3 steps to successfully changing careers

Are you looking for a career change but not sure what the next right move is? Or maybe you know the next move, but you are not sure how to get started? If you have answered yes, then this article is for you. And, don’t be alarmed if you are not sure what the next move is or how to get started as this happens to many people at some point in their careers.

First, let’s take a moment and look at what success means to you. This is essential as your next career move should drive you towards your path to the future success that you are aspiring to. The goal is to move towards what we want.

Set your objectives

You must set your own goals and objectives, based on your own desires and not what someone else wants from you. It is possible that your definition of success won’t resemble with anyone else’s. And that is the perfect way it should be. For anyone who wants to define their own path to success, they must start exploring the answers to a specific set of questions. Following are the questions which you must address before setting off on the journey to success. It helps writing them out. Often, we can answer in our minds, or so we think, but in reality when asked to write it out or speak it out, it becomes a challenge.

  • What do you want to be in life? (*hint: not what you do, or your function, what kind of person do you want to be?)
  • What does success mean to you? (be specific, is it money? How much money? Is it purpose? Is it family? Is it a combination?)
  • Which is one thing that drives you from within?
  • What is your vision for your life in the next 5, 10 or even 20 years? Look at it as a trailer of what is to come in your life.
  • Imagine one year from today, where do you see yourself? (In personal and professional lives). What is the preview look like?

Yes, it can be difficult to answer such questions. But don’t move ahead unless you have the answer. Spend some time on this. Don’t rush the process.

Explore career change options

Next, before you begin to explore potential alternative paths for your career change, take a moment and put aside everything you have known up to this point about career development, career change, and career challenges that people face. Start with an open and fresh mind and begin to reflect on the below.  Start with exploring and writing out answers to these questions:

  • Look back at your accomplishments. What are some things you are most proud of?
  • What activities give you energy?
  • What activities drain you?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What tasks come easily to you?
  • Aside from financial obligations, why do you work?
  • What makes your work worthwhile or valuable?
  • Where do you see yourself professionally one year from now? Be as specific as possible.

If you are having difficulty coming up with answers to the above questions then perhaps it would be helpful to do this exercise with a trusted mentor, career coach, or a friend. Sometimes having a sound board might help with getting some of these answers out. You know them, you just need to take some time to explore those areas and reflect; having support would help in this case.

Keep learning and discovering

Finally, get curious! Stay up to date on market trends, especially in your area of work that you want to pursue. We don’t know what we don’t know. Expand your circle of influence, expand your knowledge areas, and explore what else is out there. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • be aware of what will be needed in the future job market, what new technologies are coming out that you need to be knowledgeable about. Check out Future of Work reports.
  • read up on the news, updates from the market, reports on different industries, attend conferences/events
  • enroll in a program to get further education (executive courses, certifications, skill building courses) – money is no longer an obstacle to learn with  platforms like Coursera and Udemy that are available and cover many areas of knowledge with online courses.
  • read, read, read – your brain is a muscle, you need to exercise it.
  • maintain a healthy lifestyle – in order to make sure we are curious about the outside world, we need to maintain curiosity in our own minds and bodies. Are you being your best self physically and mentally? Have you discovered what else you can do when it comes to maintaining a healthy, vibrant, and energized body? Career change can be challenging and demotivating, staying in your best shape physically and mentally really helps you maintain your resilience and drive in the process.
  • connect – you always need to make time to maintain/expand existing networks and to create new ones. I highlight make time, because being too busy is no longer an excuse. You simply must make time for building and nurturing relationships. It can be in group gatherings, it can be a phone call, an email, a holiday greeting. Listen to other people’s stories, get curious about their journeys, build relationships, expand your circle. You can do this by connecting on online platforms, attending events, asking for introduction from existing connections, and being active in organizations of your interests and alumni groups.

Article written by Elena Agaragimova – Managing Partner, Bessern Enterprise 

An engaging skilled trainer and talent development specialist, Tedx Speaker, with 10 years of experience, credited with combining operations, education, and international expertise to design and deliver programs for diverse audiences. Elena has a strong passion for learning and development, promoting creative and engaging workplaces and all about optimizing performance through the development of others with a keen interest in neuroscience. An experienced career and business coach, currently working with mid-level to senior level managers in various industries, supporting them in achieving their professional and personal goals.