in your job, what you have done as a part of your job and/or as a hobby that you genuinely enjoy. If you have an answer to this, then you might need to write it down and look for the jobs that should give you a chance to do that as a part of your daily tasks.
Consider career coaching, it can save you time that you might not have the privilege of wasting.
Taking the leap without a strategy
Once you decide on a career, it’s easy to get carried away with your enthusiasm to try the new field. Without a strategy, this enthusiasm may turn into disappointment.
Online Research skills are handy here!
You have to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Collecting information about the job is not as easy as it sounds. Think back to before you started the job you have now, was it exactly as what you thought it was? Expectations don’t often match reality.
Visit WUZZUF and look for the job title that you’re considering and see what the job responsibilities are. Ask your friends if they know anything about that job you have in mind. Contact professionals working in the field online and maybe ask them about the day to day operations of the job you like.
Your transferable skills can be a winning card. Play it right!
Even if you’re still unsure of what your next gig can be, you have to know what sort of tasks and/or skills you will, thankfully, leave behind and what you will bring over to the new job. The transferable skills are as important as the technical skills of any job. [examples: communication, teamwork, performance management, even as simple as numeracy skills. All of which are important].
If you have the chance to know a start-up or a friend’s business that can offer you the chance to try it out for a month or something (part-time or consultancy if you have some related business background). That would be great. You’ll get a chance to test it out. You might get surprised by what you’ll learn. You might even change your mind about the idea of a career shift. Utilize your network!
What network? I have no professional network
Wrong! Everyone you know professionally or otherwise is your network. Your manager, ex-manager, work colleagues or previous team members, family and friends, they’re all your network. What I mean here is a network, not a backdoor “wasta”(nepotism in slang Egyptian Arabic language). There is a big difference between “wasta” and your nerwork.
Your “network” can introduce you to someone who could help you with information about the job. Or maybe tell you which companies are hiring. They can also tell you what you need to learn to career-shift with less hassle to you.
Starting with the traditional application process
We all like to believe that our qualifications are enough to sway the recruiters’ decisions in our favour. But the truth is, they’re not! Going about the career shift with only a fancy CV and a well-written cover letter is not going to be an easy task. Applying for a job online without any sort of relevance to the field you’re considering the shift to is going to take you a looooooong time.
While both are two of the most important cornerstones in any recruitment process, but relying only on them is futile. You still ought to go through the steps mentioned above before this point.
One last thing to remember here, it’s not an easy to change something you’ve spent years doing. You might feel like you haven’t made any progress or you can’t see any silver lining. Any step toward leaving what doesn’t satisfy you and looking for what makes you happy is a step in the right direction. It’s never too late to change the road.
If you were to shift your career, what will you shift to?