Don’t have an accidental life or career. Often more planning goes into a summer vacation than a 40-year career or 90-year life. Spend purposeful time creating an actionable plan for your next career move and you can trade the treadmill to nowhere for fulfillment.
1. Know Your Values
If you are considering making a career change and aren’t sure where to start, start with what you know best. Nobody knows you better than YOU. Recommit to your values – your principles or standards on what is so important such that living these values makes you more fulfilled than anything else.
Values are principles or standards of behavior – your judgment on what matters most in life. Examples of values include: Balance, Autonomy, Freedom. Creativity, Listening, Humor, Family etc. Write down your values.
2. List Your Transferable Skills
Transferable skills fall into the three categories: 1) Communication – speaking effectively, writing concisely, customer service, selling, building consensus, etc.; 2) Organization of Information – forecasting and predicting, creating ideas, setting goals, creating solutions, etc.; 3) Operating of Systems and Equipment – install software, engineer systems, Coordinate equipment interfaces, building things, etc. Make a list of these skills. Match the prospective job description to these skills and highlight measurable accomplishments in these skill areas in your cover letters and resumes.
Get a free e-book that shows you how to define your values, strengths and transferable skills here – Eight Tips to Find the Right Industry and Position for Your Next Career Move here.
3. Define Your Leadership Signature Strengths
Free online assessments can help guide you to discover aspects of your personality, character, emotional intelligence, learning style and preferences to help you make an informed career decision – especially one that involves changing industries or roles. If you tend toward being strategic and creative you won’t enjoy a more task-specific role and vice versa. On a more finite level if you are more results and analytical you will want to build awareness of noticing emotions in your colleagues thus increasing compassion. These tools help you build your self-awareness, therefore, elevating your emotional intelligence.
4. Discover Your Future Pull
Your ‘future pull’ is not your next job but a career position that calls out to you. You feel compelled to do this work because it matters. The issues you address in this role need to be tackled by you because it is purposeful to you. You are the best person ever suited to do this work because of your leadership signature.
Not doing it would leave you unfulfilled. Answer the following question: What do I want to be said at my retirement dinner by 1) a friend, 2) a work colleague and.3) my family?
5. Start a ‘Company Watch List’
Create a list of organizations within your community or virtually that have opportunities for you. Look for lists of the largest employers in your city, as well as “best places to work” awards, and awards from young professionals organizations. Don’t forget to include surrounding communities in your keyword search; there might be a great employer just one town over who doesn’t show up when you do your original search.
Networking is key to finding a job—and when you’re moving to a new community, the more people you can get to know, the better. Research Service Clubs and Meetup Groups and note which companies have lots of members.
6. Start a ‘Network List’
Let your friends, family and even general acquaintances know about your search. See if they “know anyone who knows anyone” who might be able to give you some leads on potential employment.
Members of the groups you have researched tend to be community leaders and often have the inside scoop on who’s hiring, even if the posting isn’t public. By learning the names and associations of these individuals, you’ll have a better understanding of who you should get to know. Add these contacts to a “Network List” which will function much like your Watch List.
Do a search on LinkedIn to see if any of your connections have relationships in the companies on your Watch List. Ask for a casual introduction. Don’t make it a sales pitch or pressure them for career leads; just let them know you’re researching new opportunities and want to meet new people during the transition. Don’t randomly ask people to connect. That will turn people away.
7. Try It On
Take your “Watch” and “Network” lists and create a “Top Five List” of people and companies you know of that fit each Industry. Include social networks when doing this such as LinkedIn. Search company names and notice who is already working in those companies that you know.
Call or set up a meeting with people you know from these companies. Ask them if they can share insight into the culture of the company. Don’t ask them to recommend you. Allow them to suggest that to you based on your interest in THEM and THEIR COMPANY.
Reach out to people on LinkedIn with a message such as this:
Hi Jason. I see that you are working for (XWZ Company) and I wonder if you might share a little about the culture of the company. I am researching companies that align with my personal values and strengths. I see that (mention something you noted from their website or organizational values) and that very much interests me because I have experience doing that.
Join a MeetUp Group in the industry that interests you. Develop relationships. Ask if you can job shadow for a day. Get to know leaders. Volunteer there.
Search opportunities on online jobs boards such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Idealist or set up a ‘daily agent’ to notify you when a position comes available with your keywords.
Volunteer in a line of work that interests you for a non-profit organization. They are always seeking volunteers. This is a great place to try out a new skill.
Offer to freelance for a company you are interested in working for so that they may ‘try you on’ before they buy.
Update each resume and cover letter for each position you seek. Position your key strengths and transferable skills noted in this report.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.