You want to make a change in your career and think you have identified 2 or 3 new career options. Now what?
All you can see is an ocean of obstacles. It feels risky and financially scary. How do I know which option is the right one for me and what if none of them are?
This does not have to be a case of leaving the shores of relative safety and diving straight in head first (although some prefer it this way!).
Instead, you can choose to begin by exploring and experimenting. This is about finding ways of getting closer to your change without yet making the full commitment. Like trying on a new career to see how it fits you before buying it.
If it is the perfect fit, brilliant. You can continue to plan your next steps, plus you will already have made useful connections and had some experience of your new career world.
If it doesn’t turn out to fit that well, then this is a great way to review and eliminate options and move on to exploring other possibilities.
Start by grabbing a notebook, put on your ‘open and creative’ hat and list all the things you can do to dip a toe in the water of your new career.
Think of actions that will help you to gather knowledge, understand what it might be like in real life and allow you to try out the skills you want to use.
Here are eight questions to help you develop your plan:
- Who could I follow or engage with via social media who already does the job I aspire to?
- Which organisations would I love to work for? How can I connect with them and find out what it is really like to work there?
- Who do I know (and who do they know?) who works in the area I am interested in or even something related? Who can I have a chat with and what questions would I like to ask them?
- What free or inexpensive courses, webinars and podcasts are available?
- What relevant volunteer opportunities are there in my area?
- How could I make a more sideways move in my current organisation or offer my help to a different department that relates to my area of interest? E.g. I want to work in communications = offer to help on a coms project or write a post for the company website.
- How could I offer or practice my skills for free or start doing it part-time? E.g. I want to be a photographer = take some photos of my friend for their new website. (Ask for some feedback and perhaps a testimonial!)
- Who might value the service or product I want to offer, but wouldn’t normally be able to afford it? Could I offer a reduced rate E.g. for a local charity or small business?
Moving into the headspace of being curious and getting out there can feel daunting. But once you start connecting and interacting in your new career world, it will help open up the possibilities, seriously expand your insight and give you a chance to see what it could be like for you.
So, pick up that notebook, make a cup of tea and get brainstorming!