You may find yourself at a career crossroads for several reasons. Apathy for your current role, redundancy, returning to work after parental leave or relocation, to name just a few.
Whatever stage of your career you’re at, and whatever your personal circumstances, reaching a career crossroads can feel incredibly daunting. You’ll no doubt have concerns over financial security, whether you have the confidence or skills to change direction, and how to successfully navigate down a new path.
But by breaking the situation into smaller, more manageable steps, you can avoid feeling like a rabbit in the headlights and speed up the process of identifying your next exciting career opportunity.
In this blog, I’ll talk you through my top 7 tips for taking advantage of a career crossroads, and how to secure a fulfilling and satisfying role.
1. Look after yourself first
The last two years have been exhausting! Living through a global pandemic, home schooling, furlough and working remotely will have taken their toll. Even if you don’t feel like they have.
Make sure you’re mentally strong before making any major life decisions. This includes adopting a good self-care routine, including getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising and doing things that bring you joy.
Once you’re in a strong frame of mind, you’ll be ready to embark on the next step in the process.
2. Acknowledge why it’s time for a change
Wishing to pursue a new career path could be for a major reason, such as feeling like you’ve gone as far as you can in a role or because your values no longer align with those of your company. Or it could be due to lots of smaller, more subtle reasons, including:
- Feeling bored
- Questioning whether your role is fulfilling and meaningful
- Lacking motivation
- No longer enjoying working in your team
- Feeling undermined or underappreciated
It’s time to look inwards to identify why you feel ready for a change and ask why you’re unsatisfied. Understanding what your heart and your head are telling you is a significant step in identifying how to rectify the problem.
3. How bold do you want to be?
How big a change do you really want?
Would a new team or a more hands-off line manager do? Are you looking for more flexible working arrangements? Are you interested in people management?
Or is it a more drastic move you’re ready for, such as a completely different career or starting your own business?
Visualise where you want to get to. Once you have a clearer picture in your head, it’ll be much easier to turn this dream into reality.
4. Create a skills inventory
Sometimes frustrations arise because we’re not using the skills we’ve mastered or not using them to their full potential. It could also be because we’re no longer challenging ourselves to gain new skills.
It’s helpful to sit down and complete a skills and motivations inventory to identify what makes you tick and how you might best apply them.
List all your skills, considering those you use in the workplace and those you may use in extra-curricular activities. Then, once you have your long list compiled, go back through it, circle the ones you enjoy using, and cross out the ones you don’t!
This is a simple exercise, but by the end of it, you should be able to identify the root cause of a lot of your frustrations and have a clearer idea of how you want to put your skills to better use in the future.
5. Find support
You don’t have to go through this process on your own. Instead, work on building your network and use platforms such as LinkedIn to research how others have made similar transitions.
Talk to colleagues, family or friends to bounce ideas around or find a mentor who can coach you and offer advice.
For more information on networking, take a look at one of my previous blogs.
6. Put yourself out there
Create opportunities for yourself by finding online courses or seminars to increase your skills and expand your network. Also, consider volunteering for projects either within your current organisation to raise your profile with co-workers or externally to gain new contacts and valuable references for your CV!
7. Stay flexible
It’s going to take time, effort and determination to steer yourself along your new career path. On the way, there may be hurdles, obstacles and challenges to overcome. You may not be able to jump straight into your dream career. So, instead opt for some stepping-stone roles to plug gaps in your skills or experience. Try to remain flexible and appreciate that your new and exciting career may take some time to attain.
Would you like some help navigating your career crossroads?
For more information about how I can support you, contact me to book a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.