Ask America’s ultimate experts
Making a switch to a job you truly love is easier than you think, promise our experts, who share the confidence-building steps that’ll help you start fresh and land your dream gig!
Focus your objectives Let yourself dream
“If you’re thinking of moving in a new direction, it’s important to first do some soul searching to zero in on your true passions,” notes career expert Kerry Hannon, who says that creating a dream board is one of the most inspiring ways to do just that. “By physically cutting out pictures, you’re literally putting things in motion and building momentum. For example, I know a woman who created a board with images of dogs and people laughing, and she now runs a dog-walking business!”
Know your adaptability
Pinpointing your transferable skills will help fire up your drive, says career coach Dawn Graham, PH.D. “Drill down on the details of what you do,” she advises. “If you’re in customer service, for example, rather than simply noting that you have great communications skills, jot down specifics like ‘building relationships with customers’ and ‘asking probing questions’—portable skills you can take anywhere!”
Build your can- do team
Revving your confidence is as easy as calling your pals. “Ask what they think your talents are,” says Hannon. They’ll often shed light on skills you don’t give yourself credit for, such as that you’re a great photographer, something that can expand your job search in surprising ways!
Make your action plan Close the skills gap
To ID your ideal career and what you need to beef up on, go to Careeronestop.org/skills for a skills profiler that matches your talents to potential jobs and finds the right fit, says career pro Thea Kelley. “Then look at job postings for the kind of expertise they’re asking for. You can close the skills gap with a class or certification program at a community college—a lot of people don’t know that in some states, residents are entitled to free community college career services!”
Networking doesn’t need to be scary, promises Kelley. Simply connect with industry groups on Linkedin.com to find others in your targeted field. And consider joining a professional association—just do a search for your industry, state and the word “association” to learn about opportunities and free training programs.
Transform your résumé
Rather than go into detail about unrelated experiences, highlight the jobs that reflect your new career aims, advises Kelley. “Say you have a background in volunteer work but want a career in writing,” she says. “Instead of mentioning your fund-raising chops, include that you drafted newsletters. And rather than describing former positions that aren’t relevant, simply list them. Your résumé isn’t about your past—it’s about your future!”