No. 1 reason people switch careers is because they feel they never selected their current career to begin with.
If you’ve been with the same organization and working among the same individuals for an extended period of time, you probably should question your motivations for leaving. Often, it’s a moment of anger or unhappiness that can fuel a rash decision to move away from what we know. Making a career change is a big decision to weigh, especially if your current role has offered consistent stability in the form of income, benefits, flexibility and more. Like any job change or employer change, it’s important that you ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice those aspects in pursuit of something “different.”
If those things are irrelevant to your personal fulfillment, then – by all means – a career change might be for you. According to the Harvard Business Review, the No. 1 reason people switch careers is because they feel they never selected their current career to begin with. Do you feel it’s time to take the wheel by pursuing something that drives you?
Is it too late for me?
Changing careers is no easy task. But impossible? I think not. Like any major life change, the path to a new career will be filled with risk, uncertainty and anxiety. According to Kristen Wenzel, chief operating officer of Great Lakes Bay Area Michigan Works, it’s never too late to make a change, but there are things you can do to determine which transitions might be a good fit for you.
Where do I begin?
Sometimes the starting line is right in front of you, and you don’t even realize it. The Great Lakes Bay Region is home to a variety of unique organizations and resources designed to put career professionals, entrepreneurs and more on the path to success.
“There are resources that can help you, and oftentimes not knowing where to start is the biggest challenge we see people face,” said Wenzel. “Great Lakes Bay Area Michigan Works has a variety of resources that are available to assist people in career transition, regardless of the reason they’re doing so, whether it be of their own volition because they seek change or involuntarily due to downsizing or layoffs. Some people we help might simply have been out of the job market for a while and want to dip their toes in the water again.”
Define your skills and your passions
Making a drastic change is typically worthwhile so long as it’s in your best interest. Thus, it’s important that you select a path that brings you closer to your interests and passions.
“It’s OK to step outside of your area of expertise. People will always be their worst critics, and understanding that you can turn the things you enjoy into work is something they might need to be encouraged to do,” said Wenzel. “If someone has spent years in a career field, there is a strong chance that they have transferrable skills that might help align them with something they’re passionate about.”
In addition to recognizing your skills, it’s important to consider how these skills or your knowledge of another organization could lend themselves to organizations you desire to work with – regardless of how different the field may be. For example, a former marketing professional may be able to identify areas of weakness within existing materials and promotional tactics for an organization within a desired field. In doing so, he or she brings knowledge to the table that employer may not have realized was needed but could clearly aid in raising the bottom line.
Understand Job Market Evolutions
Times have changed, and so have the ways job listings and applications work. If it’s been a few years since you’ve sought out a new job, Wenzel believes you may want to develop an understanding of what modern hiring formats look like.
“The world of work is changed. Technology is changing the way we all live and it’s also changing the way we apply for jobs. Someone that may have been in a role for 10 years or even more may be used to filling out paper applications,” said Wenzel. “And now the way that you apply for jobs is technology based. And the skills that you use to search for jobs have changed. So you must be mindful of those changes, but don’t let that get in your way or be a reason for you don’t pursue an opportunity.”
Seeking out jobs online or via word of mouth are two of the strongest tactics in today’s hiring world. If you’re not sure where to begin seeking out opportunities online, visit popular sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, Zip Recruiter and even LinkedIn.
Need a hand in getting started?
Don’t overlook Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works. Stop by any of its five regional centers in Alma, Mount Pleasant, Midland, Bay City and Saginaw to begin working with career assessment professionals at no cost to you. Michigan Works provides everything you’ll need to assess your current standing, identify skill gaps you may face when seeking out the career of your dreams, provide interview training and much more. They’ll meet you where you’re at and bring you closer to your career goals. To learn more, visit michiganworks.com.
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