5 Tips to Surviving Career Changes:
We all know how it can come out of nowhere, or sometimes we see it coming, but we think it won’t happen to us. “I’m loyal, I’m dedicated and I’ve been here forever, I’m indispensable.” You know what I’m talking about right? One thing is for sure though, things are about to change dramatically. You can feel the tension in the air, confusion and fear among colleagues, everyone trying to be more hardworking or competitive than the day before. All the subtle changes, the words “corporate and company culture” being thrown around the office.
Internal changes start to happen with regard to sales commissions, targets increasing, and how we packaged and sold our products and services. New management is brought in, people shifted in what was a very stable management structure. It just feels weird, and your job security is in jeopardy.
My career transition process, started in my head, simply by thinking about why I was feeling like it wasn’t working for me on many levels anymore and I wanted and needed it to be working. Then there is this constant battle with fear and self-doubt, “I won’t find something easy, I’m probably not as qualified as the other candidates applying. It’s safer for me to wait it out in my current position”. If you are anything like I was during this time, the list of self-doubt and insecurities starts to climb rapidly, and you are worrying about things you never even thought of before.
First, I had to honestly assess if there were any more viable opportunities where I was. Then, I had to look at myself with regard to what I really wanted to do, and determine if I was qualified or experienced and prepared to do it. I spent almost a year, going on interviews, both locally and nationally, exploring other industries and jobs to try to see what resonated with me. Looking back, it was really a smart process and revealed a lot about myself personally and professionally. Back then, jobs were much more plentiful and there were a lot of them in my business. Today, I would not have those same choices and options.
Here are some of the lessons I learned about the career transition process that you can apply to today’s employment situation:
- Identify What You Want To Do And What You’re Qualified & Experienced To Do
Look at all your “transferable skills” – all those jobs you’ve done that define your diverse skillset. Time Management; Negotiation Skills; Customer Service; Telephone Etiquette etc. you get the picture, list everything! Remember the recruiter or potential employer doesn’t know you, or if you can sell ice to an eskimo, so list your Achievements as well.
- Don’t Rush Change, Trust Your Process
Opportunities will present themselves, but they may not be all the right or best decisions to make. Weigh up the opportunities based on your situation. If you have to sacrifice something that isn’t the end of the world, like a 6 month contract, that financially allows you to have some extra cash for a couple of months upon return, is that so bad? You are gaining experience and when you return, you have time and money to allow you to think clearly about your next step.
- Be Prepared & Honest When Presenting Yourself
You really can’t alter the truth when creating a resume. Know what your strong assets are and lead with them. Don’t hide your weaknesses, we all have them, just don’t lead with them. We all have “stuff” or else we wouldn’t be human. But if you lie, your employer or recruiter will not trust anything you say, and that is career suicide. Be honest, even if it means being a little more personal, let them know who you are and how you have grown and overcome it.
- Evaluate Your Current Skill Levels
The business world has changed so much, what’s now required to get hired has changed from what it may have been a year ago. Review your personal, professional, technological, and social networking proficiencies. If you need to improve some things, take some courses through local chambers, schools, professional organizations, or online. This includes courses that have been completed through in-house training at previous or current employers. That Microsoft Office course you did 3 years ago, add it to the skillset list on your CV, everything counts.
- Know That Personal Branding & Your Image Sets You Apart
Personality, mindset, energy, attitude, image are all important today to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Evaluate where you are with regard to your professional & personal image, online and offline networking, sales and communication skills. Upgrade, improve, tweak, grow whenever and wherever you can. Remember the basics are pretty much still the same, first impressions are lasting ones, so don’t wear something to revealing to stand out from the rest, you will be doing that, but you may be remembered in the wrong way.
Don’t wait until you are out of work or laid off. If we have learned one huge lesson from the current employment scenario, it’s pay attention and keep adapting to change. Career transition is happening all the time, even when you are working and employed. Keep moving and advancing. Keep developing yourself and adding value to what you do. Stay relevant and current. Think about how you can become more indispensable!
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