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How to Find the Courage to Change Your Career

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The career path you choose is one of the most important decisions you make in life. If you struggle to find happiness in your current line of work, you are not alone, and making a career change isn’t easy. In a job market that is constantly threatened by lay-offs, reductions in force, steep competition from new job seekers, and the volatile trends of economic fluctuation, it is easy to believe our current lot, role, position, work scenario is sacred, unchangeable, and worth suffering.

If you feel your career is something you “suffer,” perhaps it’s time to consider other paths.

A career choice is more than just paying the bills and putting food on the table. You deserve to spend your days doing work you enjoy and your career should align with your values and goals. This is so much more important than simply “following the money” or adhering to a rigid 5-year plan. You owe it to yourself to muster the courage it takes to change your career direction. Your exploration begins here.

Take Your Time

A career change is an opportunity to think carefully about your values and determine what matters most to you. This takes time. Be patient and give yourself permission to take the time you need to determine what’s most important to you in your career.

Ask Questions

Ask yourself specific questions to explore your values and find out what’s important to you.

  1. Why did you choose your career in the first place?
  2. Did you actually choose it or did it choose you?
  3. What do you like about this line of work?
  4. Have the joyful elements of your job disappeared through changes that have taken place, or have you simply forgotten what drew you to the line of work in the first place?
  5. What do you wish you were doing instead?
  6. Is there a job within your current company that can better utilize your talents in a more interesting position?

Seek advice from your employer on opportunities that exist within your company to learn new skills or transfer to a more interesting position.

Take Small Steps

Take incremental steps towards the life you crave. While it may seem right to run away from your current career as fast as you can, a hurried approach may backfire. If you take the time to think through your decisions and make the best decision possible, you’ll experience greater joy and fulfillment in the long run.

Chase big dreams by breaking them down into small, manageable action steps.

Seek the advice of others who are already successful in the line of work you’re seeking to enter into. Structure your goals in a way that allows you to attain regular feedback on your progress, so you know when you’re on track and when you’re off course. Applying for a new job can be an exciting, but also nerve-wracking experience. Here are some tips to help you stand out from the competition and land your dream job.

  1. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. Show the hiring manager how your skills and experience align with the position.
  2. Network. The majority of jobs are not posted publicly and are filled through personal connections. Reach out to your professional network and let them know you are looking for a new opportunity.
  3. Research the company and the people you will be interviewing with. This will show that you are genuinely interested in the opportunity and will give you talking points during your interview.
  4. Prepare for the interview. Think about answers to common interview questions and come up with examples of how you have demonstrated the skills and experience listed in the job description.
  5. Dress professionally and show up on time (this includes video interviews). This may seem like a no-brainer, but first impressions remain paramount.
  6. Follow up after the interview. Send a thank you note or email to the hiring manager, reiterating your interest in the position and how your skills and experience align with the company’s needs.

Respect Your Current Employer

When it’s time to leave, do so gracefully. As you move closer and closer to the career change you seek, continue to perform your current job to the best of your ability. You may need your current employer as a reference, and an attitude of service will increase your self-confidence as you prepare for a dramatic change in your life.

Believe in Yourself

Trust your instincts and your ability to succeed. You can achieve any goal that you set out to accomplish. With proper planning and a hunger (and follow-through) to succeed, you’ll experience the career success you crave and deserve. Keep your dreams in front of you, believe you can achieve them, understand it will take action to see them realized, and begin today to take the first steps toward the career you are destined to enjoy.

Here are some specific resources you can use to begin your search and exploration into your next opportunity.

Job Boards:

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