5 ways to ensure your career change is successful

Have you ever wanted to turn your back on your current career and try something new?
Most of us feel this way at some point - often when we’re under pressure from looming deadlines, difficult clients, or long hours. Usually, the thoughts drift away once the drama has passed.
What happens when those thoughts turn from being an occasional whisper to a constant internal roar?
Before you look for a new job, take some time to work out what your instinct is trying to tell you. Some of the more common reasons for career change include:

·      Feeling dissatisfied with your current job or industry. It may no longer be challenging, the industry could be retracting, or maybe you feel you’re no longer being true to yourself.
·      Being inspired to join a different industry. You could be excited by innovation in other areas or see a way to use your current skills in new ways.
·      Wanting to start your own business. You might see an opportunity to become a solopreneur catering to a market niche. (This is a popular motivator for those looking to set up a new income stream before retirement.)
·      Necessity. Maybe you can no longer work in your current field due to changes in personal circumstances such as health or family situations.

If these reasons feel strong and valid, follow these steps to help ensure you make your career transition successful.

Have a plan

Changing career is a major life choice and it pays to spend time working out how you want your life to look when you reach your goal. Consider factors like:

·      How much you need to earn to support a lifestyle that makes you happy?
·      Your current commitments. For example, education fees for your children, your mortgage, or maxed-out credit cards. Will these need modifications?
·      If you want to run your own business, do you have enough capital to get started? What about your superannuation or income during slow periods?

To help you clarify what you want to achieve in terms of personal and career growth, it may help to see a career coach, financial planner or business advisor – or maybe all three. Check out sites like The Entourage and Mind Tools, or books like What Colour is your Parachute? 2017: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers for inspiration.

Whatever you do, make sure you include those closest to you in all major decisions.

Do a stocktake on your skills and abilities

When Jo Mikleus reviewed all the roles she had held within the ANZ Bank over 26 years, she found that many of her skills were highly transferrable. They included:

·      Business leader with strength in driving shareholder value.
·      Networking/building professional relationships.
·      Negotiating and collaborating with peers and stakeholders at the highest levels.
·      Strategic planning and execution.
·      Leading through change and embracing disruptive innovation.
·      Team management, sales leadership, customer experience and much more.

Even if you are not ready to leap into a new career, take the time to reflect on the roles you have held and generate your own list of skills. You, too, may be surprised how many of them are transferrable.

Now, look at the type of work you want to be doing. What are your skills gaps and what can you do about them? For example, do you know how to manage basic bookkeeping and taxation? Do you need to brush up on your leadership or negotiation skills? What about marketing and social media skills?

Once you have worked out where your gaps lie, look for ways to do something about them. You may need to take a course through a TAFE or university to gain accreditation. You could also join a networking group (Link down to the networking section below) or build up your knowledge through an online course. Speak to those already in the industry and get their advice.

Have the confidence to back yourself, your capabilities, your experience and your intuition

People find all sorts of reasons to convince themselves they are stuck with the job or situation they are in for life. They may say they are too old, too young, over-qualified, under-qualified, or simply that “It’s just not a good time”.

Do any of those ‘reasons’ sound familiar? If so, think again! Chances are that none of them are true. In most cases, your beliefs stem from a lack of belief in yourself and are rarely based on reality. Instead, rewire your thinking about yourself and your abilities. Change, “I can’t” into “Why not me?”

Note all the successes and achievements you have notched up along the way. For example, you could add, “Increased net sales for my department by 20% in one year”. Own your achievements and sell them in your CV and LinkedIn profile.

For free professional advice on career transitions and developing your personal brand and online profile, listen to our podcast interviews with Bonnie Power and Susan Burke.

Don’t neglect your networks – internal and external

Great relationships take time. Have the patience to allow these to grow and mature over years and even decades. Your peers can be invaluable for helping you learn more about industry trends, giving you advice when you get stuck, and putting you in contact with other people of influence. Sometimes, they can provide you with great opportunities out of left field when you are ready to change jobs. To get started, try career and business mentoring groups or LinkedIn discussion groups like What’s Next.

You need to do much more than swap business cards. You need to have the discipline to maintain regular contact in some form. This could simply be catching up for coffee on occasion or sharing ideas on LinkedIn. Don’t fake it, though. Just like any other relationship, business friendships need to evolve from a place of mutual interest and trust.

Julie Mason is an expert on creating positive networks online. Listen to Julie’s interview on The Mentor List for valuable advice in this area.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

We all like to think we have super powers and can handle anything that comes our way but, sometimes, it makes much more sense to reach out and ask for help. Tap into your network of family and friends for advice, encouragement, and to spread your load when needed. No one will think the less of you for it. Most people are happy to help so allow yourself to be supported.

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Jo Mikleus describes herself as a ‘generalist’ business leader, rather than a business banker. During her 26 years at ANZ Bank, she has been the Head of Global Subsidiaries, Chief of Staff to the CEO Mike Smith, and a director on the Board of ANZ Bank (Vietnam) Ltd. Internally, she drove the CEO’s strategic priorities, development of the bank’s social media strategy and oversaw the development of ANZ’s market leading flexibility, diversity and inclusion policies.

In late 2016, Jo realised that it was time for her to challenge herself and move out of her comfort zone of banking. She is now transitioning into the next phase of her career and making the most of the opportunities unfolding around her. Discover how Jo has managed this career change successfully and hear all her valuable tips in her podcast interview on The Mentor List. There’s no doubt that Jo is leading by example.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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