How Do I Change Career Paths if I Don’t Know What I Want to Do?

If you are changing career paths and don’t know what you want to do, you are not alone! I cannot tell you how many clients I speak to on a weekly basis that know it’s time for a change, but feel a bit torn as to what they should be doing. Some will jokingly tell me that they still “don’t know what they want to be when they grow up!” and I completely understand. I never would have thought my own career would have taken me here, but truth be told, the journey has been wonderful, and I am truly doing what I love!

Here are 5 helpful tips:

1.) Make a list of your hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are industry specific (such as computer programming or HVAC), and soft skills are transferable (customer service, project management). Know that if you are seeking to change careers, your transferable skills can be used across industries, and would be beneficial to focus on as you look to move forward with something else.

2.) Group your skills into Like, Neutral, and Dislike columns.

Take your skills and group them into three separate columns, so that you can hone in on what you should be pursuing, and what it is you shouldn’t. You want to find a career that plays to your strengths, as well as what it is you enjoy. Let’s face it – Monday  morning can be hard enough if you love what you do, but it’s especially difficult if you don’t!

3.) Think about industries of interest.

Is there a cause you are passionate about or a company that you would love to work for but aren’t sure how? Think about how what you enjoy doing fits within that industry or company, and begin to pursue it. I had one client who wanted to do something to help the environment, but felt she didn’t qualify because she didn’t have a background within science or engineering (her background was in enterprise solutions). She decided to advertise her ability to identify and strengthen business partnerships, and began working within donor relations for an environmental non-profit. She couldn’t be happier!

4.) Search online for positions and people that have your skills to see what’s out there.

Take a moment to search for the list of skills you narrowed down online to see what positions and people come up. Then, research what the roles entail to see if something sparks your interest. This will also help you find out if there is anything further you can do (such as a certification or continuing education course) to get your foot in the door. Consider joining various industry-specific groups as well to see what challenges professionals are facing, as well as if they seem to enjoy their jobs.

5.) Ask for help.

As a Career Strategist, I take pride in my ability to help job seekers connect the dots with their job search through a personalized job search plan and approach. If you are having a difficult time deciding what it is you want to do, or how to conduct a successful job search, consider taking my free master class. You won’t be disappointed!

In the words of Pope John XXIII, “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” 

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