Career transition is hard. It’s one of those things that all of us go through eventually. Some define career transition as chaotic, while others find it adventurous, even exhilarating. Regardless of how career transition has occurred in your life, you always have a choice. You may feel victimized by a career transition thrust upon you by an organizational structure change or buyout. When change happens in this manner, it’s easy to focus on the victimhood that results of being jolted by some external force.
However, playing the ‘victim’ in any situation robs you of your one true superpower; choice. Victims assume things happen outside of them. They feel as though they’re a leaf-in-the-wind being tossed and turned by life’s circumstances. However, shifting slightly, you’ll notice that even playing a victim is a choice. Your ability to choose responses to unfolding daily situations as opposed to indulging any ‘reaction’ with the lame excuse of “this is just how I am…’ ultimately robs you of your agency.
On the other hand, responding assumes you are able to consciously choose your next steps. Responding to career transition is a much more powerful place from which to notice and act. Career transition creates uncertainty, so these 7 responses will lead you more powerfully forward each day.
Transition Tip 1 – Define Then and Now
Every career transition has a ‘before’, a ‘during’, and an ‘after’ stage. This ‘reality’ of change provides an awareness of place. When you pay attention to where you are in the process, you can shift your perspective. And perspective is everything when managing yourself through a career transition.
To begin, get quiet and start to truly notice your surroundings. If you’ve never tried meditating, now would be a great opportunity to learn how to become quieter. Go inside and begin to observe your breath. Then focus your thoughts on what specifically has changed for you. Focus on aspects of your life that are different now. You may be surprised that this exercise calms you down and helps you stay centered. Once you’ve quieted your mind, take out your journal and write down your observations. This process of reflection is another way to gain perspective and maintain your focus.
By defining what is true for you today, you will enter into the second stage of transition – NOW. Looking back, you’ll gain clarity on the steps you’ve taken to get where you are now. This observation will help you shift perspective.
Once you are steadied into the now, seek to establish daily best practices that will harbor a positive environment for change. Consider meditation, movement, and maybe work with a coach to help you hold onto your power and focus through the career transition.
Create your life-timeline. Layout paper and begin by writing your date of birth on the left-most side of the page. Then draw a horizontal line from left to right (you may need several pieces of paper depending on your age.) Write today’s date on the right-most side of the line. Then, fill in your jobs, milestones and any significant events (such as relocations, jobs, promotions, graduations, and life-losses).
There are several ways in which this exercise will assist you in transition. Not only will it provide a bird’s-eye view and perspective, but it will help you get out of the rut of change, and focus on your past accomplishments. I suggest this exercise often when I work with clients through the transition. Although it may seem daunting, it helps you gain perspective and focus on your life successes and frustrations. Knowing what you love and what you hated only helps you make better decisions as you move forward.
Transition Tip 2 – Assess Your Personal Assets
Clarity is the silver bullet to help you manage career transition. So, deepening your awareness of your strengths, skills, talents, styles, and interests will help you gain insights into your past. Learning more about how you’re wired up allows you to dive more deeply into your past experiences, assess your choices and perhaps better understand your current circumstances.
I walk clients through a series of assessments to help you find ‘self’ clarity. Starting with a fresh, clear picture of how you define your values, strengths, talents, and interests, will help you gain clarity. Actions based on your strengths and skills will be critical to moving forward more aligned. Assessments provide insight into how you’re naturally ‘wired’.
Assessments help you identify your values, strengths, career timeline, time management habits, and organizing style preferences. All of these areas provide perspective opportunities to notice yourself as you are. When you’re working in alignment toward your goals and your next career move, you’ll be perceived as more powerful.
Knowing what you like and don’t like, as well as your personal superpowers will give you a better idea of where to focus your skills during career transition. Knowing yourself better will help you implement strategies and solutions to reduce overwhelm and keep you on track.
Transition Tip 3 – Define Your Ideal Work
Many people bumble their way through career transition and hurriedly back into the next available job. Then when the glow of the new position wears off, they realize that although they are making a paycheck, they’re really no better off than they were when they started. are not r a heightened understanding of who you are now, you’ll craft your ideal working situation. This is what you desire when you’re through the life transition and onto your new normal. Your ideal work may NOT be based on what you’ve always done, rather on your core values, strengths, talents, skills and interests. Ideal work may NOT be a job. It may be something totally new and different. We’ll explore your thoughts and fears related to this life transition, shifting careers and work opportunities.
Assessments help you identify your values, strengths, career timeline, time management habits, and organizing style preferences. All of these areas provide perspective opportunities to notice yourself as you are. When you’re working in alignment toward your goals and your next career move, you’ll be perceived as more powerful. Knowing your unique style preferences will help you feel more confident. Learn your own winning formula for productivity and flow. Take the Time & Space Style Inventory here.
Transition Tip 4 – Update Your Resume
Even though it may be difficult to do when you first lose your job, updating your resume is an essential step. A career transition is a great time to brush off your old resume and give it a makeover. Why? Because your resume is an important document to help you move forward to your next job. And if career transition is thrust upon you it is an important step toward relaunching! By looking deeply and acknowledging your results, accomplishments, and successes you’ll experience yourself differently.
When you update your resume, review your summary, goals, specific dates of employment and be sure to focus your past employment positions on your achievements. Avoid using the passive voice in your resume, and focus on the specific ways you created results in your most recent job. Create your resume in a Word document, and save it as a pdf with a current date. This way you’ll be able to search for the most recent version as you move through the transition.
Update your resume! If the task seems too daunting, go online for help. Career search sites abound. Start with your LinkedIn Profile and use it to help you collect your thoughts, experiences, and successes.
Transition Tip 5 – Explore All Your Options
Career transition eventually moves into stage 3 which I like to call ‘Relaunch’. Relaunching is more powerful when you feel totally aligned and infused what you’re about. Now is the time to get curious about opportunities available to you. Not only should you do online searches, but now’s the time to get in touch with your old cronies. Here’s a great article to help you figure out what is next.
Reach out to alumni groups from your school. Talk to your neighbors. Don’t hide in the dark and be embarrassed, instead invoke your village and tribe to help you. Reach out to others via social media or in a friendly letter. Let people know what you’re looking for. The best jobs are found before they’re even posted on sites.
Another way to explore your options is to take a look at your current skills. How are you doing with technology? Do you feel your skills are marketable? Do you know everything you need to technically? Sometimes staying in one position of employment can stunt your skills. So, if that describes you, take the information you uncovered in transition tip two and begin exploring opportunities like you did when you were a kid… You’re only limited by your beliefs. Focusing on abundance will help you find the most opportunities.
There are many online sites to help you clarify your skills and talents. One of the most popular is Mindtools. Start here to learn more about you and your superpowers!
Transition Tip 6 – Hone Interviewing and Networking Skills
Both interviewing and networking are skills. This means that you can get better at both. Interviewing and networking skills are teachable and many people have skills gaps in both of these areas. Today, many interviews are completed virtually. Learning interviewing techniques that work every time can be helpful. Practicing answers to common interview questions will help you feel more confident and craft more detailed answers.
You also may want to brush up your knowledge on how to handle difficult questions. Since everything is connected, a career transition is a great time to also update your online profiles and hone your networking skills. LinkedIn is the most essential profile to keep up to date with your most recent employment and accomplishments. And, once you set your profile to accept job offers, many additional online job sites will find you. It is important to create updated profiles to find jobs online.
A quick online search can help you learn skills online. There are platforms such as Lynda and Coursera that offer online learning courses. Many offer free short term membership options as well. Additionally, your local community college or career center can help you brush up your interviewing capabilities.
Transition Tip 7 – Create Your Action Plan And Timeline
Career transition represents liminal space. Liminal spaces are those areas that fall ‘in between’. An example of liminal space is an elevator or stairwell. Although each is a defined space with a purpose, each represents the space in-between where you were before and will be after. Thinking of career transition as liminal space can help ease your pain with uncertainty.
However, although career transition is uncertain, you can create some framework that will help you stay sane. One of the best ways to do this is to create an action plan for yourself. An action plan with specific time-oriented goals and deadlines will be helpful. Another way to ensure you make it through career transition more easily is to find an accountability partner.
Find a professional colleague, friend or coach to accompany you through this transition. This person can help you stay on track, tie up all the loose ends and create your ‘next steps’ for moving you forward in the direction of your Relaunch!
In Conclusion, although career transition can be challenging, following the seven tips above will help you ease through. Giving yourself a strong base of self-awareness, daily best practices and knowing your skills and assets is a great start to move you forward through a career transition. You’ll accelerate your process when you create goals, accountability, a realistic timeline, and an action plan to get you out there you’ll be well on your way to making a career transition more fun. So, if it’s a new job you desire, don’t delay the path toward more options, opportunities, and ultimately interviews. If you’d like someone to accompany you on the journey to something different in your future, let’s connect on a complimentary call to discuss how I can help you plan your relaunch with pizzaz!