A long time ago people usually spent their entire 40 years career or at least decades of their work years employed at the same position. The world we live in, for better or for worse, can’t be more different. According to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor of Statistics, an average US worker will change as many as 12 jobs before retirement.
On the one hand, this dynamic pace creates a very versatile workforce and multiple career paths. On the other, these transitions are almost always riddled with various challenges, downtimes, and turmoil that, in the long-term, can hurt your career prospects.
Let us take a look then at a couple of effective strategies that will help you navigate situations when you are forced to look for a new job position and use the present-day labor market as an opportunity rather than a detriment.
Be ready to ask yourself the hard questions
This is something you should do whenever you feel stuck in some position with no chances for advance or you are forced to look for new employment. Such situations are an excellent opportunity to rethink what you consider important in life, what you expect from your next position, how will the change push you forward, what were the obstacles you experienced at the previous job, have you noticed some of the personal flaws that eventually held you back and other. These introspective questions may feel very unpleasant, but they will help you make better career choices and learn from your previous mistakes.
Establish realistic expectations
If you follow all the instructions from the previous step you should have a much better idea about what do you need to do next and how these moves will benefit your career in the long term. Now it is time to perform the reality check. Even if you have the best plan in the world, the labor market won’t simply bend to your will and you will need to take a couple of sideways before reaching the end line. No need to worry, though. Accept this as a part of your career plan, adapt it, and keep pushing forward. Keep in mind that your best is more than enough and that every step in the right direction still makes a progress.
Ask for a professional help
You don’t need to worry about the lack of options – in the end, the final say in the whole matter will be yours. The main benefit of hiring a consulting agency or enrolling in professional career coaching is that you will get access to trained experts with an excellent outlook of the labor market and connections in the industry you may be interested in. Asking their services may provide you with the info previously unavailable to you, give you a new perspective on the problems you were facing, and supply you with the tools you can use to solve such problems in the future. A good investment if there ever was one.
Leverage your professional network
When looking for a new job, far too many people focus too heavily on the position that speaks very little about the actual job you are going to perform, the people you are going to work with, and the goals of your future employer. Building up the professional network and using these connections to open up entirely new career paths, come in touch with employees, and rethink your priorities can go a long way in solving this problem. In some cases, this strategy can help you discover companies and career paths that were not previously radar, but due to unique culture fit into your modus operandi.
Immediately establish connections in the new environment
Onboarding can be a very painful process both from a personal and a professional standpoint. There are two ways to address this problem. The first is to start building personal relationships as soon as you start working in a new position. This will reduce culture shock and accelerate learning. Your goal should be to get close with the veterans that can teach you the most. Furthermore, be sure to ask as many questions as you can. Any knowledge gaps you may not even be aware of will keep on growing until they start impeding your work. Finding a friendly mentor is the best way out of this common maze.
Focus on the process goals instead of outcome goals
This will help you to keep the job hunt but also the accommodation at the new workplace much easier. So, instead of focusing on your long-term outcomes and setting up the milestones around them, try to focus on the process. For instance, instead of pursuing a job interview set yourself a goal of making ten calls a day. Instead of mastering some new skill make a habit of using a couple of hours for learning. This focus on the process will save you a lot of disappointment but also a false elation. Just believe in the system, give it enough time to start working and the results will come sooner than later.
We hope these few tips will help you navigate the process of a career transition from the realization that you need to pursue a different career path to the accommodation to the new workplace. One of the most important things you should take away from this article, however, is that career changes are perfectly normal and even if they seem stressful they can open up the doors you don’t even know exist.