Oh, for the good old days. You went to school as far as you could, found a job, worked there until you retired and that was it. So, why isn’t this path working anymore? The economy seems to be changing before our eyes, an industry that held great promise a few years ago now is disappearing. New job titles are popping up everywhere with new industries appearing all over the globe.
After 20 or more years working in one career, you now may be unemployed with little hope your old job will ever return. So now when you should be enjoying the satisfaction of working in a settled career you have to start all over again.
Welcome to the new career life cycle. The new career path is to get educated, find a career, get some experience; your skills max out, the career and job end, you add some more training, find another career and job, your skills max out, your career and job end and so it goes until you retire. The question is: how can you succeed in this type of unpredictable and chaotic work and career environment?
The foundation of moving from career to career or industry to industry is to identify all of the transferable skills that you can apply to a new career. In transferring these skills you need to identify and package them so the new employer has a high degree of assurance that you can perform the required duties of the new career.
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Here are five ideas on how you can build and transfer the required skills:
1. Make it a habit to study careers. Be aware of your area job market and be alert about career and job trends. A good practice is to copy interesting job announcements. Take note of the skills required. Be aware of listed skills that you do not have.
2. Assess your skills. Take an inventory of your skills. Something that you may take for granted, for example, managing a time-sensitive project and negotiating with vendors to get the job done on time, maybe what you do well but from the outside, it’s a series of valuable and hard-earned skills.
3. Never stop learning. Plan on a lifetime of learning. From learning a new language to the latest in technology you should be adding to your skills on a regular basis. A regular reading program should be central to your efforts. Local colleges and schools have a wealth of programs. Distance learning on the internet is exploding with a wide range of offerings.
4. Build your experience. Activities outside of your normal work are valuable methods to build your experience. Working with your church group or a charity that you have an interest in can all be methods to gain experience. Career group associations are another avenue where you can add to your experience.
5. Redefine yourself. You are not a job title. You are not the sum of your work experience. You are accomplishments and skills and abilities. You get things done, problems solved, barriers breached, teams built, customers served, ideas created and implemented all to bring value to the job and benefits to your employer.
By redefining yourself and focusing your efforts on skills needed by a prospective employer your career change will be successful. Since it’s likely that you will be going down this career change path a number of times, keep working and applying the five methods to open up new career opportunities and when required, to make the transition as painless as possible.