You know it’s coming. It’s the day the pink slips show up for the entire department. Or the manager calls you in and begins with “I’m really sorry about this outsourcing decision from Corporate…” Or you’re so bored and unchallenged on the job, you’re checking out employment websites, tweaking your resume and setting up interview appointments during work hours, and you don’t care who knows.
It’s time to start over with a new job or a new industry. Some people make the sudden jump with little preparation and land safe, sound and financially secure in a good place. Most need a few tips before taking the flying leap into the employment future to start a new career:
Educate yourself early and never stop
Learning does not end with a two or four-year degree. There are technical schools, additional degrees, adult education classes and certificate programs. Some colleges and universities allow access to campus for the non-student use of libraries and research facilities.
Attend organization meetings in a field you’re interested in
If you’re unsure about your career path, or a membership fee is expensive, ask to attend a monthly meeting as a one-time guest. Don’t be a wallflower in the back of the meeting room. Paste on a name tag and introduce yourself to others. Use this one shot to network and ask about the career field: what jobs are available, additional training, salary and travel. This is an opportunity to hear about the life from those who live the work.
Internships and apprenticeships are not just for the kids
Online job boards and career placement centers provide information on these temporary and seasonal learning experiences. Some pay a small stipend, and many converts to college credit. It’s an ideal immersion experience to start a new career: you work full-time for a relatively short period and decide if the field is right for you.
Be a Jill of all trades (and master a few)
Learn skills outside your comfort zone. If your job is 40 hours a week at a desk, ask a family friend to teach you basic automotive skills: changing a flat tire, air and oil filter, jump-starting a dead battery, lubricating doors, and hinges and replacing spark plugs. Mastering a very different skill set not only saves you money, it removes the blinders and redirects your everyday thinking. You now know you can change course in your career because you’ve not merely gone outside the box, you’ve built a totally new one.
Find and mind your mentors
Mentors are friends, family, and coworkers who know more than you do about something and whose advice you trust to move you to the next level of life and work. Seek and keep mentors in your circle; they are your network to a new job and a safety net when your world washes out and you need someone who reminds you that failure is just steps below success.
Transition with volunteer or part-time work
Volunteer work looks great on your resume; it highlights your socially responsible abilities. Part-time work provides extra cash for wants and needs. Both offer the chance to train for the transition to a new full-time career. Watch for openings, ask the human resources department about upcoming opportunities and chat with managers about how much you enjoy the work, appreciate the training and how you want to put it to permanent use.
Invest in your personal style
Keep your wardrobe current, your hairstyle clean and simple and maintain your physical health. Stay away from trendy fads and fashions for your career search. A prospective employer wants the skills, enthusiasm, and drives you to offer, not a runway reject.
Keep your resume updated and include a professional headshot from Korey Howell Photography. No matter how you leave your old job or where you start a new career, an accurate resume and polished photo say “I am ready to carry on towards this new career!”