June 19, 2018

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I Need a Career Change - Here's How

Imagine how your life would change if you were passionate about your work? How would it feel to have your boss praise you for doing such a good job? What would it feel like to be truly satisfied with your career, and know that your work has meaning and purpose? That your contributions are important? What would happen if you were paid top dollar for your work? How would living and working at your dream job, every day, impact your life?

This is not simply a fantasy when you tell yourself, "I need a career change." USA Today just ran a survey and the results indicate that job dissatisfaction is on the rise. In fact, 53% of Americans are not happy with their current positions. 53%! That is more than half of the workforce. Obviously lots of people feel like job changing, so what is stopping them? Do they not know how? Are they scared? Or, are they just too lazy to try?

If people are happier when working with purpose and they feel better fulfilled by doing work they are passionate about, let's look at how you can obtain this goal and build an ideal life for yourself.

To get you started in the right direction, here are some proven strategies that have worked for my career counseling clients.

  1. Take the risk. You must move out of your comfort zone. You won't get ahead if you accept the status quo or listen to negative self-talk that says, "This is as good as it gets." Oprah Winfrey gave a commencement address just recently and shared this insight, saying, "I stand here as a symbol of what IS POSSIBLE when you believe in the dream of your own life and take action to make something happen for yourself." You may need to find new supporters, interested mentors, take some classes, read career development or job search books, and listen to motivational tapes that teach effective ways to make your next job and your future a real dream come true.

  2. Build a career on your strengths. You have natural talents that you were born with. These talents are the things you find easy to do. Maybe it's teaching or writing. Maybe it's designing, selling, or helping people. You have numerous strengths so list all your talents, including things that others compliment you on. If you begin to use your mastered strengths on the job daily, you'll move up faster, find better jobs, and be paid a higher salary as a result, so make using your innate talents the basis for any position you choose to go after.

  3. Figure out exactly what you want to do. What do you love to do? To hear about? To talk about? Investigate all the various careers you might be able to hold in that field of interest. Carefully weigh what work tasks you like to do, and which tasks you dislike, and analyze your current skill-set, training level, and accomplishments to date. Concentrate on using your transferable skills (i.e. computer expertise, managerial talents, project management experience, etc.) so as not to have to start over at the bottom of a field. Go online and investigate new fields, industries, and potential careers. Narrow the long list of options down to create a short list of jobs you would love to do. Then conduct comprehensive interviews with individuals who work at those types of jobs, or in fields of interest to you in order to get the real facts and insight on what that career is really like. Evaluate growth opportunities, salaries, benefits, and then determine the job title to target. If you are stuck or need more help, career counseling may be valuable; and "What to Do with The Rest of Your Life" is a good book to get you started.

  4. Be ready when opportunity knocks. Keep your resume updated so you can send it out at a moment's notice. HR Manager Melinda Combs, who has hired hundreds of professionals, revealed that human resource staff often sort resumes with a quick 15 seconds glance just to determine if they are worth a closer look, and they eliminate 80% or more. Resumes get noticed when you describe specific results and accomplishments. Polish your interview skills. Practice answering questions and develop a strategy to illustrate how you could perform this new job. Be persuasive and continually stress your major selling points. Be ready for the tricky salary questions. Research salary data online and know what you are worth and what level of salary you should expect.

- Robin Ryan

Copyright 2007 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

America's most popular career counselor, Robin Ryan, is the author of four bestselling books: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!, Winning Resume, Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's appeared on over a thousand TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, and has been published in most major newspapers and magazines including USA Today & the Wall Street journal. Contact her at 425.226.0414; email:

Copyright 2007 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

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