In the last of this series of blogs, I turn to exploring your career change options by focusing on your values, passions and goals. You will recall that these are the final three of the six suggested areas of self-assessment and reflection on your own career change:
- experience; passions; values; qualifications; skills; goals
Previously, when looking at qualifications, skills and experience we discovered that these can be quite easy to measure and successfully research.
Passions, values and goals are unique to you and shaped by your experiences, people and situations you have encountered to this point in your life. There’s plenty of career theory around these subjects that consider how early life experiences can shape your goals and ambition, the influences of the environment in which you live and the role models that have shaped your ideas and goals.
By way of example, recalling some of the clients I’ve worked with over the past year, one chose a care profession based on a childhood memory of the positive way a relative was cared for; another followed the same direction of others in his family; while another client was seeking to emulate the success of female role models she admires.
Each of these is personal to them, just as yours is to you.
For the first two examples, their career choices are straightforward and easy to research, in that they chose their job roles based upon what others had done. The final one is a little trickier because although they know what they aspire to, it can be difficult to find the right environment in which to achieve this. Success is determined by a number of factors with a key one being the right environment.
Some create their own environment by starting their own business to do this. Starting a business, whether you plan to grow and employ others or develop a lifestyle business, is easier than it used to be and starts with a (business) plan that considers factors such as resources, costing and how best to reach your target customers.
But for many they will need to find an employer that matches their personal ambition, which isn’t always easy. Whichever route you choose I recommend you utilise your personal network and connections, such as here on LinkedIn.
Whenever I’ve networked I’ve always found that people are more willing to respond if you ask for their advice or opinion, rather than if you try and sell to them. Research supports that most of us respond positively to someone asking for help. So whether you have a business idea, or want to know what it takes to land an opportunity in your chosen job role, asking others for their help or advice can be advantageous.
So what about finding the right employer? When working with career change clients seeking new opportunities I ask them to consider and list what’s important to them from a prospective employer; and also employers they believe match their criteria. What’s interesting is that money is rarely the main reason for a new job search, something supported during my 25+ years as a recruiter. Instead clients tell me they want to feel valued within an organisation that has good values and that encourage diversity and personal development. They want good leadership that trusts them and their abilities and nurtures creativity, collaboration with an eye on the future; and finally, they want to work in a positive culture.
Finding the right employer will take research, effective networking and a willingness to be yourself and not to be afraid to show your vulnerability, or lack of knowledge on a subject – otherwise why would you be asking for their help.? Try suggesting a quick chat over coffee, or a beer, by way of thanks for their advice.
The worst that someone can say is no.
Engaging with an employer you admire is a great way of finding out how they engage with and support their teams, how interested they are in you and how useful their advice is. I’d also argue that it’s the best way to land a new opportunity. When I look back over my career as a recruiter I rarely filled vacancies, instead I engaged with employers who might be interested in the needs and aspirations of my candidate(s). My success rate supports this, as does the fact that the best employers are not the ones that need to constantly advertise for new recruits.
If you’ve found the information in this series of blogs to be helpful and prompt further ideas for discussion, or to find out more about my coaching and how it can help you in your career, then please reach out to me here or email me: [email protected]
I became a career coach because I have a genuine passion and interest in the importance that careers have in our lives; and for supporting others to enjoy their career helping others make the most of their career. So I’d conclude with a couple of lines from the poem Desiderate, by Max Ehrmann:
‘Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.’