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10 Questions You Should Ask When Facing A Tough Career Decision

10 Questions You Should Ask When Facing A Tough Career Decision

There can come a time in your career when you hit a brick wall and cannot advance in your position. Or you may reach a fork in the road and have to decide which direction to go in.

Today, careers are all about change. A part of that change are the times when you face a tough decision. There are no easy answers and it is hard to measure what will improve. If you are facing a tough career decision, here are some things to ask yourself:

1. Are you willing to learn new things?

Some organizations understand the need for employee engagement. Engagement is when workers feel involved and a part of the overall mission. An environment like this can offer the opportunity to learn new skills and talents. Reflect on whether you are at a stage in your career when learning something is beneficial.

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2. Will you learn about yourself?

Facing a tough career decision can be a challenge. When you face that challenge which results in success, you may learn something about yourself. Maybe you are more resilient than you thought. There was a strength you did not know you had. Meeting success in our careers can have extrinsic as well as intrinsic value.

3. Does it scare you?

There are so many factors in our careers and in career change we have no control over. Intangibles can affect outcomes we did not see coming. This uncertainty can cause an amount of fear and discomfort. If the wrong decision is made, it could have negative effects on ourselves.

4. Does it change the way you think about success?

There is this conflict and balance with careers where it is about money verses fulfillment. What do you measure as success? It may be having the money you need to be comfortable. It could be the satisfaction of having a job you enjoy going to each day. It may reflect on your present circumstances as well as future goals.

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5. Does it excite you to talk about it?

Many are fortunate to have the opportunity to discover careers they love. The career fits with their experience talents and passions. You may have seen people like this. When people ask them about their job, their face lights up and they cannot stop talking about it. When you consider career opportunities think about if they make you the same way.

6. Does it affect the people in your life?

You may want to do something in your career that requires a change. Are people in your life in alignment with that change? Say you have the chance to be in a sales position that is rewarding but requires travel. How will this impact your life and family? This will come into play with decisions.

7. Is it fiscally responsible?

I am sure more than one person has dreamt of quitting their job to do something like write the next great novel. Are you at a stage in your life where you can do this? People have family debt and responsibilities that need to be met. This is an integral part of any career decision.

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8. Does it elevate your skills?

Any new career decision has the opportunity for personal growth. If this is important to you, it will be a factor in any career decision. It may set the tone for future career decisions as well. Reflect on how it will enhance your skills in both the short- and long-term.

9. Is it in line with your brand?

You have probably heard the phrase “personal brand”. It is who you are, what you do. It is the service you provide. Is the career decision keeping with your brand? You need to decide if it is consistent with your track record of success or if it is sending you in a new direction.

10. Does it provide value?

If you are making a career decision does it benefit you and the people you will serve? Does it solve major problems or improve quality of life?

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Any difficult career decision goes well beyond the tangible aspects, like salary and benefits. Since most of our hours are spent in our careers, any decision can be important. Take a holistic approach in any choice to see what is right for you.

Featured photo credit: 29/52 choice paralysis/Lauren Macdonald via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 25, 2019

How to Write a Career Change Resume (With Examples)

How to Write a Career Change Resume (With Examples)

Shifting careers, tiny or big, can be paralyzing. Whether your desire for a career change is self-driven or involuntary, you can manage the panic and fear by understanding ‘why’ you are making the change.

Your ability to clearly and confidently articulate your transferable skills makes it easier for employers to understand how you are best suited for the job or industry.

A well written career change resume that shows you have read the job description and markets your transferable skills can increase your success for a career change.

3 Steps to Prepare Your Mind Before Working on the Resume

Step 1: Know Your ‘Why’

Career changes can be an unnerving experience. However, you can lessen the stress by making informed decisions through research.

One of the best ways to do this is by conducting informational interviews.[1] Invest time to gather information from diverse sources. Speaking to people in the career or industry that you’re pursuing will help you get clarity and check your assumptions.

Here are some questions to help you get clear on your career change:

  • What’s your ideal work environment?
  • What’s most important to you right now?
  • What type of people do you like to work with?
  • What are the work skills that you enjoy doing the most?
  • What do you like to do so much that you lose track of time?
  • Whose career inspires you? What is it about his/her career that you admire?
  • What do you dislike about your current role and work environment?

Step 2: Get Clear on What Your Transferable Skills Are[2]

The data gathered from your research and informational interviews will give you a clear picture of the career change that you want. There will likely be a gap between your current experience and the experience required for your desired job. This is your chance to tell your personal story and make it easy for recruiters to understand the logic behind your career change.

Make a list and describe your existing skills and experience. Ask yourself:

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What experience do you have that is relevant to the new job or industry?

Include any experience e.g., work, community, volunteer, or helping a neighbour. The key here is ANY relevant experience. Don’t be afraid to list any tasks that may seem minor to you right now. Remember this is about showcasing the fact that you have experience in the new area of work.

What will the hiring manager care about and how can you demonstrate this?

Based on your research you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be doing in the new job or industry. Be specific and show how your existing experience and skills make you the best candidate for the job. Hiring managers will likely scan your resume in less than 7 seconds. Make it easy for them to see the connection between your skills and the skills that are needed.

Clearly identifying your transferable skills and explaining the rationale for your career change shows the employer that you are making a serious and informed decision about your transition.

Step 3: Read the Job Posting

Each job application will be different even if they are for similar roles. Companies use different language to describe how they conduct business. For example, some companies use words like ‘systems’ while other companies use ‘processes’.

When you review the job description, pay attention to the sections that describe WHAT you’ll be doing and the qualifications/skills. Take note of the type of language and words that the employer uses. You’ll want to use similar language in your resume to show that your experience meets their needs.

5 Key Sections on Your Career Change Resume (Example)

The content of the examples presented below are tailored for a high school educator who wants to change careers to become a client engagement manager, however, you can easily use the same structure for your career change resume.

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Don’t forget to write a well crafted cover letter for your career change to match your updated resume. Your career change cover letter will provide the context and personal story that you’re not able to show in a resume.

1. Contact Information and Header

Create your own letterhead that includes your contact information. Remember to hyperlink your email and LinkedIn profile. Again, make it easy for the recruiter to contact you and learn more about you.

Example:

Jill Young

Toronto, ON | [email protected] | 416.222.2222 | LinkedIn Profile

2. Qualification Highlights or Summary

This is the first section that recruiters will see to determine if you meet the qualifications for the job. Use the language from the job posting combined with your transferable skills to show that you are qualified for the role.

Keep this section concise and use 3 to 4 bullets. Be specific and focus on the qualifications needed for the specific job that you’re applying to. This section should be tailored for each job application. What makes you qualified for the role?

Example:

Qualifications Summary

  • Experienced managing multiple stakeholder interests by building a strong network of relationships to support a variety of programs
  • Experienced at resolving problems in a timely and diplomatic manner
  • Ability to work with diverse groups and ensure collaboration while meeting tight timelines

3. Work Experience

Only present experiences that are relevant to the job posting. Focus on your specific transferable skills and how they apply to the new role.

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How this section is structured will depend on your experience and the type of career change you are making.

For example, if you are changing industries you may want to list your roles before the company name. However, if you want to highlight some of the big companies you’ve worked with then you may want to list the company name first. Just make sure that you are consistent throughout your resume.

Be clear and concise. Use 1 to 4 bullets to highlight your relevant work experiences for each job you list on your resume. Ensure that the information demonstrates your qualifications for the new job. Remember to align all the dates on your resume to the right margin.

Example:

Work Experience

Theater Production Manager 2018 – present

YourLocalTheater

  • Collaborated with diverse groups of people to ensure a successful production while meeting tight timelines

4. Education

List your formal education in this section. For example, the name of the degrees you received and the school who issued it. To eliminate biases, I would recommend removing the year you graduated.

Example:

Education

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  • Bachelor of Education, University of Western Ontario
  • Bachelor of Theater Studies with Honors, University of British Columbia

5. Other Activities or Interests

When you took an inventory of your transferable skills, what experiences were relevant to your new career path (that may not fit in the other resume sections?).

Example:

Other Activities

  • Mentor, Pathways to Education
  • Volunteer lead for coordinating all community festival vendors

Bonus Tips

Remember these core resume tips to help you effectively showcase your transferable skills:

  • CAR (Context Action Result) method. Remember that each bullet on your resume needs to state the situation, the action you took and the result of your experience.
  • Font. Use modern Sans Serif fonts like Tahoma, Verdana, or Arial.
  • White space. Ensure that there is enough white space on your resume by adjusting your margins to a minimum of 1.5 cm. Your resume should be no more than two pages long.
  • Tailor your resume for each job posting. Pay attention to the language and key words used on the job posting and adjust your resume accordingly. Make the application process easy on yourself by creating your own resume template. Highlight sections that you need to tailor for each job application.
  • Get someone else to review your resume. Ideally you’d want to have someone with industry or hiring experience to provide you with insights to hone your resume. However, you also want to have someone proofread your resume for grammar and spelling errors.

The Bottom Line

It’s essential that you know why you want to change careers. Setting this foundation not only helps you with your resume, but can also help you to change your cover letter, adjust your LinkedIn profile, network during your job search, and during interviews.

Ensure that all the content on your resume is relevant for the specific job you’re applying to.

Remember to focus on the job posting and your transferable skills. You have a wealth of experience to draw from – don’t discount any of it! It’s time to showcase and brand yourself in the direction you’re moving towards!

More Resources to Help You Change Career Swiftly

Featured photo credit: Parker Byrd via unsplash.com

Reference

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