Career Change: Tips to Making the Move

One of the things many women tell me is that they would love to switch careers, but "I'm stuck in this field." Upon closer inspection, what I find is that these women have years of valuable workplace experience. However, as their current job has dragged along, it has also diminished their confidence so that they believe they are unable to make a move. In fact, all they need to do is learn how to take the skills they have amassed and redefine them in a way that would open up their career opportunities.

Obviously if you want to enter a field that requires college training - medicine, law, pharmacy, etc - that is a separate issue, but for many of us, we need to embrace the art of redefinition. Here are my quick tips on how:

Break out of that old mindset.

To create change, you must first believe you can. Calculate how many more working years you have. Do you want to spend that long in a job that you dislike, or that is draining the very enjoyment of life out of you? If you know what career change you would like to make, start thinking of yourself as fitting that position.

Embrace variety, don't apologize for it.

All too often, we feel that we need to justify our decisions and this leads to an overly long explanation. Too many women sabotage their goals in the application phase by indirectly apologizing for their past experience. How many of us recognize the phrase "although I don't have any experience in this field…." That one simple phrase suggests a lack of confidence. Compare that to: "My advanced skills in marketing and PR would be an ideal match for your needs within this field." This leads me to…

Tell them what you have, not what you lack.

So you don't have experience in this field? What about the conference that you organized last year? How about the fact that you doubled sales in your division? Focusing on your achievements with hard facts and figures will show prospective employers that you are dynamic and can overcome certain obstacles.

Adapt to your goal.

When introducing yourself to people and they ask what you do, by all means tell them what you do but be quick to follow it up with a confident "but I'm now moving into…." Stress that you are making the change. It sounds more positive and definite than "I'd like to…."

This is only touching on the topic and there is much more that could be said. The thing to remember though is attitude. The same skills are used is most jobs - financial management skills, interpersonal skills, time management and so on. The key is in how you present yourself and those skills. Think positive. Be positive. And good luck!

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