Life is too short to be unfulfilled at work. It may seem like a daunting task to make a career transition, but it can be done. I transitioned from a 20 year corporate career in Financial Services to becoming an Executive Career Coach! If I can do it, anyone can!

So, here are 4 tips to get you on your way towards successful career change:

Learn about yourself

You want to choose a career path that fits your unique qualities — your abilities, talents, needs, values, and interests — and the lifestyle you want to live.

Knowing your “unique qualities” is not easy. Learning about yourself is a challenge for everyone. But, the clearer picture you have, the more likely you are to choose a satisfying career.

It is important to write your ideas down. You may find this difficult to do, many do. But, it will make a big difference in your self-understanding. Write down your thoughts and feelings as you go through your discovery process. Make a folder to keep your notes and writings.

Get out and explore, don’t figure it out

When you don’t know what else you want to do, it’s easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Making more lists, searching more job sites and taking more assessments isn’t likely to help. If the answer lay in your head or through more analysis, you would have found it by now. Instead of thinking it out, take action in the real world.

Join a new class, hang out in different places or shadow someone whose job you find interesting. When you find an area of interest, run small experiments without leaving your current job to test whether it could work for you. Not only does this give you quick feedback, it also helps you to reduce the risk of you making your shift.

I went through this process when I was still in my financial services career. Prior to landing on becoming an Executive Career Coach, I worked part time at a boutique since I love fashion. I also worked part time at a fitness center to see if I wanted to parlay my interests in exercise physiology and nutrition in to becoming a Personal Trainer. Although I didn’t end up going down either of these paths, I was able to further refine the most viable career path for me. In addition, I am currently able to bring the interests and passions of those career paths in to what I am doing now in various ways!

Look for the right people to network with, not for jobs

If you want to make a big shift, you’ll have some obstacles to overcome in the job market. Your resume won’t stack up well against others with experience in the specific field you’re interested in; recruiters are likely to want to place you in similar roles of what you have already been doing, and job sites are likely to leave you wondering how you’re ever going to be qualified for what’s advertised.

Instead of looking for jobs, focus on networking. Not only is there is a huge hidden job market (it has been suggested that an estimated 75 percent of jobs are never advertised), but connecting with people allows you to present yourself in a way that you can never do on paper.

I started letting people know about my transition right away. Early on through those actions, I was introduced to a small business owner that provided Leadership Coaching programs and services. I met with her and her business partner at a Starbucks for an informational interview and 2 ½ hours later, they hired me. They spent the entire time mentoring me!

Do it with others, not alone

Career change is scary. Your fears (particularly about failure and money) and your lack of knowledge about what else is out there are likely to be your biggest obstacles. The best way to overcome this is to put yourself around others that can help. Seek out your peers who are also looking to make a change. Find mentors who have shifted careers themselves.

Also, approach people in fields you’re interested in for help. Start hanging out with the people in fields you’re interested in, which will lead you to more ideas and more connections. And find accountability buddies who can keep you on track. Avoid the naysayers (of which there will be many) and choose the people you can genuinely count on for support.

Do you need support with your career transition? If you are stuck or frustrated with where to start, I would love to have a conversation with you. You can schedule a call with me at: www.michelebrant.com/call.

What would your life be like if you were in a career that is meaningful to you where you are thrive in your life?

Here’s to going for your ideal career path!

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