By: Maurice Gilbert
A career change is never an easy road. After all, one of the first challenges you have to overcome is convincing your friends and family that you’re not crazy. (A new career? At your age? What are you thinking?)
Let’s assume you’ve overcome their objections and are ready to plow ahead with plans to make a change.
With 20 years in executive recruiting to draw from, here’s some sage advice for those who are determined to step out:
- Know thyself. I know you won’t leap before you look, but make sure you’ve also looked deep within. A classic career assessment test can help you get a handle on what you’re good at and where your passions lie. Here’s an online version that may shed some light.
- Beware of “Shiny Things” Syndrome. The new “hot” field you’re considering sounds exciting, but is it really a good fit for you? Right now you’re burned out, so anything new and different sounds appealing. Hot fields tend to cool off, which means you might be looking again in a few years.
- Money Isn’t Everything. If you know deep down that the new job won’t be much better than what you have, then don’t make the leap just for the fatter paycheck. The bigger paycheck won’t be much comfort when you’re just as dissatisfied in your new post. Accept that you might make a little less if you’re following your heart and starting over in a new field. The money will come.
- Don’t Fly Solo. Networking is always part of a job search, but particularly when you’re swapping fields. Expand your circle and tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a new opportunity.
- Don’t Go Back to School – Yet. Be sure you’re headed in the right direction before you take on the rigor and potential expense of a degree. Don’t rule out internships and volunteer opportunities as a way to expose yourself to a new field before signing on for training that isn’t of the “on the job” variety.
- Don’t Expect it to Happen Overnight. A thorough job search always takes several months, but plan on up to a year or more for a significant change of direction.
Changing fields is one of the most invigorating things you can do. It’s like experiencing youth all over again, except with the wisdom of whatever age you are now. Have courage, and good luck out there!
Maurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.