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Is Career Change really a viable option for you?

Even though we seem to be coming out of this recession, many seasoned professional are still having a hard time finding a new job. There are a number of reasons for this. Technical skills required keep changing and many more mature candidates who have been out of school for a while don’t have them. So, they experience rejection as they send out many resumes and get no responses. Then, they come to the conclusion that career change is the best option.
I am finding, experienced professionals have become disillusioned with their career path and want a change or graduating students or recent graduates are discovering that the original academic path they embarked on no longer holds their interest. What are they to do? I call my approach "reality based career change." From that title you can surmise that some career advice is not reality based. That in fact is correct.
There is a school of thought among some career counselors that is you follow your dreams success will follow. These counselors put their clients through a thorough career assessment where they identify their skills, passions, motivations and goals and have them research careers that match. This I call "feel good counseling." The client feels happy and energized in their pursuit of their calling until they find out what it takes to get there. For example one of my clients was enamored with the idea of being a news anchor on a major network. She had no idea of the difficulty in making it. They didn't realize how often they would have to audition for working in remote locations under not the best conditions, much less the amount of professional training it took to develop the skills for on the air broadcasting. The odds of making it are quite low and many people who do make it have to experience many failures before they get what they want. The stress on them and their significant others impacts their life.
Another school of thought among counselors is around the concept of "transferable skills." These are primarily self- assessed personal attributes that people bring from one work experience to another. Many of these so-called skills are nothing more than personal claims that cannot easily be proven. In resumes, people write such things as " team player", "excellent communicator" "fast learner" "works well under stress" and "dependable." These attributes if they are demonstrated on the job are admirable, but in and of themselves are inadequate to get hired. In most cases changing careers, moving from one industry to another involves further education. Usually the more desirable the career, the more education is required. That means that the time and money you put into the degree, may not be enough to land you the job in career you desire. Sure, you may in fact have some of the skills, but many careers require credentials and certifications. Do you have the where with all to do it?
I want to say that I don't try to discourage my clients not to follow their dreams, but as a reality based career coach I want to make sure that they have what it takes to be successful before embarking on career change.

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