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  • Writer's pictureNeal Sardana

Looking to make a career change?

Updated: May 3, 2020

As the new year begins many individuals are evaluating various aspects of their life and looking to make positive meaningful change. One area that is central to our lives and wellbeing is our career. Are you looking to make a career change in the new year but unsure where to start? I would like to share with you some of the approaches that I encourage clients to use to think about and as they move towards a career change.

Looking back to look forward: Often people know what they don’t like in their current or previous position but find it difficult to tap into what that they are actually are looking for. Before a first session, I have each client write down three experiences where they felt fulfilled or accomplished. These do not have to be career related. This activity can help you gain insight, notice themes, and begin to build a road map towards what you actually want.

Informational interviewing: Once you gain some general understanding of who you are and what you find fulfilling, the next step is to gain more information about the various career paths you are considering. The best way to do this is complete what is called an informational interview. This is where you contact someone working in the field you are considering and see if they would be willing to talk to you about their experiences. You may ask questions about how they got into the field, what education and skills are required, what a day to day looks like, and advice they would have for someone starting in the field.

So where do you find these professionals to complete informational interviews with? Some suggestions are through family and friends, browsing LinkedIn, organizational websites, and the alumni database provided by most college career centers.

Taking small risks: Many times, what holds individuals back from making a career change is the potential change may feel to big at the moment. For example, it may not make sense to quit your job tomorrow to move into the field you are considering. However, you can still start moving towards your new goal and continue to build experience. This can look like volunteering, taking a class, job shadowing, or taking on additional tasks at work related to the career change you are making.

Mental health matters: Individuals often think about the practical aspects of making a career change while not giving attention to the mental health aspects. Thinking about making a career change can be an emotional process. Career encompasses our identity, interests, and values. Making a change can challenge our beliefs about ourselves and what is possible. It is important to be self-reflective, compassionate with yourself, engage in daily self-care, and surround yourself with a supportive group of people as you undertake this challenging and meaningful journey building towards the life you want.

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