Caroline Ceniza-Levine is the co-founder of SixFigureStart® (www.sixfigurestart.com), career coaching by former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline has recruited for leading companies in financial services, consulting, media, pharmaceutical/ healthcare, and technology. Caroline is a co-author of the best-seller “How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times” 2010, Two Harbors Press.
If you are unhappy in your current job, check first if you really need a career change or just a job change. If you like what you do in general, then you might just need a different work environment or employer. However, if you don’t like what you do or aren’t interested in your industry, then you may need a different career. Here are some career transition tips that don’t require a massive upheaval right now:
Don’t feel bad about keeping your day job. The best time to look for a job is when you have one. A new career entails greater upheaval than a new job, so you should budget more time for a career transition. Keeping your day job gives you that extra time. While you have a job and don’t have to worry about your next paycheck, use the hours outside of work to conduct research, network, and search for the next opportunity.
Read biographies. If you have no idea what your new career should be, reading biographies will give you ideas, inspiration, and at least one route to try.
Conduct informational interviews. If you have ideas for a new career, talk to people currently in that field. People who are actually doing the job will have more insights than even the most exhaustive career research. Find out what to expect in compensation, work environment, and job growth. Find out what skills and personality are required.
Start your new career before your new job. If you’re in accounting, but you want to be in advertising, don’t wait until your first advertising job before you consider yourself in the advertising field. Read Ad Age and other advertising trade journals. Join advertising professional groups. Learn the lingo. Dress the part. If you can walk the walk and talk the talk of your new career, it will help you during the actual job search and for now it will reinforce in yourself the confidence that you are ready to make this transition.