- April 7, 2011
- Posted by: admin
- Categories: Blog, Career Growth, Corporate Culture, Human Resource Management, Relationship management, Requirement Analysis
We often see people want to opt for a different field or start a new career. There might be multiple reasons behind it. For e.g. when people are not satisfied with their current job roles; compensation etc and when they don’t foresee much scope or growth opportunities in their current fields, they start thinking of changing their respective careers.
However, it is extremely essential to do self assessment and analysis of the different fields before making any decision. Besides, gaining some technical expertise before entering a new field is equally imperative and a person should consider all these and other possibilities that might be involved in such decisions.
My question is what tips would you give to the people who want to start a new career that can assist them in avoiding potential hassles? Furthermore, highlight the probable risks that are involved during such a transition?
Would welcome your participation.
My company does career coaching along with our consulting work. First, I think it is vital to do an assessment of yourself — ( real and abiding interests, core values, goals, aptitudes, knowledge and skills sets and so on)– both before you select a career and when a career change is contemplated
One of the things that has most astonished me over the years is the number of people who ‘stumbled’ into their careers by pure happenstance, or were influenced by friends, family members or mentors to pursue a particular career path which turned out to be unfulfilling.
So, in terms of tips:
I would strongly encourage career changers to do Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors process. This involves a self-scoring inventory and interview. I am not attempting to ‘sell’ this service — although it ideally is conducted by a trained coach, Schein provides an instruction guide, so it can also be done with a friend or colleague). Schein has identified ‘career anchors’ which reflect core motivations, drivers and often unconscious values about work. Here’s how the process can assist people:
> It uncovers early interests and passions in a person’s life that they may have lost touch with.
> It surfaces the underlying factors that influenced educational and job choices up until present.
> It identifies values and drivers in a person’s career, and what really motivates them, of which they may not be fully aware.
> It identifies aspects of work and physical environment, in addition to the job itself, that are important to someone.
>Finally, it identifies elements such as whether a large or a small, personal organisation be the best fit.
This process has helped a number of clients make radical career changes. For example, an engineering client found himself hating being part of a large, faceless, anonymous engineering group in a large corporation. Career anchors demonstrated that his core drivers and values included: wanting to make a difference in people’s lives, wanting to work alone or with a small elite group of respected colleagues, and wanting challenging work in a scientific arena. He ultimately returned to university and is now a happy and fulfilled cancer researcher. But whether one uses this or other assessments, I agree it is vital.
Some of the main risks I have seen (and many can be minimised or eliminated by the self-and career option assessments) include:
> Often (as in the case of the engineer turned cancer researcher) you will need to go back to school to pursue another discipline. Depending on personal circumstances, this may cause financial hardship. It may remove you from the job market for a period of time, although many people have been able to work part or full time and pursue education through night courses, or virtual internet programs.
> Many of my career changing clients have loved their new work, but found they lost (and missed) many friends and contacts from their old career. Related to this some described how they were unprepared for the fact that competencies/attributes they most valued in themselves and were respected by colleagues in their old careers, were not valued in their new career environments.
> There is also the risk that you will simply not be very good at your new career, and ultimately will find yourself relegated to a dead end job
> In addition to self-assessment, it is important to research targeted career options, through the internet, reading, taking courses/attending seminars, networking and doing as much informational interviewing as possible.
> Ensure that you understand what competencies and credentials will be required, at what level you could realistically expect to enter, and growth prospects in your new field.
> If you are otherwise suited for such an organization, small growth oriented entrepreneurships may be good targets, as they will often hire people who are bright, motivated and creative and build jobs around them.
I agree with you about the need for self assessment and analysis of career fields. My career changes were made in a rather knee-jerk fashion: I wanted to pursue college teaching so I did so, and wasn’t making ends meet so I turned to clerical work.
There are a lot of state workforce centers that can help in the assessment process; I’ve gone through some. There are books in the library and on Amazon that have career tests and talk about career change too. What Color Is Your Parachute? is very helpful.
People should make sure the field is a good fit before changing (do some reality checks and informational interviewing) and make sure they have enough money to help them through a transition (they can temp or work interim jobs too).
I would advise a person who is considering changing fields to examine their base and core competencies first. Find a commonality between these variables and the fields they are considering.
-Examine the market demands, geographically and economically.
-Evaluate the independent market for your current skills.
-Look for the career paths to determine where your ‘entry point’ might be.
-Supplement any available training to accentuate your credentials.
–Broadly market yourself in and around the desired field, industry and or user base.
-Attend Panel meetings and discussions on the relative subjects of the field and develop a voice, learn the lexicon and meet the players.
You can change your stripes radically or subtly, or any where in between if it is the right time and market for this move.
Life taught me that we can change industries as long as we understand business and as as long as we are willing to keep learning. Filling the gap is absolutely possible. You would be surprised about the range of skills and competencies career changers can transfer when looking outside of the ‘tunnel’. It is also higly beneficial for companies to capture different experiences. It requires attitude, an open mind, preperation (as Guy outlined above) and focus. Think about how many activities and requirements business has in common across industries. Why should people limit there career opportunities in one industry and why should companies miss out on cross industry talents?
Anyone in a career transition should definitely seek out and utilize a great resume professional resume writer. It is a serious mistake for folks in a transition to write their own resumes as a normal resume is challenging enough. To change careers in a recession is challenging enough. Combining the two without professional resume writing help is unwise. Why squander opportunity if it is limited in the first place?
Most of the people who are unemployed for a year or two years or more are folks who tried it all by themselves first. Sometimes delegation is a good idea especially since only 7% of the population can handle regular resumes well. Read this info article: “Proof Writing Your Own Resume Can Cost You $3000.” Click on the link below…
Be focused and gain expertise.
Remain within your limits and expertise.
Enjoy the work – not the lifestyle or perks.
Prefer to be in a location with friends and relations.
Develop network – use them for learning and seeking opportunities.
Learn fast and read related topics to gain expertise in current interest and related issues.
Reference: “How to be an Employee”, People and Performance, Peter Drucker.
Get skills in the new career before leaving the current career.