It can be the perfect time to re-evaluate your career path and here’s a few tips for you who are determined to find a new job or start a new career this year.
The toughest thing is often knowing where to start! My advice is to start with yourself and identify what’s really important to you. You’re probably used to receiving job and role specifications and try and match your skills and experiences to them, but have you ever reversed this exercise to develop the perfect spec of a job for YOU? The more specific you can be the better – what would make time fly by and make you feel excited with what you’ve achieved? Remember to include what’s really important for you to feel at work? Contribution, autonomy, belonging, recognition, challenge, balance…. Then look for roles out there that match your specification.
This is key to minimising the risks, maximising your chances of success and making it as smooth a transition as possible. I’ve broken it down into three parts:
A. Look at your finances and plan how to enable a career change financially, maybe allowing for some time between jobs or for a pay cut if the change of direction dictates this. How could you scale back on your spendings, how much could you put away as savings and over what timescale before the change, is there someone who’d support you financially?
B. Planning a practical action plan with timescales facilitating your move is very important to make sure you cover all important points and stay on track. This may include what networking events to attend, updating your CV and online profiles to match the job in hand or completing a course to gain skills and qualifications in the area you’re moving into.
C. Planning your support network for your various needs during this time. Maybe financial support as previously mentioned. If you have children, who can help you minding them when you’re attending courses or networking events? Who do you know that could make important introductions and open doors for you? Last but not least, who will give you emotional support to encourage you, keep you going, push you when needed and celebrate your successes with you?
Changing jobs, and particularly careers, can be a pretty scary thing to do. What if the next career choice isn’t any more enjoyable? Don’t forget, if you’re unhappy at work, the only job you’re guaranteed not to enjoy is the one you’re in now!
It’s only by doing something that anything will happen. Talking about it won’t be enough – you need to take action. And on those days when you feel less strong or motivated, take some action, however small, despite the temptation not to. Physically doing something both alters your negative state and will get you closer to your end goal. Doing nothing reinforces the state you’re in and gets you nowhere.
Regularly tell yourself you can and will do it and remember to recognise your successes. The little and the big – they’ll keep you going.
Good luck with your job hunt!