Career Change – Things to Consider

Considerations for Career ChangeIt’s estimated that over half of Australians are dissatisfied with their jobs, which explains why so many people are considering a career change. From workplace stress, poor culture, not feeling valued, lack of professional development to poor job engagement and, of course, financial considerations, there are many reasons why one might think of leaving a career or company and transition to something else. In fact, it’s now very unusual for anyone to stay in one job their entire working lives.

The good news is that it’s entirely possible to successfully switch careers, whatever age you may be. It’s important for your health, too—job dissatisfaction leads to health issues including burnout and even depression. However, the key to switching careers and gaining further success lies in the planning, and there are a few things you must do before you make the change, such as the steps listed below.

Tips to Consider before a Career Change

Consider What You Really Want and Need

Job dissatisfaction can lead to frustration, and frustration can lead to hasty, regrettable choices. It’s been said that you should be ‘running towards something, not away from something’—if you’re taking a job just to get out of your current one, it won’t make you happier in the longer term, and you might end up regretting your decision.

Think about what you truly want and need in terms of the career path you want to pursue. Is it a more comfortable salary, professional development, progression opportunities, culture, flexible hours, or a sense of fulfilling your purpose? You can only reach a goal if you understand what it is that you want. Spend time really getting to know yourself, your strengths and development areas, and your ambitions. Write down the ‘must haves’ you want in a job and company, and the ‘job dissatisfiers’ i.e. what you don’t like about a role. This will help you arrive at the right decision.

Find Your Passion

If you’re changing careers, invest time in identifying what makes you happy in life and relate it to your career path and goals for the future. Explore diverse options on how to make money doing something which sets your spirit on fire. Whether it’s starting your own business or moving into a completely different industry sector, don’t settle for anything less than a job you think you would enjoy and make you happy.

As Marla Gottschalk, CEO of The Pampered Chef, says, “Find your passion and a mission you believe in. When you feel like you make a difference in people’s lives, it becomes so much more than a job. For example, I know family mealtimes are vitally important. So, it is very motivating to lead an organisation focused on that.” Finding something that you love doing and also more than adequately pays the bills might be challenging, but it certainly is not impossible!

Know You Deserve What You Want

Alexandra Lebenthal, President and CEO of Lebenthal & Company states that, “Women often find it hard to ask for things, whether it’s a business opportunity or a salary raise. We simply expect others to recognise our value and hard work.

Asking for what you want in a gracious, thoughtful way often results in getting what you want, so put your fears aside and ask for what you want.” My mantra is “Don’t ask, don’t get.”

Don’t settle for anything less than what will make you happy, and you’ll make a smarter, better-informed decision when it comes to changing careers. Take Catherine, for example. Once a stay-at-home mother, she obtained a law degree at age 59 and now practices as a successful Lawyer. It’s never too late, and you deserve to get what you want.

Find Like-Minded People

Gathering intel on a new sector or industry is the most effective way to inform your job or career search. Attend networking opportunities that fit your target job, company and industry sector choices, and LinkedIn is a great place to start your research. Find out what to really expect from an industry, if you need more qualifications and/or skills, and how many opportunities there are. Time spent researching is never wasted; it’s a great way to find out about the market, discover or create opportunities and avoid making mistakes in career choices.

Not sure which networking events to sign up for? As a woman, Women-only events give you a unique insight into an industry from a peer’s perspective. Gain an understanding on everything from promotional and professional opportunities to workplace flexibility. Networking events can even lead to mentoring opportunities, and who better to help you navigate a new career than someone with experience who has navigated the path themselves.

Don’t Leave Your Current Job Without Securing Your New Role

Potential employers are suspicious of candidates with gaps on resumes which aren’t easily explained. It’s often easier to be hired while you’re still employed. Even if your current job is frustrating, use the time productively to plan, research and develop broader networks. I.e. use your energy in a positive manner to benefit you in the long term and avoid focussing on what depletes your energy. Making a hasty decision could lead to financial instability, lack of preparation and possibly choosing the wrong job and career out of desperation.

If you’re really convinced about changing careers, spend time wisely and productively by updating your CV so that at any time an opportunity exists, you are ready to apply. Highlight your key transferable skills and what value you add to any organisation, highlighting what makes you stand out i.e. your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP). In addition, detail what your core competencies and capabilities are which may include how you develop strategies, grow business, lead teams, deal with stakeholders and handle problems or situations that are relevant to the new career or position you’re aiming for. This will make your business or career background more attractive in terms of the new path you want to pursue.

Looking for a Fresh Start?

If you’re looking for a new beginning in your career or business, we at Behind Closed Doors can help you. Behind closed doors is a leading national network of businesswomen who support and guide each other, aiming to elevate women when it comes to professional development. We have networking and mentoring opportunities that will match you with fellow members who will mentor you and help you reach your goals and aspirations. Want to know more? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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Useful Networking Tips for Introverted Women

networking for introvertsNetworking is a great way to gather new contacts and gain great connections and working relationships to grow your business or career. It involves meeting and speaking with people and attending events— and how you verbally portray your business or professional values, aims and ideals are key ingredients for networking success.

However, while many of us are comfortable with networking, others may find it a bit more challenging. For shy or introverted women, networking may seem more difficult, which could discourage them from entertaining the idea of investing their time in networking.

We believe in networking’s potential and ability to help business and career women. Even if you’re not really into meeting and speaking with different people, you can still achieve networking success. So, don’t make excuses of why you don’t want to network; here are several ways to help you get started.

Practice Makes Perfect Sense

As with many things in life, practice goes a long way. For networking, you can practice by speaking in front of a mirror or on video. Doing so has two benefits. First, you’ll be able to remember the pitch you need to say and, second, since you’re already treating your reflection as another person, you’ll grow a bit more comfortable when you’re already speaking with someone. The mirror or video will also show you if you have expressions, mannerisms, or actions (specifically the distracting ones) that you need to avoid doing when networking.

If a mirror or video isn’t enough, try practicing in front of a friend, and let him or her assess your performance and pinpoint things you could improve on. Your friend can also help you further by coming up with their own dialogue to better simulate a networking conversation.

Look for an ‘Introvert-in-Arms’

Did you know that there are actually four types of ‘introversion’? There’s social introversion, thinking introversion, anxious introversion, and restrained introversion.

And, in a world where an estimated 50% of individuals are introverts, you’re likely to cross eyes with someone across the networking venue who is also an introvert. Once you know someone is also an introvert, you might want to ‘team up’ with that person. This allows you to feel less anxious—being with someone who understands being an introvert helps you get out of your shell easier. And, once you begin conversations, you’ll grow more comfortable in terms of talking with other people in the event as well.

Buddying up with another introvert during the networking process has other benefits such as having shared networks and added support. If you can’t bring a friend or colleague with you, look around the room for someone else who is also looking around for a friendly face. Approach them and talk. Then work the room together!

Set ONE Goal, and Meet It

Setting goals works in life. So why not use it for the purposes of networking?

For goals to be successful, they must be specific, clear and they must be written down. Research shows that writing down a specific goal is an excellent motivator. So, if you’re demotivated to network because you’re not good at meeting or speaking with different people, write down what you want to achieve to help put yourself in a better, more positive mindset.

For introverts, specificity, clarity, and focus on outcomes can help reduce the overwhelming feeling brought about by the idea of networking. In essence, setting just one goal for your networking event can help you, the career- or business-minded introverted woman that you are, focus on accomplishing something that matters.

Be Organised

Another way to keep the sanity and the clarity going as an introvert in a networking event is to keep organised records. This is not only for the purposes of following up but also to take stock of what events you’ve been to, where to go next and the goal(s) you achieved.

Being organised also helps you keep your composure—organisation helps the frazzled, anxious, or overwhelmed brain have a sense of order. Awareness and knowledge often help offset the sensation that you’re doing a futile and repetitive task—which is what so many introverts may feel tackling networking events.

Create a database, or use your CRM, which will help you review who you’ve met, what they’ve discussed with you, new ideas you gained as a result of the conversations and any lessons learned. This way, you’ll feel you’re getting results, helping you feel more motivated about (and not forced into) participating in the next networking event.

Preparation is Key

Planning for a networking event entails some work, but it can also make things much easier, especially if you’re an introvert.

Preparing helps you be at ease knowing that you didn’t come unprepared. It also puts things in perspective in terms of what you should do and what you want to achieve. Plan ahead and think of good questions that will help you start a conversation. A good formula is FORD: Family, Organisation, Recreation and Did I get and give value to that conversation?

You can also prepare a short, basic introduction that you’d be comfortable telling others in relation to networking. This helps you leave a good impression while saving you from having to think about what to say upon meeting another person ie prepare your elevator pitch.

Networking is also for Introverts

Meeting new people is at the heart of successful networking. However, this may also make it seem like it’s not for the introverted, and that shouldn’t be the case. The truth is, networking is for both the shy and the outgoing, the introverted and the extroverted.

Introverts may need a bit more practice or work but that doesn’t mean they won’t gain success from it. Take it from people in high-level positions—they know the value of networking and have built great professional connections over the years. In fact, this study suggests that introverts are more likely to become CEOs, which means that they truly have the capacity and potential to gain networking success.

If you need further guidance in networking, we at Behind Closed Doors are here for you. We believe in networking and how it can help elevate the business and professional careers of women and are more than willing to help make it work wonders for you. We are a leading organisation of business women and, through networking, peer mentoring, events, and other resources, we help each other attain greater levels of professional success through opening doors to new opportunities. Contact us today to know more, we’re always ready to listen and support you.


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