Deciding to change careers is a huge one. There are a lot of different opportunities out there for many people. There is no reason to stay in a career that is not right for you. You may not like your job. You could be looking for a brand new start in a completely different field. In other cases, you may want to advance.
As you think about your future, consider how you could get there. Often, giant leaps in careers take some time to plan. You need to consider many variables to know when to make your move and how. That is especially true for older people who may have obligations to meet. In all cases, your first objective is to create a plan.
To take your goal from a dream to reality, work to focus on a few simple tools that can help you to get there. Of course, every situation is a bit different, but most career changes can happen with some planning and organization. Here’s what to consider.
Document Your Goals
The first step to take is to document what your goals are. That’s a big one. You don’t have to be specific just yet. Write down what you want to do. Make it your dream job or career path. Then, write down other things you would like to do.
Within your goals, document objectives as clearly as possible. For example, who do you want to work with and why? What type of work do you hope to do? What are your “whys” for this process? Then, when you put these thoughts and ideas onto paper, you make them a reality. That is, you define what you want. Now, you can start planning for how to get to that point.
Discuss What Your Strengths and Weaknesses Are Next
No matter how big your dream is, you have to be qualified for it. To know where you stand, write down all of the strengths you have. Then, be sure to list things that could help you do well in this new field. Be specific here so that you can see what your opportunities really are.
Outline your weaknesses next. As you work to plan for your goals, you need to know what you need to work on. These could be career skills or technical abilities. It could also be a list of objectives you have for soft skill development. That could be taking a leadership course or two.
Next, make a plan for achieving improvement in all areas that impact your desired career. For example, you may need a certification from a college program. Set a date for achieving these objectives. It may be a few months out or longer. By putting a date on that goal, you further make it real and give yourself something to work towards.
Get Yourself Organized
Now that you have an idea of where you want to go, create some objectives to achieve. That includes working on those weaknesses. The most critical first step is to consider a timeline.
How long will it take you to obtain the education you need to work in the field you want? Use a calendar app to give yourself that amount of time. Set a date for achieving that objective based on the length of time it takes.
Next, consider the process of reading yourself — like, listening to audible books, and reading hard copies, also. Amazon has an incredible selection of business books and audible books. You may need time to network and build relationships. You may need some time to work in the field in a stepped-up position before taking on a significant role. Again, use a Calendar App to put that into place. Give yourself enough time for learning.
No matter what you need to do for the position, place a time goal on it. That makes it a bit easier for you to continue to pursue your education, skill training, and other objectives. You know what you need to do. You have a timeline to do it. Let that motivate you to make it happen.
Consider Your Financial Needs
Money is often one of the most common obstacles stopping people from taking the giant leap. You may be taking a pay cut. You may need to take some time off work to return to school. These things are scary for those who have financial responsibilities.
If you need to save money, determine how much you need to keep. Your need will be based on your current budget and financial need. It may look like a lot of money. Instead of seeing it as one big chunk, break it down into a weekly or monthly number. How much do you need to put into savings to be able to do this every week?
Here’s a trick. Set up an auto draft into your savings account from your paycheck each week for a portion of the amount you’ll need. You can use your calendar app to help you a bit here. It can remind you to move money where it needs to go, for example.
Make Some Plans to Get Things Done
What is going to help you make a move? While you work on training and building skill, don’t forget the small things that really add up. Begin to make appointments with yourself for specific tasks — and also to connect with others who can help you build and widen your career choices.
For many people, a new resume is necessary. Spend some time updating your resume. Be sure it is focused heavily on the specific type of job you plan to have. Adjust all your skills and abilities to match the kind of work you plan to do. Here’s a tip to do this well. Use the job websites to check out the wording and requirements that many employers have in the field you plan to pursue. Make sure your resume has those words and skills in it. Be sure to be honest, but thorough.
Next, take some time to update your LinkedIn profile. Many employers use social media as a way to gain some insight into the person they are hiring. Be sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume. It needs to help you to shine through this process. You can also write content and some tremendous informational pieces about the industry you are interested in or the work you’ve done. That way, would-be hiring managers can see your passion in the field.
Work to freshen up your soft skills, too. You may want to volunteer in groups that are important to you. Become a member of the professional association associated with your potential future career. What other qualifications do applicants in your field have? Work towards earning those.
Many employers today spend a lot of time networking with would-be employees. They turn to similar platforms, too. For higher leadership positions, it helps to have a few connections. Work to meet people. Punch in a few more events into your calendar app — such as professional events or networking events. Set up some time to meet with someone in the field for lunch. Talk to people already working in the field. How did they get their job?
Consider Your Long-Term Goals
A career change is excellent, and it is what you are planning for now. However, now that you have some goals to work towards, it is time to think about your very long-term objectives. What’s the most significant and boldest goal you have?
Use this as a way to choose where to work. You want to be sure that your next career move is going to support all of your future goals. The right company, people, and opportunities make a big difference.
It takes a lot to plan for your future. But stay organized through it all. Use a calendar app to help you stay on track of your goals and the work you plan to do. Doing so can help make your vision become a reality.
Image Credit: Photo by Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thank you!