OCTOBER 21ST, SILVIA DI BLASIO
Looking for a career do-over? It’s a risky step, but here are 8 tips to help!
There are many reasons why immigrants may consider a career change: moving to another country may offer the opportunity to “start fresh” and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Or perhaps the market is saturated or the requirements to become requalified in Canada are so steep that doing something different may look like a better option.
While changing your career may offer the opportunity to explore new interests, learn new skills and infuse passion and variety to your life, it is a risky step that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In my 10+ years as a career counselor for immigrants, I have seen some succeed and some fail at this transition; it is, however, never too late — I have done it myself!
Here are eight tips to consider if you’re contemplating a career change:
1. Do your homework. Don’t just trust what someone else tells you; nobody, no matter how qualified, should decide on what you do for a living. Talk to different mentors, explore the market trends, sit in at various information sessions and talk to people working in the field you are considering.
2. Take some time to explore your core values, interests, passions, skills and the moments and environments you really enjoy. They all can give you cues for where to focus your next career move.
3. Consult with a career counselor or coach, but don’t let formal tests define you. Good coaches will help you explore different options and make your own decision.
4. Do some “prototyping.” Explore the new career through paid or unpaid short and small projects or part-time work.
5. Further explore the new career through short courses, seminars, and conferences before risking going back to school (and into school debt) for a full degree.
6. Look at your transferrable skills. Sometimes you don’t need to go back to school because you may have skills from your previous jobs, volunteering or hobbies that are applicable and just need to be polished.
7. Think outside the box — many jobs that exist today didn’t exist 10 or even five years ago. Many of these jobs use a combination of skills you may already have, only organized in a different way, or for a different outcome.
8. Remember that starting on a new career path can be challenging. You’ll be competing with people who may be younger, have more skills and experience and you are starting late. So, think about what you are bringing to the table — and go for it!