As we move into the New Year, and we shake off the excesses of the festive period, it’s not unusual for our thoughts to turn to career direction and making a change. That might mean pushing for a promotion, moving to a new organisation or taking a leap into something completely different. So, how should we approach such an important potential change in our careers and ensure our new-found enthusiasm doesn’t go the same way as so many other New Year’s resolutions?
I see the process as a journey: you need to know where you are, where you’re going and the route you need to take from one to the other.
Where are you starting from?
By this, I mean do you really know why you want a career change? Areas to think about here might include:
- What’s motivating or driving you to make the change?
- What isn’t working for you today or what needs to change?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What are the things that are important to you, and what do you value most i.e what makes you tick?
Where are you going?
Secondly, what’s your destination? Any journey, whether it’s a short walk or a long drive, needs to have a clear endpoint in mind. In career change terms, it’s critical that we understand what our perfect new role would look like. Otherwise, the risk is that we simply seize the first opportunity that comes along on the basis that it offers something a little different to what we’re doing today. However, to effect meaningful career change, we need to think critically and work out where we want to get to by reference to our starting point. So, questions to consider here might be:
- What are the different factors which would make that new position great for you? Greater responsibility, better work/life balance, more pay, a fresh start, a change of industry?
- Are any of those factors of greater priority than others?
- How would you know whether you’d found the perfect position?
How are you going to get there?
Finally, how will you get to your destination from where you are today? Essentially, what steps do you need to take to make the necessary change and secure your perfect role? It’s unlikely that a change of role, ticking all the right boxes, is going to land in your lap so you need a pro-active approach to make it happen. You might need to think about the following:
• How do I find my perfect role? Is it likely to be advertised? Do I need to use recruiters/headhunters? Utilise my network?
• Do I know what they want? How might I demonstrate my abilities?
• Do I need to improve my profile?
• Do I need to gain additional skills?
• Who do I need to influence?
Let’s face it: this process isn’t easy! The temptation can be to shortcut the thinking and leap into action (“I’m sick of it here: I want to go somewhere different” or “I’m just going to get my CV out to some recruiters and see what happens”) without thinking clearly about what needs to change, what’s really important to you and how best to effect the change.
This is where coaching can play a vital role. I can help you think through each of these steps in a clear and analytical way so you can work out how best to navigate your career change options. I can challenge your assumptions and enable you to see things from a different perspective. I can help you broaden your thinking but, when necessary, focus on what is critical.
If you’d like to learn more about how I can help with your career change journey, then please get in touch!