Student Success Centre

Change Careers

Studies show that most people today will change careers several times in their lives. There are many reasons for this.  Some of these reasons are under your control such as advancement, desire for new challenge, relocation, and lack of challenge while others are out of your control, such as those affected by the economy – companies downsizing or restructuring. Although your feelings will be quite different depending on your circumstance (whether it was your choice or not), the process of finding satisfying new employment is much the same.

Strategies to Deal With Change

  1. Examine your feelings. How do you feel about the upcoming change? Are you excited about it or are you angry or afraid? Perhaps your feelings are mixed. Losing a job is different than coming to the point where you decide to make a change. One is a matter of necessity; the other, a matter of choice. Once you have acknowledged your feelings, you are ready to move on to the work of job searching once again. If you continue to feel hurt or angry, talk to a professional who can help you see your situation in a more positive light. You need to move to your next job with a positive outlook, even if you don’t feel positive about the reason you are leaving your current job.
  2. Self-reflection. What did you like about your previous job? What didn’t you like? Think about other work and volunteer experiences you have had which gave you satisfaction. What would you enjoy doing, even if you didn’t get paid to do it? What does work need to have in order for it to be fulfilling to you? Examples might be things like flexible hours, respect, opportunity to work independently etc.
  3. Research the job market. When you are job searching it is important to heighten your awareness of what is happening in the marketplace and the economy. Depending on your level of flexibility, are you able to broaden your job search to another geographic area? If not, what opportunities are opening up in your community? Local and regional labour market information is available online, and you will want to stay current with the happenings in your area.
  4. Identify your skills and relevant experiences. Although you are changing jobs, you have not lost your skills or experience! Are you staying in the same field of work? If so, your job specific skills and knowledge are applicable. Are you considering making a change in your career path? In this case, you will need to carefully articulate your transferable skills which you carry with you from school or other your previous work experiences to each position to which you apply. Personality traits, transferable skills and a newly targeted resume and cover letter will be needed to move you to a new career area.
  5. Revisit your network. Let your family, friends and professional network know you are looking for work. They will be an invaluable source of information about opportunities, and a support for you as you go through the process. Remember, changing careers and jobs is the norm today, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed about making this change. Depending upon how you present your situation to your network, they will support and help you in this time of transition.
  6. Review your job search skills and establish a strategy for change. While the economy fluctuates, the process of job searching hasn’t changed very much. You may want to include social networking, such as LinkedIn to your toolkit, but other than that, as with any job search, you need to make looking for work a full-time job. Access help and support when you need it. The Student Success Centre has many online tools to help you in your transition. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of Career Professionals when you are feeling stuck or unsure about how to plan your job search strategy.