Research has shown that the average adult changes careers at least 3 times during their life (and often more than that). That figure makes sense when you consider how much we grow over time and that a career spans at least 40 years. Over time our values, priorities, and interests change and we often find ourselves looking for something different from our work. The career we found ourselves in during our 20s may differ greatly from where we would like to be in our 50s.
Research has shown that the average adult changes careers at least 3 times during their life (and often more than that). That figure makes sense when you consider how much we grow over time and that a career spans at least 40 years. Over time our values, priorities, and interests change and we often find ourselves looking for something different from our work. The career we found ourselves in during our 20s may differ greatly from where we would like to be in our 50s. Although many of us realize at some point that we would like to change careers, there are many things that hold us back - lack of direction, fear, money, or uncertainty can all contribute. These simple strategies can help get you started on finding the career of your dreams.
- Assess your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Make a list of what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. This list should include everything you enjoy – even if it is just a hobby for you. Ideally, you want a career that allows you to use your strengths and perform work that you love doing all day. Along the same lines, you don’t want a career that doesn’t fit your interests or your skills. This will make your days long and lead to dissatisfaction in your job.
- Research your career choices based on the preferences you identified in the first step. This may include taking a couple of professional career assessments. The benefit of career assessments is that they help identify things you aren’t able to see yourself and can suggest career possibilities that you may have overlooked or not considered. Some assessments can even tell you, based on the test results, how well you would fit in with the “typical” person in that career.
- Explore the occupations on your list. Speak with someone currently in that career and see what they enjoy and what they dislike about it. Find out what advice they would offer someone entering that profession. If necessary, get additional training or education to further explore the field. Try contract work or an internship to test the waters.
- Set and define goals. This is a very important step. Having a plan is critical to your success. Setting and defining your goals will help keep you on track and help you measure your progress.
- Find a coach or mentor. Find someone that can help you through the transition. This may be a life or career coach that can support you along the journey and provide you with accountability and perspective or a mentor that can share his or her experience with you and help you learn the ropes.
- Network. The importance of networking cannot be underestimated. The old saying “it’s not what you know but who you know” is very true . Friends or people with solid business relationships will help each other out. Many people are well connected and can possibly help you find a new job.
- Make your move. This is the really scary part for most people. Now that you’ve done the research, explored your interests thoroughly, and set your goals, it’s time to make your move and get the job of your dreams!
While changing careers and venturing into the unknown can be scary, research and preparation can help you make a successful career transition. Finding the career of your dreams can bring you much happiness and help you in living the life of your dreams.
April Mims is a life and career coach specializing in work/life balance issues and life and career transitions. Her coaching practice is Nexus Coaching Partners. She is passionate about empowering clients to balance the demands of a successful career and a strong family life. April invites you to a complimentary 30-minute coaching session to see if coaching could benefit you. To learn more or subscribe to The Nexus Connection newsletter, visit http://www.nexuscoachingpartners.com.