I live by two creeds:
As a career strategist, I believe the two go hand in hand. A job you love will not just fall into your lap; you have to choose what you want—and that requires preparation.
We’ll show you how to find a new career you’ll love by prepping with these five steps.
1. Determine what’s not working
Why are you dissatisfied with your current job? Ask yourself what it is about your job that you dislike. Why do you dread going to work? Why do you hate getting out of bed each morning? Get specific.
When working with clients, I have them start with a sheet of paper and a few column headers. One of those headers is, “Things I hate doing.” If there are tasks in your current job or a past job that you despise and never want to do again in your life, identify them. This way, when a new job opportunity comes along and everything looks great, you won’t just focus on the good; you’ll have your eyes open to the bad.
Too often we jump from the frying pan into the fire because we’re focusing on the things we want to see and ignoring all of the things we don’t want to see—that are staring us right in the face.
2. Determine what DOES work for you
Ask yourself what would make you happy in your job. What type of tasks do you wish you were doing? What type of company do you want to work for? What kind of environment would you prefer to be in? What do you love doing?
Now comes the more difficult part …
3. Get proactive
When you want a new job, what’s the first thing you do? You go to a job board, type in a job title and start scrolling through jobs.
But using a job board is reactive. You’re applying to jobs that a company tells you are available, and often that job has already been filled. This is not the way to find a job you love; this is how you find a job you can live with.
Instead, you need to be proactive. Stop waiting for job openings to come to you; you need to find them before they exist. You have to search for it.
Which leads me to the next step . . .
4. Research companies
You have to do significant amounts of research to make this work. And before you say, “But Stacey, I already know where I want to work!” please know that this advice goes double for you.
Your desire to work at the company you think is your dream job is probably based upon someone else’s experience of working there. You need to do your own independent research because the grass is always greener …
Research only works if you know what you’re looking for, so use the information in the first two steps to guide your way. This can be a slow process and will not work for you if you are currently unemployed and in a hurry to line up a gig; it can’t be rushed. You will only have the patience to see it through if you are secure in the knowledge that your bills are currently being paid, even if you are also secure in the knowledge that you want out of that job at the first opportunity.
(If you do need a job immediately, searching job boards and working with external recruiters is the way to go. But know the difference.)
5. Do informational interviews
Remember that grass that’s always greener? An informational interview will provide you with additional information to help you figure out if you should cherish what you have or if it’s time to jump ship. It’s also an excellent way to make a transition to a new career.
An informational interview may also help you determine if there’s a barrier to entry in a new career that you didn’t know existed.For example, if you’re a lawyer who decides to switch from civil litigation to intellectual property law, the odds of that happening are slim because you will usually need to have some sort of technical degree and experience in that particular type of law. Just being a lawyer isn’t enough. Better to know that before you quit your job!