2014 will be the Year of the Horse. On the Chinese Zodiac, the year is for those who make efforts to improve themselves – energetic, bright, intelligent, and capable people. For even sounder reasons, it may be the time for professionals and mid-professionals to make a career change.
The end of 2013 may be the best time to prepare for a change.
Ask yourself the following:
- Where do I want to be on my career and income path by this time next year?
- Am I now where I wanted to be this time last year?
- How big of a challenge would it be for me to relocate?
- Will the change lead to a period of consistent growth and security?
- What is in my way?
Perpetual job search
What year you want to change careers is not the prime issue. Professionals and mid-professionals understand that they are in a perpetual job-search. You need to scout and locate opportunities and prepare to act when opportunity presents itself. But, there may be signs that 2014 is your year.
- Happy to have any job, people have been reluctant to rock their career boat throughout the recession. Most of the positions cut permanently were at mid-career levels. But, there is a steady momentum at end of 2013 that indicates significant new hiring in 2014.
- Positions lost to the recession may not return. But, other positions have been redesigned to fill the gaps in knowledge, skills, and abilities. Those employers are finding it difficult to fill those redefined positions.
- Unemployment claims are down, but the growth over the next two years is predictably modest. Companies and small businesses are posting solid if modest profits, and companies are investing again in plants and equipment.
- There is every reason to leverage your current position into a more expansive and better paying path at your current employer. With your understanding of the corporation’s culture and operations, you are well positioned to bid for a position distinctly different from the path you have been on.
- Resolve to relocate. Promising professionals virtually eliminate the promises of career change when they rule out the potential for relocation. Home ownership and family commitments constrain the freedom to move, but you must weigh those constraints against the long-term effects of career advancement.
- Entrepreneurship may be the ultimate career change. But, it has the significant advantage of independence. It carries risk, of course, but if you have salable talents, you may find the compensation offsets your worries.
- Employers of mid- to large-size need communicators. They need to recover and restore employee relationships and loyalty following the problems presented by the recession. Careers in communication, social media, and content marketing present new futures.
- Knowledge and software professionals are in high demand although they may need to relocate to tech dominant cities.
What you need to do –
You need to reconsider your life’s work and what it has prepared you for. People too often see their futures as a horizontal roll-out. They “plan” as if they had been granted tenure and have no obligation to change things. For most careers, this is a naive position to work from. Successful people understand that life requires some reinvention on your part.
Your resume should reflect who you are; it should not be limited to where you have been. You need to revalue your experience in terms of your ability:
- to influence
- to problem solve
- to research, analyze, plan, and prioritize
- to work in team environments
- to mine and quantify data
- to process and communicate information
- to create, write, edit, and communicate reports
With such abilities, you can reconstruct yourself and employers’ perceptions of you. Employers are less interested in matching jobs past with jobs present. They are as interested as you in recruiting those who will take them places.
What they are looking for –
Professionals and mid-professionals looking to make a career change do not have piece work in their pasts. Your success and promise are bound up in less tangible experience and performance outputs. What they want and what you have to promote are:
- Leadership skills and potential
- Written communication skills
- Analytic and quantitative expertise
- Team experience
- Proven problem-solving record
- Innovative and initiative mindset
- Computer and knowledge working talents
Start your search now!
A career is what it is – unless and until you take control. Mid-career professionals are likely to change careers more than once – voluntarily or otherwise. The trick to successful survival requires you to stay ahead of the curve and make the career change on your own terms. Recognizing that a proper job search may take six months or more, if you have made a resolution to make the career change of your dreams in 2014, now is the time to start.