By Katherine Perez, Specialist Senior, Career and Professional Development Services, ASU
Change is a word that can be quite daunting for some. Now put the word career in front of it and it seems to get a bit more intimidating. No need to worry! Making a career change is actually pretty typical. "Balanced Career" indicates that the average number of times someone changes a job is 10-15 times before age 40.
Career changes can be made in different ways, for some that might be switching occupational fields, some see moving to a new employer as a change and some define a change as moving into a new job title within the same industry. No matter your definition, one thing we can guarantee, you will experience change many times over your career.
Sometimes career changes are chosen and sometimes they are chosen for you. Maybe your career path didn’t pan out the way you envisioned when you choose you major in college, potentially your interests, priorities and passions have changed or maybe the job you once had just doesn't exist anymore. Whatever the reason, it is important to go into a career change with the understanding that they don’t happen overnight and you are not alone. Time to take a step back and strategize with these tips:
Analyze Your Skills
First step, analyze your skills, and that means all of your skills, not just the ones used in your current role. Most times you are doing more than the job description entails. Plus you almost always have a whole host of amazing skills that aren’t even part of your day-to-day job. This is the time to flush it all out – think about the skills from both your professional and personal life.
- Where do your strengths lie?
- What projects have you accomplished?
- What things have you done outside your current role?
Take some time to self-reflect
While identifying your skills is very important, it is also vitally important to identify skills that you would enjoy developing or believe you might want to take on in the workplace.
- What are those skills and why do you think you would enjoy them?
- How could you develop them further?
- What experiences, jobs or work tasks incorporate these skills?
Be sure to grab a notepad or a whiteboard and take some time to write these items out. Having things written out or displayed can help identify trends and correlations that can clearly illuminate your next career path.
Take a career assessment
Career assessments are an excellent way to identify interests, skills and strengths that you might not have been aware of. There are wonderful assessments out there such as Myers Briggs and StrengthsQuest. Often times you can find these and other assessments online. If you are looking for more support or some guidance on how to utilize your results, then connect with Career and Professional Development Services. Both StrengthQuest and Myer Briggs are available to take through our office and are paired with an in depth review of your results by a professional career advisor. You can log on to Handshake to schedule your appointment.
Build your network in the career area the interests you
Building connections in your potential new career is vitally important. Not only so those in the industry are aware of your new interests but also to ensure these new connections have an understanding of the skills you bring to the table. Plus, LinkedIn estimates that 80% of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking. So to break into your new field, it is imperative that you get yourself out there. So tap into the ASU Mentor Network, reach out on LinkedIn, attend a networking event or connect with professional associations in your new field of interest. Investing time into getting to know and connect with others is well worth it.
Career changes are a process, but taking the time to evaluate your skills, interests and passions and creating a strategy to move forward will help you be successful. So what are you waiting for?!