How To Make A Career Change
Are you longing to jump ship and do something new, but all around you are voices – yours included, telling you to think again?
Here are my top 5 career tips to help you breathe easier while you make a career change.
1. Think of this as a gradual, elegant manoeuvre rather than jumping off a cliff
If you were planning any other major change, like moving abroad or buying a home, you wouldn’t just stick a blindfold on, put your fingers in your ears and jump. The same is true with your career change. Think about the journey as a more gradual process.
2. Run the Numbers
You have to keep the dog in biscuits and the roof intact right? So before, you make a career change, take time to look at your finances.
3. Mind The Gaps
If you are looking for a new job, start to collect information about the kinds of transferable skills you will need for this new direction and explore how you could fill in any gaps in your skill set via your existing job.
4. Go Carefully…
I never, ever recommend that you quit your job without a plan and a safety net. Explore how you might reduce your hours gradually if you are setting up something new.
5. Set A Clear Goal
Lastly, set yourself a timeline. This will help to keep you focused.
How to land a TED Talk
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.
The quality of TEDx talks can be a bit variable these days, so if you put the effort into being exceptional, the brand recognition can be super dooper for fledgling entrepreneurs or sparky speakers. So how to land a TED Talk? There are 3 key things you need to have in place to secure a TEDx.
1. Who you are and why you are a great person to give a talk?
2. What your TEDx talk is all about?
3. Which TEDx’s might have a theme that matches with your specialist subject?
Once you have these three key components in place, it’s simply a matter of persistence. Apply. Pitch your talk. Practice. Get feedback. Get better. Keep applying and sooner or later, one of those TEDx organisers will grab you! It took me at least 10 pitches over 3 years to land 2 TEDx’s almost back to back. Watch my favourite here.
What jobs allow you to work from home?
Thinking about doing it in yer jim-jams?
Here is my whizzbang, whistlestop tour of home-based career alternatives and some pocket career tips to go along.
Telemarketing and sales
If you have the gift of the gab and can be sufficiently self-motivated out of an office environment, there are plenty of opportunities for offering sales, customer service and business development from the comfort of your sofa!
Copywriting and Editing
Are you a natural wordsmith? The virtual workplace has led to an expanded need for good quality writers.
Personal Training, Beauty and Massage Services
Your client comes to you, or you to them. But either way, you dodge the commute and no day is the same!
Coding and programming
If you have a natural aptitude for systems and tech, a simple training in coding could lead to a rewarding digital nomad lifestyle.
We are so used to high-quality images these days. And the need for them continues to grow alongside the demand for online content.
Many more entrepreneurs means a growing demand for high-quality organizational support. If you love to help others, are efficient and organized, being a Virtual PA can allow you to work from home.
Professionals for Hire by the Hour
Hourly support in the form of at home accountants, bookkeepers, lawyers, IT support providers and customer service providers. See also online counseling and customer support.
Tutoring and Online Education
Got a skill you like to share? Whether it is piano, arts & crafts or forensic accounting, you can make money online by sharing your skill set as a tutor, online educator or course designer.
Social media management
Facebook, Instagram and the rest are a puzzle to most of us. Yet they can be powerful tools for marketing. There are plenty of organisations out there that would hire you for that. Just imagine a coffee-shop based social media lifestyle.
Management Consulting or Coaching
Last but not least is my own profession. If you have expertise in project management, risk, strategy, branding or are a business or career coach, you can benefit from clients all over the world and have the satisfaction of delivering great results for them, from the comfort of your own home.
Bonus! Useful websites to find opportunities to work from home:
Flexible working or work from home jobs
How to change careers and still make money
Ok, let’s face some home truths.
The twenties are for self-discovery and experimentation. Our thirties, forties and fifties are the times in which we consolidate, become experts and really invest in our careers. They are also typically an ‘expensive’ time of life, where you may have children to raise and a mortgage to meet. With that in mind, a career change can start to feel rather scary.
Fortunately, it is possible to change career and still make good money. Your experience, self-knowledge, confidence and network can make all things possible. Here’s how.
1. Believe That You Can
The story you tell yourself is going to determine what is possible for you. If you believe you have left it too late, you will find evidence to confirm that. If you believe a change is possible and you can be happier in another just as lucrative career, you will be right.
2. Seek out evidence to confirm that what you want is possible.
For example, a recent study in the US (The New Careers for Older Workers study) reported that 82 percent of career changers over the age of 45 were successful in their transition.
3. Your Skills Are Transferable
Firstly, you might think you are ‘throwing it all away’ if you plan to change professions or direction. In fact, you may find that your experience is more valuable than you realized. Many roles require a set of transferable skills.
Take a good look at a dream job you would love to have. Highlight the key attributes and skills wanted by the employer. I bet you have at least 70% of them.
How to test out a new career before committing 'Career Harikiri'
The Grass is Not Always Greener People
When considering a career change, we can often worry about whether we are making the right decision. You may have spent several years investing in your education and working hard to get good at what you do. You are experienced and trusted in your field. Here are three useful ways to ‘test drive’ a career before making a move.
1. Find someone with that job or lifestyle. Talk to them.
Sounds simple? It is! We all like to share experience and help others out when we can. Find someone to talk to about the role you think you might like. Ask them about their day-to-day life. They will be able to give you the warts and all view.
2. Job shadow
When you have outgrown a job, it’s natural to feel bored and frustrated. From this perspective, every other role can look like a dream! Test out your assumptions by trying on that new career possibility for a day or, even better, a week.
3. Pilot The Micro Version
This is an extension of the job shadow and it works really well if you think you might want to be your own boss. Here’s how it goes. Devise an experiment that costs no more than £50 that gives you a chance to trial this new lifestyle or test out a new business idea .
How to become an entrepreneur
It’s a 50/50 Split
About 50% of my clients want a new job. 50% of them want to start up on their own. Entrepreneurial thinking and skills aren’t part of the world’s educational curriculum – they ought to be, but they aren’t.
The good news is that we are in the midst of an enterprise revolution. It is easier than it has ever been to set up in business and many small businesses need little more than a laptop, phone and workspace for you to make a start. The bad news, without sufficient thought and planning, most new businesses fold within the first two years.
Here are my three top tips for those of you thinking about being your own boss.
1. Start small
I really believe in the power of a pilot project. A pilot means trying out a very small experiment, with minimal time and money, to test out whether your business has legs. Perhaps you want to run a café. So you hire a mobile coffee van for the day and see how you do.
2. Study Marketing
Every single business owner is in the marketing business.
Whether you want to make furniture, teach singing, arrange mortgages or plan weddings, you are not in business unless you have a paying customer. Paying customers need to know you exist and how you can help them. This is what marketing does.
3. Make your mistakes elsewhere
Cheeky but true. If you are moving into a new sector or industry, consider learning the basics on someone elses’ dollar. That means you take a role in the industry, where you can get trained, learn your trade and make mistakes while someone else pays the bills.
How to get through the day when you hate your job
Whether you are
- enduring bitchy management
- being brutally underpaid
- getting buried under crazy levels of stress
- or just feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled on a daily basis
if you really, really, hate your job, here’s an expert’s guide on how to make it through the day.
1. This too shall pass
I promise you, at some point, this will all be ancient history. It’s super tough to imagine, but the one thing that is certain in life is change. When we are struggling, our tendency is to think that life will be like this forever and that seems unbearable. The reality is that this sucky job, in the context of the rest of your lifetime, is but a blip.
2. Try to avoid talking non-stop about how you hate your job.
What we focus on, amplifies, so limit the amount of time, focus and negative energy this experience is allowed to take up. Explore the question ‘How did I get here?’ Your career is a series of choices you made. Working out what it is that you chose and accepting it as though you chose it (because you did) at least helps you to feel more in charge of the situation because if you accept that you got yourself in it, you can darn well make a career change and get yourself out of it!
3. Find Joy Anyway
I remember when I took my first ‘big’ job at the Home Office. It was all very prestigious, but the pace of the work was slow and the internal politics got me down. To compensate, I set up a Home Office funk band. We would rehearse on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons and this was a huge release. Plus, I started to see the benefits of the job, as I would never have made the connections to start the band, without the role.
So find your way to make the most of your time off, in ways that make you feel great. Schedule weekends away, learn something new, have a regular massage. Start that side-hustle project.
Even on the job. Find a way to be extraordinary at something. It is amazing how a change in focus can lead to a totally different experience.
How to enjoy work
Yes it is possible people! Yes, even if you do something you don’t like that much.
I remember once, being in a seminar, we were given a super simple task to repeat, for three hours straight. We all had our own reactions to this:
- Some of us got mad
- Others got stressed
- And of course, there were the ones who just stopped…
- But some of us started to laugh and feel joyful
The repetition, in unison, had a rhythm to it. We found ways to make it playful and still get the task done.
No matter how boring, annoying, stressful etc you think your job is, you can find joy if you put your mind to it.
1. When tasks are challenging, I find it most helpful to set a deadline.
Without it, the horizon for completion goes on indefinitely into the distance. This reduces motivation and means the task lingers, longer. So I use this trick. If I need to write an article, say, I set a timer for 45 minutes.
2. Whatever the task is, we really like to make progress.
So anything that enhances your ability to make progress is going to increase enjoyment. The timer is one way. Sitting in a garden or listening to music while you work are others. The key is to find the simple changes in the environment that increase your enjoyment.
3. Lastly, I like Stephen Guise’s view.
One should expect work not to be fun sometimes. That you just roll up your sleeves and get on with it. He says:
‘You have to put in a lot of ugly, frustrating, and difficult hours to create beautiful results. Yes, sometimes you will “get on a roll” and have a dream session of work, but those are few and far between, and you will only find such gems by digging through the mud first.’
I have found this to be very true in my own working life. Sometimes it takes me quite a while to settle and get into the flow.
My book Your Life Plan has helped hundreds of people, but it took several rewrites to be any good.
My course, Your Breakthrough, allows people all over the world to change direction, but it took quite a lot of swearing and practice and mistakes to record the content at the quality and calibre I was happy with.
Good stuff is meant to be hard sometimes. And when it is that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.
Top Best 5 CV Revisions
Career tips section without CV direction? Impossible – here’s my opinion.
Your creds. Most of my clients sigh heavily when we discuss revising their CV. Yet the purpose of a CV is to get you through the door. To get you an audience. To give you the chance to show who you are and what you can do for a prospective employer. It’s your window dressing. Your last chance to make a first impression. It’s important!
So here are my top 5 tips to make your CV stand out.
1. Think about your CV like your profile on a dating site.
If you are looking for new love, you need to prove yourself attractive and worthy of attention. You need to stand out from the crowd. The same is true of your CV. It needs to be neat, tidy, easy to read and as concise as possible.
2. The Opening Paragraph
So we know we don’t have long to make a good impression and we need a CV that is easy to read. One way to attract attention quickly is to create a fancy and appealing shop window. You do this by giving a short summary of the CV as a whole in your opening paragraph.
3. Key Achievements
Bearing in mind that your reader is a busy person and perhaps has over 200 CV’s to get through to make a shortlist, I highly recommend letting them know, early on, why you are fantastic.
4. Impact not Responsibility
Over and over, when I review clients CV’s I see this error. People describe their roles as a bullet list of their responsibilities. That is boring. The impact, on the other hand, is interesting. Here’s a nice link to get you started.
5. Short and Sweet
Say no more than you need to. If I have hundreds of CV’s to sift through, I want to throw away as many as possible. Try to be as concise as possible, no more than 2 pages.
Interviews can be nerve wrecking. You are under pressure, under scrutiny, your palms are sweaty, and there are butterflies in your tum.
The good news is that the people across the table are looking for just three things. Here is what is going their mind.
1. Do I like this person? Could I work with them?
2. Do I think they can do the job?
3. Do I think they could survive the most challenging part of the job and the work culture e.g. A fierce and scary board member, an insanely fast pace of growth, or being bored to tears by Dave from accounts?
You need to bear this in mind and you will be fine.
Also, this neat app from Monster walks you through the entire recruitment process – and it’s free too!
How to focus on what matters
Ah, the list…
The list is long and never ends. When I tick things off the list I feel so goooood. But do I tick off the things that really matter?
We have endless opportunities these days to feel super busy. But being busy does not mean we are being productive. It feels great to rush around and to sign off on all the little bitty tasks, but this can often leave the projects that truly matter gathering dust.
2. Go Bitesize
Alongside the big goals, it is really what we do each day, how we spend our hours, that determines our personal sense of accomplishment. We feed our children, we put them to bed, we talk them through stuff and then they grow. The same is true with any personal or professional priority. If you feed it every day, it will eventually end up a fully-fledged bush/piano recital/ happy marriage.
3. Take Action
Now work out, what is the next thing you need to do to move each of these forward? And what action could you take every day to make these priorities feel well nourished and progressed? Once you know what that is, do that first thing in the day, every day. Rinse and repeat.
How to find jobs not posted online
Did you know that 40% of jobs are not advertised?
It’s easy to not notice this. When we start a job hunt, we typically begin with what’s advertised online or in print. Then we go to the recruiters. All that seems more than enough to keep us busy. And it could keep you very busy.
Maybe you can’t see any adverts for your dream role.
Or maybe you know where you want to work but they aren’t advertising any vacancies.
Fear not, job seeker, there is another way!
Access Your Inner Detective!
Family and friends are the first network to tap. Once you know what you are looking for, you can begin to ask for their help. Remember that former colleagues and bosses may also be keen to have you back on their team. On the virtual front, forums and trade discussion groups on LinkedIn and specialist industry sites can be a valuable source of contacts and opportunities.
2. Attend A Trade Event
Conferences and trade seminars are a great way to do your hidden job sleuthing! One of my clients recently secured an interview and a job from a good conversation at an industry trade fair – and this was a job in a whole new industry. Do your research in advance – who is coming that you want to speak to? Then make a beeline, express interest and enthusiasm and tell them about why you found their work or brand inspiring. Then ask about opportunities…..this kind of initiative is impressive and appealing to potential employers.
3. Social Media
If you know what sector or even what company would constitute a dream role, making friends on Twitter with hiring managers or senior team members can be a great way in. Roles do get created for the right people and the speed of change in organisations can mean you might approach at just the right time to plug a gap for a role that they have just identified a need for. Be friendly, share your expertise and, like online dating, work on getting face to face as soon as possible! A colleague of mine used LinkedIn to initiate a relationship that led a large training firm letting him create and run a new apprenticeship Division in their business. Five years on this is now the most profitable part of the firm!
4. Contact Directly
My clients often succeed when they get really specific. How so? Identify a company that you want to work at and approaching their hiring team directly. Again, this initiative is welcome, as long as you have done your homework. Give the right person a ring before putting pen to paper and sending a speculative application. Use Google Alerts to keep up to speed with current news and activity in the company of your dreams.
The right role is out there. Just because you can’t see it on the ‘for hire’ pages, it doesn’t mean you can’t find it. With a bit of persistence, out of the box thinking and detective work, it can be yours!
Networking: Heaven or Hell
Whether you want to find a new opportunity in your existing company, are excited about heading to pastures new, or feel that being in business is your dream come true, there’s something important you need to know.
You will never get there without others.
It’s easy to think that impressive individuals carved their furrow alone, but in fact, progress comes from working with others.
This is why networking is so important.
And here’s the other crucial piece of the puzzle.
You should network, to find ways to serve and help others, not for your own benefit.
The thing that makes networking cringy, is that we have an image of ourselves, swapping business cards and all trying to get ahead and get heard.
But what if your focus was to find the ways to help, uplift and serve the other people at the conference, in the room or in your business?
Doesn’t feel so scary then, right?
How to work from anywhere in the world
Long to be a digital nomad?
This is no longer a dream. Copywriting, SEO, marketing, social media and online product creation all lend themselves to ‘I open my laptop and I am in the work zone’. But it’s not only the digi space that allows you to be this free. Teachers, yoga instructors, engineers and beauticians are more able than ever to take their show on the road too.
I’ve worked from a beach hut in Costa Rica, coached from a camper van Italy, pitched via Skype from a monastery and nurtured new talent from a naturist retreat in Napa!
It’s Not Just For Millennials You Know
There are ways to share the adventure with your family too if you aren’t a young, footloose and fancy-free singleton. You might even be able to persuade your existing company to let you work remotely and keep doing the same good stuff, just from elsewhere. Here’s an article on how.
And if you want to keep a regular pay cheque instead of going it alone, here are some companies built entirely on a virtual workforce, who would be happy to hear from you.
It’s All In The Preparation
Thinking about taking off and actually taking off are quite different things! If you really dream of leave el desko behindo, you are going to need to set up your stall so you can work effectively at a distance, choose the right location and be able to focus once you get there. I love these 88 tips for how to use tech to work from anywhere.
Get your questions answered on the what, where and how by joining one of the digital nomad forums online.
I Just Want To Be Elsewhere
For those of you who want a job you can travel with, but still, want to be settled in one community abroad, here’s a neat list of the kinds of roles that you can travel with and find work within your locality, wherever you stop off.
And Just For Balance…
Even the perfect freedom of working from anywhere can have its downside. I like this article from Stephanie Lee, telling the truth on some of the challenges of the digital utopia.