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8 Things To Do If You Think You’re In The Wrong Career

8 Things To Do If You Think You’re In The Wrong Career

The Great Recession had a huge impact on the global labor market, as millions of citizens lost jobs amid a host of public and private sector cuts. Alongside a technological evolution which has eliminated opportunities in some industries and created new careers in others, the labor market has yet to make a full and clearly-defined recovery.

While this has helped to create flexibility in the job market and inspire a new generation of freelancers, it has also made long-term security extremely hard to find. Modern-day job seekers must maintain an open-minded approach when seeking out opportunities, while those already in gainful employment may find themselves committed to an unsuitable or unfulfilling role.

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What to do if you find yourself in the wrong career

If you belong to this category, it is all too easy to become disillusioned with the labor market and the lack of suitable, long-term opportunities. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage this situation and identify a relevant solution. Consider the following:

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1. Do not dwell on past events

Although the recent recession may have had a huge impact on the labor market, this is not the only potential trigger for a lack of job satisfaction. You may have made a series of poor decisions, which have left you working in a role that does not suit either your skill-set or future aspirations. It is important not to dwell on past events or the exact reason for your career stagnation, as this will only create further feelings of negativity and depression. If you do reflect on these events, be sure to remain objective and look for positive lessons that can be learned.

2. List reasons why you are dissatisfied with your career

There are multiple reasons why you may be dissatisfied with your career, and it is important to consider these carefully before making a rash decision concerning your future. The intensity of these feelings can make it extremely difficult to maintain perspective. So be aware of this and make a conscious commitment to invest time and thought into determining your next move. Start by making a list of reasons why you are unhappy in your job, working through each to identify whether or not they can be realistically resolved over time.

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3. Consider the positive aspects of your career

Conversely, your feelings of discontentment can easily overwhelm the positive or enjoyable aspects of your career. These are worthy of consideration, especially if you are fortunate enough to have a secure position of employment and a salary that reflects your credentials. It would be unwise to discard a fruitful career without fully appraising both its benefits and its drawbacks, as problems you are encountering may be short-term in nature or relatively easy to overcome. With this in mind, make sure you have an overview of the situation before making a final decision.

4. Understand the financial risks of immediately leaving your job

Even if you do decide that your current career is not right for you, making an immediate change is not necessarily the best course of action. This is especially true if you have a number of financial commitments, as unemployment may trigger a cycle of debt and subsequent feelings of anxiety, depression and panic. Always look to seek out alternative opportunities and roles of employment before leaving your existing position, as this will help you maintain a continual source of income.

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5. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses before job hunting

When looking for alternative job roles, it is important to consider your strengths and weaknesses as an individual and employee. Your recent experience of being a disgruntled worker may have altered your self-perception, and revealed aspects of your personality that you did not know existed. So before commencing a new career, it is crucial you have a clear understanding of your unique value and any areas that require improvement. This will strengthen future job applications and help prevent previous issues from reoccurring.

6. Begin to network and identify relevant industry contacts

Once you have identified the future career path that will best suit you, begin networking and develop a range of relevant industry contacts. Whether you are looking to remain in the same sector as before or branch out into a new and unfamiliar market, identify influential partners who can help you achieve your career ambitions. These may be leading industry thought leaders or potential employers, but either way they can introduce you to new and exciting opportunities.

7. Develop your skill-set and academic credentials

While technological advancement has a reputation for making and breaking industries, there are sectors where it’s impact may be less dramatic. Regardless of this, the pace and unrelenting nature of innovation has forced every industry to evolve to some degree or another. This means employees must refine their skill-sets and academic qualifications on a regular basis. This is especially true if you are looking to change careers, as you will need to boast the relevant credentials in the eyes of employers.

8. Re-evaluate your life as a whole

As you prepare for your career switch, it may be the ideal time to re-evaluate your life and address any work-life balance issues that may exist. These issues may have played a part in exacerbating your previous feelings of discontentment, especially if you worked in a stressful job role that demanded considerable amounts of time and focus. By evaluating your life, its contents and the priority you give to employment, you can approach your new career with the right mind-set and avoid replicating previous mistakes in the future.

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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