It’s time for a career change. You’re eager to reinvent yourself in a new role or apply your skills to a new industry. You’re excited about the prospect of something new but you’re feeling overwhelmed by the career transition process.
Making a career change can feel daunting. It requires considerable self-awareness, strategy, and support. Unfortunately, too many professionals get stuck and give up before reaching their goals.
If you’re considering a career transition, here are three steps to maximize your success.
Know What You Want
You know you’re ready for a change but do you have a crystal clear vision of what that change looks like? If not, don’t take action on your job search just yet. It’s tempting to jump right in and assume you’ll find the answers as you go along. Before you can confidently pursue your next role, though, you need to know exactly what you want.
Do some soul searching. What are your unique skills, strengths, and talents? What do you specifically want (and not want) from your next role? In what type of environment would you do your best work? Think comprehensively about everything that is important to you and be sure to document it for greater clarity.
Do Your Homework
The self-exploration process will likely reveal powerful insights and possibilities. You’ll emerge with some great ideas but to crystallize your target, you’ll need to learn more. Conduct research to better understand your options and determine the best fit.
Informational interviews are an excellent way to get a behind-the-scenes look at potential roles, companies, and industries. These low pressure, information packed discussions can help you address key questions and concerns you have about making a transition. Reach out to your network to learn more about their experiences and to request additional connections.
Craft a Compelling Story
Now that you know what you want and have validated it through your research and networking efforts, it’s time to develop your narrative. When making a career transition, it is critical that you articulate a clear and compelling message that connects the dots between your career history and your new target. Do not rely on others to make these inferences on their own as this will likely lead to assumptions and misconceptions that will hurt you.
Be prepared to discuss your motivation for making the change, how your background aligns, and why you’re uniquely qualified to perform the role. Keep in mind that to persuade decision makers, you must believe in your story and be able to deliver it with confidence. Practice it with others before communicating it formally to increase your comfort level with the message.
Career transitions are not easy. Feelings of frustration, fear, and uncertainty can be powerful roadblocks. By clarifying what you want, validating it with others, and communicating a clear message, you’ll minimize stress and maximize your ability to reach your goal.