I know people who are contemplating a career change and appreciate this is not for the faint hearted, in fact it is much harder than anyone who is thinking about making a change can imagine.
I want to share 30 things with you I recommend you do when taking that leap of faith.
1) Stay employed! It is always easier to find a job when you are employed than unemployed. Give your current employer 100%. Making a career change takes a lot longer than you think it will.
2) Be Frugal. Cut costs where you can in your personal life. Save money. You will need it if you lose your job or if you will be taking a pay cut when you make the career change.
3) Have an open mind. Start talking to everyone. Talk to every colleague or anyone who will talk to you. Take them to lunch and interview them about what they do for a living. Find out if it is something you would like to do.
4) Try to find a career that complements your skill set. Understand there are huge challenges if you don’t go after a career path that doesn’t match or use the skills that you have today. Disqualify the people and industries that do not interest you.
5) Once you identify potential career paths, ask specific questions about how they got started and get a clear understanding of what it will take to make the change.
6) Ask questions about what additional skills, knowledge, certifications you are going to have to obtain to get to where you want to be.
7) Discuss the options with your spouse, significant other, parents, mentor, or someone you trust.
8) Start enrolling in classes that you may need to help your career. These may take years so a career change may not be imminent.
9) Once you decide which career/ direction you want to take, talk more. Talk to everyone in the industry
10) Research every company and make a top 10 list of the companies you would like to work for. Go after the companies you are interested in with a vengeance. You need to network with key people who work there.
11) Find out the salary range at the companies you are targeting.
12) Find out at what level you would need to start. It is almost guaranteed you will need to take a step back before you take a step forward.
13) Work your network! See who knows people at these specific places. Ask for additional introductions. Go beyond just a LinkedIn invitation. Once you are connected meet them and talk to them.
14) See if you can find the “hidden job market”. Try to find jobs that aren’t posted. Try to interview with people that know you and will hire you based upon their knowledge.
15) Search all of the job boards and see who is hiring.
16) Use your connections you have made and if the “hidden market” isn’t hiring, see if someone can connect you to someone who is hiring. Don’t apply without some sort of introduction.
17) Brush up your CV. You should focus on the skills you have used at your prior jobs and how they could help in the role you are seeking.
18) Hire a coach if needed. Develop a 3, 5, 20 year plan. If you don’t hire a coach make sure you have a mentor.
19)) Get involved in support groups. You aren’t the first one to do this and won’t be the last. Have things to do to take your mind off a career change. Why not play golf, go for a jog, go to the cinema etc. You do need a relief, this is stressful time!
20) Present yourself well, get a haircut, have a shave or at least trim that beard. Put yourself out there. Treat every interview as a learning experience. You will find out that brushing up on your formal interviewing skills is imperative to success and there is tons of material on the internet you can read up on.
21) Have skin as tough as leather. Don’t take anything personally.
22) Check your emotions at the door. Do not get too high and do not get too low. There are times when you feel you have done really well on an interview when you don’t get it. It is easy to get depressed. Sometimes, the decision on a candidate has been made long before you walked in the door.
23) Do not take the first offer. There are people who will try to get you cheap. Be realistic, your research will have told you the salary you are worth-stick to it.
24) Once again, talk to your spouse, significant other, mentor or colleague and discuss all offers you have received.
25) Ensure you are financially ready to make a commitment to make the career change. Make sure you have the time that you can devote to making the change.
26) Sign the offer that makes the most sense for you today, and for your future. It must make sense financially and match your passion. Make sure it is something you are genuinely interested in doing.
27) Take some time off if you are still employed. When you make a commitment like this you want to give 100% to your new adventure in life.
28) Let others know about your decision.
29) Give 100% every day. Come in early, stay late and fully commit yourself to the role &
30) Celebrate! You have done it. Congratulations!