Done with your current career path and planning to switch to a new line of work? In this article, you’ll understand the right things to do and helpers to connect with before changing careers. We'll elaborate on the 3 people you must first connect with before changing to a new line of work.
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People change careers for different reasons. For some, it could be the want for career growth opportunities. You’ve probably attained the pinnacle of your career path and things are beginning to look a bit humdrum.
You need action. You want to have skin in the game like in your younger years. And you feel somewhat stuck despite achieving career advancement and success.
You’re at an impasse and seriously considering jumping on another train for new vistas and nicer perspectives. While for others, it could be more of a personal accomplishment—a life goal you’ve nestled through the years, and finally, you contend to yourself that it’s time.
It is a great thing to achieve one’s goals and nothing feels more satisfying. With reference to my last work on career stagnation, we are by nature disinclined to grapple with the colorless, the uninteresting, the mundane.
If your current job has become (or you suspect is becoming) uninspiring, you’re at complete liberty to change careers to something more…exhilarating.
In addition, people change careers for the following reasons:
Better pay: When you consider your remuneration inadequate and unable to sufficiently cater for your short and long-term needs.
Too stressful: If a job is too physically and mentally tasking it could pose a health risk. Furthermore, overly demanding roles dulls the capacity for analytical and creative thinking needed to address hairy problems. Thus, triggering a lull in employee productivity.
When this occurs over a sustained period, you may no longer feel invigorated to do great work and may explore the option of a career change.
Better work-life balance: When there’s a marked inequity and disproportion between the demands of your work and your responsibilities at the home front and/or private life, it may elicit tensions on either side.
If you spend most of your time working, your health, private and social life suffers. Conversely, if you commit more time to your private life, then you probably won’t have a career.
A change of career path becomes imminent when your current job is all-consuming—affording no time and space to address your private life. And you’re unable to ease the situation unless you change jobs within/without the organization or switch to an entirely new industry.
The subsequent paragraph describes steps to follow before you make a career change for a more informed transition that would facilitate a proper positioning in your new line of endeavor. Read on.
The 3 people you must first connect with before changing careers
Before you change careers, it is important that you seek the counsel of the following set of people to furnish you with the necessary information on your new line of work. And help put you on the right track for a smooth sail on your new career path.
1. Field experts
These are industry “veterans” that have cut their teeth in a particular sphere of action and have many years of experience in a field. They witnessed the roller-coaster fortunes of their industry; armed with a concrete understanding of its intricacies, dynamics, hiring process, and career opportunities.
They indeed are one of the best to seek out and perform informational interviews on your intended career change to their industry. They’re in a great position to inform you on hiring trends, skill sets required, places to visit, and even provide references to aid your journey. One of the ways to engage an expert is through job shadowing.
Sounds weird? Well, job shadowing is on-the-job training that allows interested employees to follow and closely observe another employee performing the role. This type of learning is usually used to onboard new employees into an organization or into a new role.
If you’re able to set up a shadow (or two) and actively learn from professionals in your chosen field, you’d gain firsthand experience of performing the desired role and build up a personal knowledge base of the job function.
Job shadowing is an excellent way to make inroads into a new industry. And employers would come to appreciate your efforts and commitment towards your new career path.
2. Career coaches
They are professionals that can help you plan your careers and achieve your employment goals. Career counselors teach strategies on how to successfully find new employment or switch to another industry. Below is an overview of the things a career counselor can do for you:
Help you to assess your career values, interests, and skills; investigate career options and envision a career path.
Use a variety of tools including assessment exercises, interest inventories, personality tests, and interviews to help identify appropriate options for consideration.
Help you identify obstacles impeding progress toward the establishment of career plans and coach you on ways to overcome these challenges.
Career coaches provide assistance with identifying and exploring career options, selecting from career choices, changing careers, resume and cover letter writing, focusing and targeting a job search, and helping job seekers through the job search process.
Career coaches focus on achieving work-life integration with an understanding of how a person acts in their role and how different roles interact.
They can even help you to explore new career options and resolve issues at work or even problems in your personal life that may be affecting your job performance.
In addition to the 3 people you must connect with before changing careers:
3. Talk to a mentor
You can also reach out to mentors (although they could pass for field experts) and ask for guidance in your new career path.
Mentors are especially helpful if you’re starting out in another field or exploring a new career path or if you simply wish to succeed in your current position.
How to ask someone to be your mentor
Before you ask someone to be your mentor, you want to be sure you're asking the right person. If you feel confident that the individual you're planning to ask would have a vested interest in your success, as well as have the time to invest in your growth, the next step is asking them to invest in a mentor-mentee relationship with you. Be mindful that being a mentor is a considerable responsibility.
- Schedule a meeting
If possible, try to meet with your potential mentor in person rather than asking over email.
- Explain why you are seeking mentorship
The more clearly your potential mentor understands your needs and expectations, the better. By explaining what you hope to gain from mentorship and offer as a mentee, they can properly assess whether the relationship would be a good fit for them.
- Explain why you selected them
Explain why you selected them and how much you value their expertise. When you can make a clear case for what you want from a mentor relationship and why you are asking this individual to become your mentor, you are more likely to receive a positive response.
If your potential mentor seems uncomfortable or skeptical, it's best to step back and keep looking. Even if they want to, they might also simply not have the time or capacity to offer you effective mentorship at that time.
A good mentor must be invested and excited for it to be mutually beneficial.
To sum up,
When you follow the steps above and engage the right persons before your career shift, you sure are well on your way to a successful new line of work that affords opportunities for upskilling, work-life balance, and accomplishments.