How to Begin a Career Change |

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Career changes can seem complicated if you’ve never try to do one before. Here, I walk you through few introductory steps that will help you begin the process easily.

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I thought it would do a video because I don't a lot of these about career transitions, and where to begin the process of career transition. Because, normally, what happens is, for most people, you decide you don't like what you're doing your career is boring you to tears. How do you begin this process of changing careers, because you have the idea that you want to do something different?

Now, the first question I always suggest to people is, is it your job or is it the field? If it's the job, changing jobs may solve the issue. You can join an organization where you're valued more highly. By value, I'm not talking about money, necessarily. I'm talking about the appreciation that comes with doing great work, where they see was having potential, and you can, thus, feel appreciated, and have hope, which is often what happens in many organizations. People lose hope that they have any sort of real future.

Now, let's work with the assumption it really is the field. It is boring you to tears. The first question to ask yourself is, "What do I wanted to do instead?" Now, the knee jerk reaction, the lie we tell ourselves is, "I don't know. That's why I want to hire a coach."

I think that's a lie. I think, for most people, they have the dream that they block out and they're afraid of giving it a voice. So, they hire a coach to help them get permission to say what they know in their head. If you're really one of those people who really doesn't like what they're doing and doesn't have any idea (and there are fewer of you than you want to claim credit for this position. But let me just go with us) If you are really one of those people who has no idea, start with eliminating things, talking about things that you don't like from your current role.

So that you can identify those, then flip it to the other side. What would be the positive thing that you can do instead of this negative task? Then start looking for things between them from a strategic standpoint, from a task standpoint, from a day to day work standpoint. Start the process by asking, "What don't you like about your current work, flip it to what would be the opposite of that, look for some variables in the middle, and then start talking to people about looking for work that has these components to it.

What comes to mind for you? Then, instead of just expecting someone who's going to hire you based upon this curiosity of yours, do some homework. Find out what it is that the job really is about by talking to people who are doing the work.

Now, how do you find these people? LinkedIn is an obvious place. You talked to people who are doing the kind of work that you're curious about, sending them a message that basically says, "I'm considering a career transition to your kind of work and could I get 10-15 minutes with you just to talk with you about what it's like in your field?"

Now, everyone's going to talk about all the horrible things, because it's human nature to complain and criticize the work, the company what have you. But you have to look past that. You have to look at the fact that they may have 15 years doing this and you have not even 15 minutes or 15 seconds. This may be the most exciting thing in the world to you AND don't let them in their adult mindset block you from that. For you, this can be great joy.

Find out from them, what's required, from an educational standpoint, what the market is like, what the salary is like in the fieldbfor a beginner, for a very experienced person. Start connecting with people and just asking questions in, you know, ask if you can puppy dog with them or shadow them on a given day. I call it puppy dog because if you think of the word "puppy dog," It is just kind of following someone around with a happy look on its face, right? Do it more than once. Once with one person; once with another, in order to see whether it's just this organization, whether multiple organizations are like this, and learn from observing.

Lastly, critique what have you learned from this. I want you to start thinking in terms of talking to people who were in the career transition field for this kind of work, which might be the university where they do training for people along these lines. What do their graduates tell them is really necessary to do this switch? What skills are really needed? So you're getting it from multiple directions from people who are working in the field, and in the academic environment.

From there, I want you to take the class and watch and learn some of the day to day stuff that goes into the work so that, in this way, as you start talking to potential employers, you're basically saying, "hey, look, I took a course. I have been doing some volunteer work. I'm trying to get immersed in the field. I've gotten involved on LinkedIn, with groups that are here. I just want you to understand, I'm looking at this very seriously."

One more thing-- the money. People sometimes go into the new field saying, "Well, I can't afford to take a pay cut. They have to pay me what I'm making now." You have 10 years, or 20 years or more of experiencing your old field. You've certainly earned your value there. But you don't have the same value in your new field, because you've never done it before.

I had a guy come to me one time making a quarter of a million dollars a year saying he had to make the same amount of money as a beginner in a new field. It wasn't going to happen. I'm not talking about he was in a leadership role and in one end, he could lead another organization. I'm talking about something radically different. No way was anyone going to pay him that. He just wanted to talk the talk, which is why I confronted him on wanting to get out but wasn't willing to pay a price.

There's a price that you're going to have to pay for the decision to make a change. Where you can recalibrate your salary now or your spending now to reflect the new realities of what you'll need to accept in the way of compensation to start in a new field, it will serve you because you'll be able to build a nest egg, a cushion that will help you position yourself in the new role that you decide you want to be in.

So do the work now. Research now. The first field you may decide to look into, you may decide is not right for you. I want you to keep exploring, being curious and keep looking into things. So I hope you found this helpful. These are really the starting places for making the transition.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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