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Planning your next career move

There are so many articles this time of the year around “New year, new career”. Why is it that the same issue comes up over and over again each year? We are unhappy about the status quo, yet we see the task of going out and making a change. We have negative thoughts about how difficult it is going to be and how unlikely whatever we do is going to make a difference. After all, the job market is bad and who will hire somebody who is a little older anyway. So with this negative self -talk we remain in the same situation until next year. And again we go through the same cycle.
One of the best ways to deal with this situation is to break the activities into chunks, so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. So let’s go through some steps:
Step 1. Assessment
Go to a career counselor and have them do a battery of tests to assess aptitude, personal style, interests and skills.
Match the outcome with the prospects in the job market. If you are in a second career mode, find out how difficult is it to break in.
Step 2. Develop a Plan of Action
Once you have identified potential career paths, develop an action plan to learn more about targeted professions. You may have several targets and different strategies to reach each.
Step 3- Informational interviewing
This is a crucial step. You need to speak to people in the profession to make sure that your potential career in realistic. What training and development is necessary? Are you willing to spend the time and money that it may take to accomplish what is needed?
Use sources such as Alumni directories and LinkedIn to find potential people to speak to.
Step 4- Develop a resume that demonstrates your skills as it related to the profession you are seeking. Even if you are not ready to search for a new position, you need a resume for networking so that your contacts can get a picture of what you bring to the table.
If you take these steps in a systematic fashion, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of making a career move.