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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

8 Things to Consider When Making a Career Change

8 Things to Consider When Making a Career Change

People consider a career change for a variety of reasons. They may feel like they have no room for growth in their current field, or the career may not be all that they had hoped it would be. In either case, making the switch to a new field can be a daunting task, but it’s often necessary if you wish to find satisfaction in your professional life.

Here are 8 things to consider if you are contemplating a career change.

1. Do You Really Want a Career Change?

Before you start looking for a new career, you should first ask yourself if it’s the career you dislike, or your employer.

If you truly enjoy what you do, then it may just be your work environment or your current employer’s policies that are making you unhappy.

If it’s the company you work for that’s making you unhappy, then a change in employer may be necessary.

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If it truly is your career that you dislike, then you can start considering new options for your future.

2. What Are Your Values?

Determining what your values are can help point you in the direction of a new and satisfying career. In fact, it may be a disconnect in your values that is causing you discontent in your current career.

Consider what it is you want from your new career. Is doing good and helping others important? Or are you more interested in switching to a career that will offer you recognition and a chance to move up in the corporate ladder?

3. Are Your Skills Transferable?

For some, diving into a new career can be a bit intimidating – especially if you choose a career that requires a set of skills you don’t already have.

Try to focus on skills that are transferable to any career. For example, if you have managerial experience, this can be useful in any industry you choose. If you have technical skills or experience in sales, these are also useful in a wide range of different fields.

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By pinpointing your transferable skills, you may find it easier to make the switch to a new career and find an employer willing to hire you.

4. Are You Okay with Starting at the Bottom Again?

If you plan on switching careers, you must be prepared to start from the bottom of the ladder again. In most cases, you will need to prove your competence before you can move up in the company.

Are you willing to lose your status? More importantly: Are you willing to take a pay cut?

5. Is There Room for Growth in Your New Career?

The thought of switching to a new career may be exciting, but have you thought about the possibility for growth?

Ensuring that you choose a career that will allow you to branch off and explore new opportunities is important. Without room for growth, you may find yourself in a dead-end career and regret your decision to switch professions.

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6. Will You Earn Enough to Support Your Lifestyle?

Unfair as it may be, you must consider the salary you will earn in your new career. Will it be enough to support your current lifestyle?

In some cases, you may be looking at an increased salary. However, if you will be forced to accept a lower salary, you will need to consider whether or not this will negatively impact your quality of living.

7. Which Companies Would You Like to Work for?

Take the time to research companies in your prospective field. Find out what the companies’ missions are and what their biggest challenges are.

Do you have any skills or knowledge that can help them solve these problems? Do these companies provide an environment that you would feel comfortable working in?

8. Who Can Help You Make the Switch?

Networking is important in any field, and if you plan on switching careers, you will need all the help you can get.

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Try reaching out to others who are working in the field you are interested in and asking them questions about their work. This will give you an idea of whether or not this career will be a good fit for you and your values.

Take the time to find industry publications or read through industry-related blogs to find out as much as you can about the field before you decide to make the switch.

Browsing through job openings online can also be of help and will give you an idea of what responsibilities you will take on in your new career. By learning as much as you can, you will improve your chances of landing your dream job.

More Tips on Making a Career Change

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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Helen Evans

Helen is a job search expert and writes about job hunting tips.

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

    According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

    You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

    Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

    Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

    Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

    The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

    4. Develop Your Strategy

    Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

    Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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    Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

    Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

    The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

    Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Why do you do what you do?
    • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
    • What does a great day look like?
    • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
    • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

    Define success to get promoted

      These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

      Final Thoughts

      After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

      Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

      More Tips on How to Get Promoted

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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