You've finally come to the conclusion that your career isn't right for you. You're ready to move on. Easier said than done. How do you get out of a career path you've been on for a while?
Step 1: Get clear on your pivot. You need to choose a new career direction based on the facts. What problems do you want to solve? What skills do you want to leverage? How do you want to provide value to an employer? The more specific you can be about your new career direction, the easier it will be to connect the dots and get a new job doing what you want.
Tip: Companies hire you to save or make them money. They look for specific strengths they believe are needed to do the job. Knowing your workplace personas can help you articulate more clearly how your skills will deliver the value they are seeking, regardless of what career you were in previously.
Step 2: Create an "interview bucket list." A targeted, proactive job search always produces better results. When you identify the companies you would most like to work for, you can build a job search plan that lets you work smarter.
Tip: Narrowing in on 10 to 20 companies that align with your preferred company vibe can help ensure you will be a cultural fit. Finding companies that suit your needs helps you market yourself more enthusiastically to them.
Step 3: Make new career friends. It still holds true that 80 percent of all jobs are obtained via referral. If you are changing careers, you need to meet people who are working for the companies on your interview bucket list.
Tip: When it comes to expanding your network, you need to play the numbers. Don't get upset if someone doesn't connect with you. Instead, manage your expectations. For example, if you want to get two new connections at a company, plan to reach out to a minimum of five people who work there, knowing some will ignore your request.
Step 4: Seek a "lily pad" job. Getting a job at a company that has the kind of career opportunities you want to move into might start with you doing something for them that leverages the skills you gained in the career you're trying to get out of. Once you've got your foot in the door, you can use your professional savvy to impress the employer into giving you a shot at doing what you really want to do.
Tip: Trying to blindly apply to jobs that fit with your new career path won't work. The online application process is actually built to screen-out anyone who isn't an exact fit. Since you don't have previous experience, the online system will toss you. You need to go around the process and talk to people who can see that while you lack the experience, you have the personality and aptitude to do the job.
Changing careers isn't easy, but it can be done. It all comes down to how much time and energy you are willing to put into making it happen. If you feel like giving up, just remember this: There is no Career Fairy Godmother who is going to sweep in, wave a magic wand, and fix your career. Nobody can do this for you. Only you can.