Career Transitions

Your career is an evolving, multifaceted experience—not a static fixture in your life.

Changing your job or career field is normal.  At some junctures, your career will evolve into a different level or aspect of what you've been doing.  At other points, your career will jump in completely new directions.

The keys to negotiating these changes are to maintain a flexible outlook and to constantly add to your skill sets.  Pick up extra certifications; attend workshops, enroll in the occasional course at a local college.  Stay aware of what the economy is doing around you; where are other places you could apply your skills and experience?  Is there a hot new career field that looks interesting to you?  Will you need additional training or a new degree to get into it? 

Step 1:  Take some time to evaluate where you are now and what skills and experiences you have.  What are you really good at?  What do you enjoy doing most?    Which of your qualities are most in demand in the market right now?  What would you like to get out of your next job?

Here is an online tutorial to help you work through this process.

We recommend "Do What You Are" by Tieger and Tieger; "I Could Do Anything if I Knew What it Was" by Sher. LinkedIn can be a useful tool when changing careers.

Step 2:  Research the job market.  What kinds of work is available?  Who is hiring?  Which organizations are doing work that is meaningful to you? Job databases are an obvious start for this research (although not terribly helpful for acquiring jobs).  Use resources like CareerOneStop and  Trade Associations' publications and professional LinkedIn groups are also great ways to learn about trends.  Talk to W&M alumni in these organizations and career fields; what advice can they give you about this work?  Will you need to pick up additional training to work here?

Step 3:  An extension of the step above; start building your networks of acquaintances in the chosen line of work.  Start re-branding yourself, telling the story of who you are now. Join professional associations, attend workshops and conferences.  Comment on and start your own discussions in LinkedIn professional groups.  Pick up relevant certifications and classes.