Career Transition: Career Shifting Tips

Aly AnlikerAly Anliker, Ed.M

Aly is a creative organizational and career consultant with over fifteen years of experience in Training Management, Executive Coaching and Instructional Design. She has a background in Human Resources and Marketing and has worked in a variety of industries including telecommunications, high technology, manufacturing and non-profit.

Career Shifting Tips

It’s not always easy to decide to shift careers, especially in mid-life and in an economy like the one we have.  My client’s reasons for shifting careers are varied, but usually come under one of these categories:

  • They need to make more money
  • Their old job title and duties no longer satisfy
  • There are diminishing opportunities in their field
  • The industry is changing in ways that no longer work for their values
  • They have always wanted to explore another career field

Career assessments are an important first step, as has been mentioned in previous blog posts.  It’s helpful to thoroughly assess strengths, weaknesses, skills, accomplishments, passions, values and interests.  If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, you need job titles to research.  If you do know, you need to be able to market yourself to your new career choice (s) and self assessment will help you to start that process.

Typically your next step is networking or informational interviewing to clarify your new focus, create strategies and answer questions that will help you search and land a job.  The purpose of these 20 to 30 minute meetings is to gather information and let people know you are available for this new career endeavor.  When these contacts hear of an opportunity, you want them to think of you.  In addition, they may have contacts that have opportunities in your new career area.  As you formulate the questions you will ask, select questions that clarify any additional skills you may need, steps you might take, and other people you might talk with.

Regarding marketing yourself and your background, a functional resume works well when shifting careers.  This resume focuses on your accomplishments grouped by the type of skills you need to demonstrate in your new career endeavor. Your job history is placed on the second page taking the focus away from titles you are no longer interested in pursuing.  Any one of the career consultants featured in this blog can provide samples of functional resumes.

Your other marketing materials need to be altered to your new career focus as well.  These include:

  • Your online profiles
  • Your cover letter
  • Your contact card
  • Your work samples

Eventually you learn what you need to learn, connect to who you need to connect to and land with lessons to share with others.  It’s not a journey for the faint of heart so be courageous and know your skills are needed and wanted.  What inner shifts are going on for you?  What career shifts have you made in the past?  What lessons did those shifts bring? What do you have to share with others?

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