Have the last several years made you think that it might be a good time to reinvent your career? The Great Resignation seems to be far from over. In fact, a survey from Fidelity Investments revealed that nearly four out of ten workers in the US are looking to make a job switch in the coming year. And it’s not just ordinary workers that are leaving their jobs. Even managers are joining the Great Resignation. People analytics provider Visier found that resignation rates among managers went from 3.8% in the first half of 2021 to 5% in the first half of 2022—representing a much bigger increase than for non-managers.
But why are workers still jumping ship? According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, over half of respondents said pay is a top reason they’d look for a different role. At the same time, almost 20% said they’d take a new job for the same salary. Health benefits, job security, flexible work arrangements and retirement benefits followed pay as the top reasons employees would move elsewhere.
In addition to wanting better pay and other perks, employees are also quitting because they are reconsidering how work fits into their lives. Not surprisingly, the last two years have caused many of us to reevaluate our values and priorities. If that sounds like you and you are ready to reinvent your career, these seven strategies will get you started.
Determine your “why”
The first question to ask yourself is why you want to reinvent your career. Do you need more flexibility? Are you feeling unchallenged? Is there a lack of advancement opportunities? The answer to this question is critical because it will set the stage for the rest of your journey. It’s also a question that you may get asked in an interview. In that case, keep it positive and emphasize your transferable skills.
Know your values
Throughout our lives, our values change. And when your personal values don’t align with work, you can feel frustrated and lose motivation. Think about what is most important to you and list your top five values. Some examples are security, freedom, flexibility, integrity or family. For example, if family is your number one value, but a role has you traveling 80% of the time, it probably won’t be a good fit. Or if integrity is important to you and you’re considering joining a company known for shady business dealings, it’s a surefire sign you need to look elsewhere.
Think outside the box
If your career has been focused on what you “can” do instead of what you “want” to do, now is the time to think outside the box. Focus on hidden skills and talents you may have acquired through work, your personal life, or even volunteering. Think back to your childhood. What natural talents did people compliment you on? What made you stand out? What did you enjoy doing in your spare time? Nothing is out of bounds. So get out of your own head and open yourself up to the possibilities!
Fill in the gaps
Depending on the career you settle on, you may need to master some new skills. First, determine what you need to be proficient in your dream role. Are you going to require additional education or certifications? Or maybe it’s enough just to take some courses on LinkedIn or Udemy. If that’s the case, perhaps you can squeeze those classes in at night or on weekends while still in your full-time job. Generally, the more drastic the career change, the steeper the learning curve, so make sure you know exactly what is necessary before you turn in your resignation letter.
Rebranding isn’t just for companies. If you want to reinvent your career, you’ll need to invest in your brand. Before you do anything, Google yourself and see what pops up. That’s essentially your personal brand. The key is to brand yourself based on the job or career you want to transition into. Focus on your transferrable skills, even if you don’t have a formal degree in that field. For example, if you’ve been organizing and leading corporate events for the last ten years, you are an event planner. Brand yourself for the job you want, not the job you have.
Schedule coffee chats
While you may have an idea of what a career entails, there’s nothing like talking to people who do it every day. Find people whose careers you want to emulate. Then reach out to them via LinkedIn or email if you have a shared connection or two; even better. Be considerate and let them know that you’d like 15 or 20 minutes to chat whenever it’s convenient for them. Also, make it clear that you’re not looking for a job. You’re just interested in their valuable perspective on the position or industry. Then if you don’t hear back right away, follow up after a couple of weeks. It’s not unusual for people to be busy or on vacation, so don’t give up.
Try it on
Once you conduct informational interviews, it’s time to test drive your new career. This exercise will allow you to experience what it’s like firsthand.
Here are a few ideas:
- Volunteer to get a sense of the day-to-day grind.
- Shadow someone who can show you the ins and outs of the profession.
- Try freelancing to gain experience—even if you do it pro bono.
- Start a side hustle that can turn into a full-time job over time.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself. It’s not an easy task to reinvent your career. But with a bit of soul-searching, persistence and hard work, you’ll find it is so worth it.