September! The changing of the seasons brings a lot of color to the outdoors and can make you wish you were out in the crisp air enjoying the last good weather of the year. But what if the changing of the seasons could also come with a changing of careers?
Changing careers can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be! If you find yourself wanting to get out of your current field, it can be tough to job search, work full time, and figure out exactly what it is that you want to do! Let’s break it down into smaller steps to make this a more manageable task.
Step 1 – Figure out what you like to do and what you don’t like to do!
Although both of these are equally as important, let’s start with what you don’t like. When you’re job searching it might seem easy to say what you don’t want to do – that’s why you’re getting out of your field in the first place right?! Don’t fall into this trap. Try not to group your entire field into one and instead focus on what exactly it is that you don’t like about your job. If it’s the structure of working at a desk every day, a different company that requires similar office hours isn’t going to change the way you feel! Dig in a little deeper to see what aspects of your current job you dislike, this will help you hone in on what you really DO enjoy.
Once you’re able to focus on what you don’t want in your new career, look back on the things that you do enjoy. Remember to focus on the things that you do outside of work as well as those aspects of your career that make you happy. A good exercise would be to look at where you spend your free time.
Do you play video games? Maybe a problem solving or creative position would be a good fit.
Enjoy being outdoors? Maybe a field that allows you to be closer to nature and work outside.
Love your pets? There are plenty of jobs that allow you to be around animals all day!
Step 2 – Start spending more time doing the things that make you happy!
The biggest reason people are looking for a new career is that they are not being fulfilled in their current field. When you start spending time doing things you love, you’ll naturally be happier. The more time and the wider variety of activities that you engage in, the more people you will meet and the more opportunities will present themselves. Most people think that they will find the job of their dreams just by applying online, but the truth is that most of the time, the people around you are what makes a job worthwhile. If you love the people around you and love the work that you are doing, you’ll never want to leave! The first step to this process is meeting the people that love doing the things that you love to do. From there, you will be exposed to so many more opportunities that you likely never knew existed. As they say “you don’t know what you don’t know.” It takes relationships and actually getting out there and taking action to get you exposed to those types of opportunities that will make the career change easier.
As a recruiter, it is often very difficult for me to help someone who has very little experience in a field. Often, people see this as a trap – “how can I get a job that requires experience without working and gaining that experience in the first place?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. The answer is that you have to start small. If you are looking to get into tending horses, but have never even seen a horse, that’s going to make it really difficult for me to get you into that type of position! However, if you have been volunteering on the weekend for the past few summers on a horse farm, are active in some horse caretaking communities, and can demonstrate a strong passion for the field – that’s something I can work with! All it takes is showing the dedication and taking the time to do what you’d actually like to do! Once you have this type of DEMONSTRABLE passion, what employer would ever turn you down?
Step 3 – Network and Apply!
The last step is pretty self-explanatory – you have to find the positions in the first place! This is most easily completed through networking, but if you haven’t had luck going that route, you can always apply to open job boards. The trick here is selling yourself on your resume and cover letter. If all your experience is in retail, what makes you suddenly qualified to care for horses? You have to show the relevant experience from your past jobs as well as demonstrate knowledge and passion for the field that you are looking to get in to. This is where it can be a little tough, but often times you can list organizations, clubs, personal achievements, projects, consulting work, etc that will help to show an employer that you have a genuine interest and the qualifications to back it up.
Finding a new career should be a liberating and exhilarating process! It shouldn’t feel like dragging yourself through the mud until you find something you like. Focus on the things you enjoy doing. Dedicate your time to them and be actively engaged. Your energy and passion for the field will show through and people will naturally gravitate to you. If they don’t, at least you are gaining the momentum and experience to impress an employer the old-fashioned way! Once you start focusing on the things you like, you may even find that you were perfectly happy where you were in the first place. At the very least, you have started to take your life in a direction that you enjoy, and can fall into something that makes you happy!