A career change is a much more intimidating affair than a job change within your chosen profession because it can cause extensive financial and emotional dislocation unless unfailingly planned in advance. The worst time to change careers is when you are out of work. Having been caught in an economic downturn, you are short of cash and the bills are piled nose-high. The competition is fiercer than you have ever faced in the new target profession because you are up against candidates with experience in that profession.
It is far wiser to plan career change well ahead of time and to make the shift when the economy is good and there are more job opportunities than
candidates. But even with the most careful planning in the world, this won’t always be your choice. If you want to change careers but don’t know where to start, there is a free database at www .knockemdead.com that allows you to match degrees with careers.
The best time for career change is when you’ve carefully built a new social network that has excellent contacts in your intended field.
Overcoming Obstacles with a Career Change
I recently helped a guy having problems with a mid-career shift. Late thirties, and thirteen unhappy years in sales/marketing, led to career reappraisal and a return to university to gain a Finance MBA.
His job search was bogged down and he diagnosed the problem as, “no job offers because of my inability to answer specific questions about why the career change.” I told him getting his new career moving would take more than a few snappy answers to tough interview questions. In fact his problems stemmed from a combination of factors.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t yet latched onto the most convincing arguments to justify his career shift. While this was certainly a part of the problem, understanding, believing, and demonstrating that he under- stood the deliverables of the target job and its role within the department, and that he understood how the industry worked and why it worked this way, and finally why his prior professional experience was actually a distinct benefit to the new employer, was a bigger and more important challenge. Translation: He had to learn to build the bridges that would enable the employer to say, “Sure, walk on over.”
Your success at landing job interviews and then acing them in a career–change job search will dramatically improve with greater under- standing of your target job’s function and the world it inhabits.
Defining the New Job, Understanding the New Profession
Your current job and your target job in the new profession have two things in common: They exist to anticipate, prevent, and solve problems in an area of specific technical expertise within a department of similarly talented professionals who collectively perform a specialized function in helping a company make money. Understand the role this new job plays in contributing to the department, the problems it is there both to prevent and to solve, and ultimately how it supports the company’s profitability, and you will see what employers look for when they interview potential employees. You’ll get a picture of your new target job by executing a TJD, then doing a gap analysis: Flag the skills you need to build, and the information you need to gather on how to build these skills.
You will also begin to think about the job titles in this target profession that can explain the day-to-day deliverables of the job and its challenges, and the behavioral profiles for your target job title. The people who can help you most are the same high-value job titles you will need to develop for networking and job search when you start pursuing the new job.
If your considering a career change, call me or email me for a free consultation and I’ll tell you how career coaching can help you succeed at 678-815-5996 or email me at Martinyate@knockemdead.com.