The Importance of a Successful Career Transition
In the last few years, more and more professionals have questioned how their greater purpose shows up in their daily lives. Many of these professionals are looking to make career changes because they think their skills and abilities could be better aligned to their passions and purpose.
In fact, Google Trend data shows searches related to career changes and job transitions have increased significantly since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, with some search terms seeing more than a 100% increase in search volume compared to the previous year.
What are tangible steps you can take to evaluate whether or not a career transition is right for you? Which steps can you take first?
In order to make a successful transition, several key factors can influence your success.Having a clear sense of your values and goals, having a strong support network, and being proactive in seeking out new opportunities and building new skills are all crucial factors to consider.
Assessing Your Skills, Strengths, Values & Interests
First, look inside. What are your skills, strengths, and values?
While oftentimes we are aware of these, dial into these deeply and really examine them as they may have changed over the last few years. Below are some questions and suggestions. In order to get the most out of them, actively reflect on each question and write your response down.
Skills. What are skills you have, and which are ones you wish you had? Which are skills you enjoy using, and which ones don’t feel as exciting to leverage? GeniusMesh offers a career path tool based on over 1M+ datapoints that can help you understand your transferrable skills and about potential career paths.
Strengths. What are your strengths, and not just the ones you’re most aware of? Crowd-source information from colleagues, family, and friends — it can help provide insight on any hidden talents you might not utilize on a daily basis.
Values. Values are important to think about because they are deeply linked to what motivates you. If your values are mis
–aligned with your career choices, it can cause you to be unmotivated, which is challenging especially at a time when so many are questioning their greater purpose.
With that, think through what your values are. Try searching for free online values assessments that will help you bring awareness of your values to the surface.
Do some work to align your strengths/skills to your values. Do they fully align with the skills and strengths you use frequently on-the-job? Are there skills and strengths you wish you used in your work that align more closely with your values? How do these align to your interests and passions?
Researching and Exploring New Career Options
Collect external information and stress-test it for your needs. Do research on some of the shifts you’re thinking about making. You probably have to think through logistical elements, too. Are there others in your network who have made similar changes? How did making this change work for them? What is your support network like? If you were to make a change, are there family members, friends, others in your network you can lean on for support and guidance?
There are several online tools you can use to evaluate where you stand now and how similar others have made such pivots in their careers. For example, GeniusMesh’s resume evaluation assessment is a market-leading tool that’s powered by AI to evaluate your resume so you can understand specifically how to leverage your previous experience in new industries. Moreover, if you sign up, you can use GeniusMesh’s proprietary career path tool to help you evaluate your next stepsby capitalizing on your previous experience.
Think about small steps you can take now, like networking and building connections. Networking will help you understand more deeply if this is a career path that feels realistic. You can test the waters by seeking informational interviews, shadowing others in their roles, or volunteering in a new industry to gain confidence and experience. The added benefit, of course, is that you will increase the size of your network in the process, which means you’ll have more contacts you can rely on for advice and referrals.
Developing a Plan and Setting Goals
We recommend you develop a plan with a coach, then put it into action. Working with a coach can help you unpack your insights and translate them into tangible action. While little research exists on how quickly working with a coach can help speed your transition, research does demonstrate that working with a coach is more likely to lead to an effective career transition.
A first step toward working with a coach is to populate a development plan that’s aligned to your values and experiences. This is where you can aggregate your findings about yourself and research you did about the external environment into tangible actions. Think about the following:
- Which are critical experiences you need to have prior to making a career change?
- How will you get these experiences (learning by doing, learning in a formal setting, etc)?
Having a specific timeline in mind to help you move through your goals will help you create and build momentum.
Working with a coach can accelerate your career transition. Having a coach trained in leadership traits like learning agility can set your job-search apart. Learning agility is the ability to learn quickly in new situations – a critical skill you must harness to pivot quickly into a new career.
Coaching is a dynamic process that can help you tap into and augment your learning agility. Coaching can also help as you refine your career goals and strategies over time (as you learn more) to make sure you’re focusing on the priorities that are most impactful.
Changing careers can be a long and challenging process, so working with a partner to provide support, feedback, and guidance on applications and interviews, in addition to managing the emotional challenges of the career change process can help drive better outcomes. A coach can help you focus on what matters most with your goals in mind.
Conclusion: Embrace Change for a Fulfilling Career
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of professionals seeking more purpose in their daily lives. This resource provides actionable steps for those considering a career transition, including self-reflection and developing and actioning on a plan with a coach.
It’s crucial to do the external and internal work, in addition to understanding that steps you take toward your goal will not come about overnight. Working with a coach can provide support, feedback, and guidance, and can help individuals learn more about themselves over time to yield impactful outcomes.
While making a career change is not for the faint of heart, with careful consideration and planning, a successful career transition is possible and can lead to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven career.
Dr. Ginevra Drinka is an organizational psychologist, leadership development expert, and executive coach with over a decade of internal and external consulting experience. She completed her PhD research in 2018 at Columbia University. Most recently, she advised a Talent Management team at Nike, Inc. to adopt best-in-class leadership assessment and development practices to enable succession planning for the future. In her Executive Coaching practice, she focuses on building client capacity to become more learning agile which helps leaders increase innovation, navigate change effectively, and build high performing teams who will embody their organization’s mission. She is currently the Head of Leadership Development at GeniusMesh and leverages the lessons from her PhD research and consulting experience to build an executive coaching practice that serves EMBA talent. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband and son.