How to Start Your Career Over

In this economy, it seems risky to even think about changing your career. But a solid game plan can help you make a key transition. Here are seven steps from career coach Rory Kelly Connor, founder and CEO of Can You Imagine and career coach for New York Women in Communication.

1. Take stock. Do you show up late every day? Can’t wait to leave? Your work quality will start to suffer. Instead, take charge. “Make a move before you make a mistake and are asked to go,” says Connor.

2. Clarify the cause. Is it the hours, your boss or the actual work that’s getting under your skin? “Consider the exact duties under different conditions,” says Connor. “Would you enjoy them?”

3. Discover your dream. If the job is what’s getting you down, dig deep. Could an engaging hobby earn you a living? Do you want to earn more money or to have a career that defines you?

4. Assess finances. Analyze how the shift impacts your wallet. “Whether you’re able to jump depends on the money set aside to cover the transition,” says Connor. If your savings won’t cover at least six months of expenses, gain new expertise while remaining in your current field.

5. Survey your skills. Sharpen the skills needed to change directions. Take classes and/or earn professional certificates. Rebuild your resume to reflect new expertise.

6. Research the marketplace. Network with alumni, professional organizations, family and friends in the field. Schedule 15-minute informational interviews, advises Connor. Subscribe to magazines and newsletters, and engage with social networks and groups that cover the industry. Research which jobs are available and how they’re landed.

7. Draft plans. If taking the plunge, plot to excel. Write out a daily, long-term plan, and look at it often. Set deadlines. Relish every triumph on the grand journey of realizing your dream career. You’re on your way!


by Julie D. Andrews