Deciding to make a career change generally sounds either exciting or daunting. You have been in the same industry for so many years, you only know one thing best, you love your colleagues, and you feel safe where you are. Where would you even begin if you wanted to transition your career? Do not let the unknown overwhelm or frustrate you. Even if you are not sure where to go next, you have options. There are productive steps you can take to move forward. Here is what you should know about transitioning your career even when you don’t know where to begin:
1. Take a Personality Test
Understanding your personality can help indicate the best types of careers for you. One of the most popular personality assessments is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (“MBTI”). Here’s the type of information that the MBTI will give you.
- How you make decisions
- How you like to take in information
- What type of structure you like to operate in
Once you take the test and receive this information, you can use this information to discover the kinds of workplaces that are best for you. Your personality type may also indicate your working preferences and how you would relate to co-workers in your office. The test costs $15. You can also take a complimentary and slightly different version of the online quiz here. After that, you can check out Indeed’s Job Compatibility for the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types.
Another popular personality test is the StrengthsFinder quiz. The quiz will reveal your top 5 strengths out of 34 strengths in the CliftonStrengths model. Visit here to purchase access to the test. While it won’t directly match you to a career, it can help provide long-term insights just like the MBTI. You can read more about career fit in Does a Specific Career Best Match My Top 5 CliftonStrengths?
2. Build Job Lists and Companies
This may be the most “obvious” step towards transitioning your career. Creating lists of jobs you may want to pursue or companies you may want to work for can be a tangible step in the process of discovering what you should do next.
The best part about this list? You don’t have to narrow it down initially. If you have ever dreamed of working for Google, put it on the list! If you thought you may want to own a cupcake shop when you were 10, put it on the list! If you want to work within an industry, look up the top players in that industry. Building this list means that you consider each and every option that appeals to you and then work to narrow the list down based on a variety of factors. These factors include:
- How do your current job skills relate to your next step?
- How can you gain skills you currently lack for another career option that appeals to you?
- How can you build out your network and leverage relationships to help build connections with any companies or businesses?
- How will the career change impact your life? (Happiness, finances, working schedule, lifestyle, etc.)
- Which of the companies on your list do you align with the most?
A career change means that you have numerous opportunities in front of you. The process won’t be linear but think about it as a moment to relish your flexibility. Narrowing down your next prospect means that you can go to a lot of different directions. With the ability to gain increased education or learn new skills, don’t count out any next steps until you know it isn’t right.
3. Write It Out
Some people need to visually process the change that is happening in front of them. If that sounds like you, then writing out your goals (even if you don’t know exactly where they’re leading) may be helpful. Check out this career transition worksheet. It provides guiding questions that you can consider as you form your action plan. Whether you fill in all the questions completely or just jot down notes over time, it can give you a baseline of what you’re feeling and give you an idea of what you should consider.
4. Enroll in an Online Course
A long time ago, someone told me “When you feel stuck, sign up for a class and educate yourself in a new area”. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, it doesn’t mean that you can’t build your skills in the meantime. Sometimes discovering exactly what you are most passionate about can help to spur your next steps. In order to transition your career, you need to explore your options and skills a little bit further.
For example, did you know that top universities around the world provide access to online courses? That’s right! Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, and many more provide free online learning options. There is also my favorite school on YouTube. There are many ways to further your skills without leaving your house or spending too much or any money. Whether you take a coding class, or pottery or programming, you will be furthering your passions or building your resume. Both are wins when you are transitioning your career path!
Visit coursehorse to find flexible and affordable options for online classes.
5. Get a Life Coach
Studies show that 99 percent of people who have worked with life coaches in the past have a positive experience. A life coach is someone who is invested in your growth and will partner with you as you make this transition. Try to select a life coach who has experience or background in the industry you work in. When you get off track or feel lost, they can help you get back on the path to success. There are even some coaches that specialize in career transition. Having a coach will be invaluable when you’re not sure where to go next. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Although career changes feel scary, this is a time of exploration. Learn more about yourself and your preferences, so you can discover the perfect next step for you.