How to Begin a Job Transition


by Lisa Adams, www.FreshAirCareers.comLisa@freshaircareers.com

Do you have a vision for your future life?

It may be just getting the next job to sustain yourself for the coming year or two.  Or you may be ready to really envision life moving forward for the long term.  Whichever it is, the same steps prevail to your goal.  You are ready for a change.  A new job, a new career, a new life.  “I am ready to start over and really find what I am meant to do.”  Transitioning into a new career can be a great adventure.  One that is exciting and filled with new insights and learnings.  I choose to think of it as an inspiring blessed time of discovery.

To begin the adventure of discovery, you have to be ready.  You will know you are ready when you are excited about the possibilities that you have before you.  Perhaps you are like myself.  I had a laundry list of careers I wanted to “try” and had no idea which would be a good fit for me.  Or perhaps you are like a friend of mine some who knew, instinctively, what she was are meant to do next after the loss of her husband.  One thing is for sure you have to be ready to take the next step.  Without it, you will have a difficult time tackling the tactical side of moving into a new line of work.  Discovering what you want to do is the first step.  Next is the hands on work to get you to your career goal.

After the readiness check-in with yourself, comes the discovery.  All job searches have to have a target / a goal.  Do I want to work as an Account Rep in the health care industry or financial services industry?  Or do I want to work part-time at the art museum?  Or do I want to work as an independent consultant?  The list could go on and on.  The least effective job search has no target to shoot for.  The job seekers that will “take anything in any industry” will not be successful.  I have seen too many job seekers just putting out their resume to all kinds of job boards, company websites, agencies, and and personal contacts without any rhyme or reason behind it.  No one will hire you without knowing what you want.  If you don’t know what you want how can anyone else.

How do you discover what you want to do next?  You say, “Lisa, I really want to do something with meaning, that has flexibility, that is no longer doing….” whatever.  “How do I figure this out?”  Great question.  First I it will take some uninterrupted time to remember what it is that you enjoy, are passionate about, or have always wanted to do.   To help get the thoughts going I have listed some questions for you to ask yourself.  Go get a coffee or a glass of water, a comfy seat, and something to write with.  Write out your initial answers to the below.  Get started even if it is brief or a bulleted list.  Writing it down is key.

Which of my skills do I enjoy using?  Which of my skills do I least enjoy using?  What industries interest me?  What hobbies do I have that I enjoy?  What type of people do I enjoy working with?  What legacy do I want to leave behind?  What values must be present in my work for me to be successful?  What impact do I want to make?  Who are my role models and why?  How do I learn best?  What kind of environment do I thrive in?  Do I prefer work to make decisions that are based on logic or how they will effect people?

From this list, go back and continue to look at at various times.  See what other thoughts or ideas come to mind.  Once you get started you will be surprised that more ideas will come to mind.  There is more to this discovery and defining your target but the above questions, answered honestly, will get you heading in the right direction.

Once a target has been determined, the next step is to develop a job search strategy.  Determine, from all the various job search tactics out there, which you feel comfortable using.  To get you thinking about the available tactics, here is a list to get you started with a brief description of each.

Which of my skills do I enjoy using?  Which of my skills do I least enjoy using?  What industries interest me?  What hobbies do I have that I enjoy?  What type of people do I enjoy working with?  What legacy do I want to leave behind?  What values must be present in my work for me to be successful?  What impact do I want to make?  Who are my role models and why?  How do I learn best?  What kind of environment do I thrive in?  Do I prefer work to make decisions that are based on logic or how they will effect people?

From this list, go back and continue to look at at various times.  See what other thoughts or ideas come to mind.  Once you get started you will be surprised that more ideas will come to mind.  There is more to this discovery and defining your target but the above questions, answered honestly, will get you heading in the right direction.

Once a target has been determined, the next step is to develop a job search strategy.  Determine, from all the various job search tactics out there, which you feel comfortable using.  To get you thinking about the available tactics, here is a list to get you started with a brief description of each.

Networking Face to Face: In person meetings with other professionals to introduce yourself and discover contacts that can help you in your job search.  There are many local networking meetings at libraries, job seekers groups, or business workshops which will get you connected.  This tactic is essential to any job search.

Networking Online: There are many online sites that allow you to manage your contacts and reconnect with co-workers, friends, and find future hiring managers.  The best known are LinkedIn and JibberJobber.

Niche Job Boards: These are online job boards that are specific to an industry or type of work.  Targeting with in your area of industry is a time-saver and will give you and idea of what is happening currently in the industry, who is hiring and who is not.

Company websites and blogs: More and more companies are posting their open positions directly on their websites and are not paying the job boards to do this for them.  Many companies will also provide descriptions of their culture and programs they provide to employees.  These are helpful tools in your research for opportunities as well as networking and preparing for interviews.

Job Aggregation Sites: These sites search company career sections as well as the major job boards and consolidate them onto one site.  Indeed in one such site.  This can be a real time saver.  You can see the company’s name on the posting or the site from which the aggregator found the job posting.  Many of them have job alert emails that you can sign up for.

Online Professional Communities: Think of these as the associations and organizations you belong to but online.  Again going as industry specific as you can is the best way to go.

Recruiters: Recruiters are hired by companies as consultants to find qualified candidates for certain positions.  Many times the recruiters know of job openings at certain firms before any are posted.

Career Fairs – Online or in-person events that allow you to meet / talk to / interview with a live corporate recruiter.

This is not a complete list but it gives you an idea of the options that are out there in 2011.  Each tactic has pros and cons depending on the needs of your job search.  Look through this list and decide which strategies you would like to use and in what order?  As I mentioned earlier do not fall into the trap of only posting your resume online.  You must use several tactics to be truly successful.  I will tell you that good old fashioned networking is still the leading tactic to finding a job – online and offline.  Nothing works better than having direct contact, outside of an interview, with the hiring manager.  This can only be done through networking.

After determining the strategies you wish to use and the phase in which you will execute them, it really is just getting to work.  Work on your plan and you will hit the bulls eye.

If you continue to feel overwhelmed, seek out professional advice.  There are several organizations such as local job clubs, networking groups, and associations that offer workshops and services to job seekers.  If you prefer a more personal approach, seek out a career management coach.  Do not hesitate to “interview” a few to see with whom you feel most comfortable.  Most coaches offer an initial phone consultation for free.

“The journey of a million miles begins with one step.”

I wish you much success in your journey.  Continue on your plan and you will succeed and find work that you love and that fits into your life.

Lisa Adams is a Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist living in Wilmington Massachusetts.  She walks alongside her clients to help them discover meaning in their work; navigate the job search; and recession proof their current careers.

You can find Lisa at Lisa@FreshAirCareers.com or through her website at www.FreshAirCareers.com.  Check out Lisa’s blog and resources page for more tips and tools to help you in your career transition and job search.

Let us know how your job search is going, email us at secondfirsts@secondfirsts.com

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Christina Rasmussen

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