What’s Next for Your Career?


Is it time for a change?  Even if you are comfortable in your job, you might be ready for your next adventure.  Making a career change can be tricky; you don’t want to have any regrets.  Here are some tips that will help you find a career that inspires you:

Start small.  When making a career change, it is easier to take it one step at a time.  If there is an industry or occupation that intrigues you, start volunteering or working on a part time basis.  This will allow you to see if it’s a good fit for your skills and if it’s something that you enjoy.  Also, as you make connections and build relationships in your industry, job opportunities may become available to you.

Do research.  You have to do your research.  You need to make sure that the jobs that you are targeting are actually in demand.  Even if you are the perfect candidate, it will be difficult for you to find a position if there are not a lot of jobs available.  Do searches for your target job and see how many positions are open in your region.  Also, check out Ontario Job Futures to research the labour market outlook for any job or industry.

Know what’s important to you. When you are choosing a career, it is important that you consider the impact that it will have on your life.  If work-life balance is a priority for you, find a job that won’t require you to put in a lot of extra hours.  If you hate commuting, find a job that’s nearby.  Sometimes in the excitement of the job search process, job seekers make sacrifices that they later regret.   

Be open minded.   If you don’t know what you want to do, then this is actually a very exciting time for you.  While it’s true that finding a job is a lot more difficult when you’re not focused, if you approach it in a positive way, it can open you up to a lot of new opportunities.   Try to set aside your opinions about different occupations and to look at them with fresh eyes.  You may find that a job opportunity that that was right in front of you all along may actually be a perfect fit for your skills and values.

Talk to people. The people you know are always your best source of job opportunities.  This is particularly true when you don’t know what you want.  Talk to your friends and family about your career plan and ask them for their feedback.  They may be aware of a great option that you haven’t even considered.   

Making a career change is both an exciting and a scary time in your life.  The key to making a good decision lies in finding a balance between careful preparation and taking a leap of faith.  Good luck!


(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Do’s and Don’ts for Making a Big Career Move

It’s time to make a change.  You’re ready to take the next step, but first you want to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction.  Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you handle this transition in a way that will have a positive impact on your career:

Do a lot of research.  A career change is a big deal and it’s not a decision that you can afford to take lightly.  Before pursuing a particular career, you need to know whether or not there is a demand for the job, what the requirements and responsibilities would be, and what you would be doing on a daily basis.  You don’t want to be making another career change in a year or two because you didn’t do your research.

Don’t let your fears limit you.  We are all limited by our self-confidence.  When you see your dream job, do you believe that it is within your reach?  You are probably capable of far more than you think you are.  Get out of your own way and allow yourself to achieve your dreams.

Do pay attention to your interests and values.  When choosing a career, you want to find one that you would actually like.  Look at the responsibilities of the job.  Is it something that interests you?  Would you enjoy doing it day after day?  Does it fit with your lifestyle?  Would it allow you to live in a way that is consistent with your values?  If you consider your values and interests, you are far more likely to choose a career that will make you happy.

Do consult your network.  Your network is an excellent resource when you’re contemplating a career change.  Your contacts can let you know about different careers and open positions.  Talk to the people in your network and let them know that you are considering a career change and be open to their feedback.  They might be able to connect you with an amazing opportunity.

Don’t burn bridges.  If you’re not happy in your current job, you might be tempted to just cut your losses and move on.  Be very careful about how you handle this situation.  The world can be painfully small sometimes and you never know when you might need a reference.

Transitions can be both scary and exciting.  It could be amazing, but you are venturing out into new territory and you don’t really know what to expect.  Be confident, be professional, do your homework and you will be on the road to success.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

When is it Time to Move On?

You have a steady job, and while you know that you should be grateful, you can’t shake the nagging feeling that it’s time to make a change.  While employers do value candidates with a steady work history, it is also important that your career continues to grow.  Here are some indications that it might be time to look for a new opportunity:

You have no enthusiasm for your work.  Your job has become a chore.  You dread going in to work and you count the minutes until you can go home.  If you ever had any passion for this job, it’s long gone.

You aren’t performing well.  You rarely receive positive feedback and find it impossible to achieve the performance objectives for your position.  While this could be an indication that you need to work harder, if you are honestly doing your best, then you might want to try to find a position that is better suited to your skills.

You have a feeling that your job might disappear.  In this economy, nobody’s job is secure.  You never know when a position might be cut or when a company might go bankrupt.  You need to pay attention to what is happening at your workplace and within your industry.  If you get the feeling that your job is not secure, then it’s a good idea for you to start looking for other opportunities.

There is something else you would rather be doing.  Your job and your interests are two completely different things.  While you enjoy your job, your passion lies elsewhere.  You would love to turn it into a career, but for now it’s just for the weekends.

Sometimes it can be hard to let go of a job (even one that is not fulfilling) but consider what it is costing you.  Life is far too short to be wasting it by staring at a clock, waiting for the end of the day.  Get out there and find a job that inspires you!

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

When is it Time to Make a Career Change?

How will you know when you’ve outgrown your career?  Will it happen all at once, or will you gradually lose interest?  While it’s different for each person, all of us will eventually get bored if we’re not being challenged.  Watch out for the following clues that it might be time for you to move on:

You’ve lost your passion.  You don’t get excited about your job like you used to.  You no longer spend your evenings trying to come up with new ideas or making plans for the future.  Recently, it’s an effort for you just to get through the day.

You’re not growing.  Your job no longer challenges you.  You feel like you could probably do it in your sleep.  You are not acquiring new skills and you can feel yourself beginning to stagnate.

You wish that you were doing something else.  There is a part of you that regrets your choice of career.  You wonder if it is too late to do something else.  You may have even identified an occupation that you would like to try.

You hate your job.  You dread going to work each day.  Your weekends and holidays go by way too quickly and when you get to work, you’re miserable.

Making a career change is not easy.  It often requires an investment of both time and money, and it can be difficult to get your foot in the door.  However, if you’re in the wrong career, it is well worth the effort.  The key is to be honest with yourself and don’t wait too long.  Good luck!

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

How to Explain a Career Change

Making a career change is not easy and one of the toughest parts about it is explaining your decision to potential employers.  Many employers become suspicious when they see someone changing careers.  Here are some tips that will help put the interviewer at ease about your background:

Outline Your Long Term Goals.  Often our destination remains the same, but we change the path that we take to get there.  There are a variety of reasons that may lead you to switch jobs.  If you can show the employer that each decision that you made was deliberate and contributed to your long term career goal, they will see your career change as a strategic move and not an indication that you are unfocused.

Sell Your Transferable Skills.  There may be a strong link between your previous job and the one that you are seeking, but if it’s not right in front of them, the employer probably won’t see it.  It’s your job to show them the connection.  Once the employer is aware of your transferable skills, they may realize that it’s not as much of a change as they thought it was.   

Be Positive.  Communicate your passion and excitement for the position.  If the employer perceives that you are not particularly excited about making this move, they may come to the conclusion that you are changing careers out of desperation.  Make it clear that this is something you chose.

Be honest.  Human resources professionals are skilled at reading between the lines and figuring out what you’re not saying.  If you are withholding the reason that you are changing jobs, most interviewers will detect that you are hiding something.  Be as honest as you can be about why you are changing careers, but never forget that you’re talking to an employer and not a priest.

Employers are naturally suspicious when interviewing potential employees and when you’re coming from a different field, they may trust you even less.  The key is to be open and honest and show the employer that everything that you have done has made you the perfect fit for this job.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

Should You Re-train for a New Career?

Have you been considering going back to school?  Are you interested in starting a new career?  Re-training is a considerable investment, both of your time and money, but if you are currently spinning your wheels in your career, it may be worth it.  You don’t want to jump into this lightly; you need to carefully determine whether or not it is the right move for you.  Here are some points to consider when you are thinking about going back to school:

Have you found that you are not a competitive candidate for many jobs?  If your qualifications are not measuring up to the demands of the current labour market, then re-training may be your best option.  If you’ve been in the same position for a long time, of if you’ve been very focused on one particular area, the labour market can shift away from your skills without you even realizing it.  Once you notice that trend, it’s important that you take control and update your profile.

Are there any opportunities to do something a little different within your current industry or company?  There may be opportunities within your organization or your industry for you to get a new position without re-training.  These positions may make use of your transferable skills and could offer you more opportunities than your current role.  Before you decide to start from scratch and find something completely different, open your eyes to the options that are all around you.

Are you unhappy in your current job?  Do you hate your current job?  Is it interfering with the way that you want to live your life?  If so, then that is a good reason to find something new.  Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate and it is important for you to find a work-life balance that you can live with.  If you are able to find a position that you’re happy with, then you should go ahead and do that.  However, if you need to go back to school to get some additional skills, then it may be the best option for you.

Once you decide that you do want to go back to school, you need to determine what you will take.  Here are some points to consider when looking at your options:

Are there jobs readily available?  Once you’ve decided on the program that you’re going to take, check the job advertisements and see how many positions are available right now.  You don’t want to spend the time and money going back to school only to end up in the same position that you are in now.  It’s also a good idea to research the future projections for these positions.  There are several government websites that provide a lot of information on the labour market outlook.  You can also get this information by talking to people who actually work in the field.  Conduct information interviews and ask them if the qualification that you would be getting is marketable.  All this research can take a lot of time, but think of all of the hassle it will save you if it prevents you from making a big mistake!

Would you like the work?  For any job that you decide to pursue, it is important that you have a realistic idea of what it will be like on a daily basis.  Try to sit down and talk to someone who works in the field, and try to get the opportunity to job shadow someone who is working in your target position for a few days.  Sometimes the daily realities of a position may be very different from what you may expect.

Would you be good at it?  Is there something that you have been doing as a hobby that you may be able to segway into a career?  Is there a particular job that people have always said you would be good at?  Keep your skills, talents, and personal attributes in mind when you are trying to decide on a new career.

Re-training for a new career can be a scary proposition.  It is risky and it requires you to make some sacrifices.  The secret is to find a position that truly is in demand and that is a good match for both your skills and your interests.  Once you find a good fit, you’ll be happier in your career than ever before.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand)