Tired of doing the same old thing month after month at work? Looking to move into a role where you can thrive in doing something you love, or contribute back to society? If your New Year goal is to change careers, make the most of those New Year goal-setting endorphins and that abundance of motivation to put a concrete strategy in place.
1) Get to know yourself
Start by taking a step back, looking inward and assessing what is really important to you in a career. To get the ball rolling consider:
- What do you like about your current job and what do you dislike?
- What sort of working environment do you think you’ll be happy in? If you’re not sure, try this short quiz.
- What energises you most work-wise?
- What do you naturally love doing and are good at?
There are lots of online tools available to help you work out your values, interests, personality, and skills (sometimes shortened as VIPS). Here are some of my ‘no cost’ favourites:
MyPlan Values Assessment
This assessment will help you decide what is important to you in a job or business by giving you a ranked list of your most and least important career values. It also provides an extensive list of occupations that are rank-ordered according to how well they match to your values.
The O*NET Interest Profiler
The O*NET Interest Profiler provides you with a score in six different interest areas. You can then explore a list of occupations which relate best to your scores. The tool also shows you what specific tasks and skills are required for all types of careers.
Jung Typology Test
Based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typological approach to personality, this test will help you discover your personality type. You will also discover careers and occupations most suitable for your personality type, and be given examples of educational institutions where you can get a relevant degree or training.
Skills and strengths
University of Kent Strengths Test
Developed by The University of Kent, this 52 question test will help you to identify and understand your key skills and strengths.
Remember though, your VIPS are just pieces of the puzzle. You have to find the common themes and threads – and they can change over time. But the bottom line is: if you’re not interested in something, it won’t work.
2) Do your research
Once you hold up the mirror, some jobs and careers should emerge. Now starts the career exploration phase. Become a mini-expert in your field and dive deep to find out as much as you can.
- Talk to people who are doing these jobs already.
- Go online and research these careers. The annual Occupational Outlook Handbook is an excellent source of career information.
- Attend conferences, seminars, and meet-ups that are applicable to your field.
- Read relevant articles and trade publications.
After that, consider which career allows you to best utilise your skills, values, and interests. It helps if you can bring in elements of your former career. Maybe instead of a radically different field, you choose another industry or role within the same or similar field. That way, you bring in something transferrable in terms of skills and experience.
3) Write a plan
Once you identify a new career path, form an action plan. What steps do you need to take to get where you want? Set specific goals.
Regardless of which field you choose, you need to figure out how to make that bridge into a new career. Will you do an internship? Volunteer? Do part-time work? Or maybe you stay in your current job and offer to do extra projects to bridge the gap and build your CV. Informational interviews are a good way to get yourself noticed. Employers like to hire people they know – personally or through their network. Making connections in your industry can help you land your new job.
4) Gather your team of supporters
Career change is easier when you have someone to do it with. Find a partner, coach, friend or family member who might be in the same situation as you. You can experiment, learn and support one another, and can hold one another accountable. People can talk about changing careers for years and never do it. When you commit to somebody else, you are more likely to make the move.
One of the greatest stumbling blocks for people making any kind of New Year resolution is the loss of momentum and motivation as the year wears on. Make regular dates with yourself in your diary to assess your career changing progress and adjust your goals to stay on track.
Contribution by Melanie Fieseler, co-founder of Landing Pad Berlin, an organisation on a mission to help internationals feel settled and at home, and get the most out of their experience living and working in the German capital. Melanie is Managing Director at Melanie Fieseler Consulting.
Melanie is an independent career consultant who counsels men and women on all areas of career development – from assessing their career options to building resilience, and everything in between. Melanie is not your typical career expert – she offers strategic, Germany-specific, no-holds-barred advice and a point of view directly from her talent and recruiting experience at leading multi-national companies.
Meet Melanie at the next Landing Pad Event and get all your career and work related questions answered.