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The one question to answer *before* changing careers.
Your answer to this question will provide clarity, direction, and purpose.
The most important question to ask yourself *before* making a career change is:
It is a simple question at face value, but much more complex in nature as it will eventually lead to deeper and more thoughtful questions.
Your 'why' is the core reason and driving force behind your desire to make a change. Defining it creates a clear, strategic, and purposeful path forward while serving as a compass to keep you focused and on track during your job search.
When you take the time to get clear on your 'why' the pursuit of your next right position becomes a strategic and enriching journey.
To help you uncover your motivations, values, and aspirations for changing careers, we have included questions below. Be as specific as possible when writing your answers to these prompts.
What are my career values and priorities?
Which aspects of my current career path fulfill me?
Which aspects of my current job and career path do NOT align with my values & priorities?
These are important questions to answer. When your work aligns with your values and priorities you will likely find greater satisfaction and success.
As you are thinking through these prompts, consider whether your desire to change careers feels like you are moving *toward greater opportunities* or *running away from something*.
Get to the root of why your current job/career path is causing dissatisfaction and misalignment.
Keep in mind: An unhappy work situation (e.g., long working hours, toxic culture, micro-manager boss) does not necessarily mean you are in the wrong field – it could just mean a change in role and company are in order.
Here is just a sample of reasons for a career change: the future of your industry looks bleak; you desire to do meaningful work/work for a worthy cause in your community; you want to leverage your transferable skills in a growth industry; your current field does not allow for flexibility or a good work-life balance.
If these questions have confirmed your reasons in favor of a career change, then move on to the following questions.
What specific goals do I want to achieve by making this change?
How will this change allow me to achieve these goals?
How will this change improve my overall well-being?
You will spend most of your time upfront answering the above questions.
Taking the time to answer them (with focus, thought, and intention) will create a strong foundation as you work on your next steps, which will include:
Getting clear on the field/industries you want to pivot to.
Assessing your relevant skills and qualifications based on jobs of interest.
Identifying what barriers or gaps you could face in changing careers and preparing accordingly.
Examples of barriers: Lacking specific skills and credentials, employer’s risk aversion to hiring someone who doesn’t have direct industry experience, strong competition, etc.
Some things to note before changing fields/industries: You may need to allow time upfront to gain needed skills or qualifications (etc.). Depending how big of a pivot you are making, you may also have to work your way up the ladder to get to where you ultimately want to be.
Making a job or career change isn’t always easy but having your ‘why’ defined will serve as a powerful motivator and reminder to keep going during challenging times.
Finally, it will bring meaning and purpose to your career. When you find work that aligns with your values, goals, and ambitions, you are more likely to find long-term fulfillment and satisfaction.
For more on how to prepare for a career change, check out this article: https://bit.ly/3PYpluC
What is YOUR ‘why’ for making a change? Share in the comments!
Words to ponder:
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer
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