JOB SEARCH / MAY. 08, 2014
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Change Can Be Scary: How To Identify A New Direction

There are various reasons why someone would be exploring a new direction. Perhaps you're a mom who is going back to work, or maybe you're just ready for change. Whatever the reason, it can be scary trying to find a new direction.

When you think about a new direction, what's holding you back? For many, it's a lack of confidence. In order to find that new direction, you need to believe in yourself. Once you build up your confidence levels, you can approach your new direction with ease. Here are some steps that may help you on your journey.

First Stage: Plan

  • Write it Down: Sit down with a pen and paper and start writing. Make a list of your skills. Start jotting down anything that comes to mind. What are you good at? Which skills have helped you or others before? If you are automatically writing down certain skills without a second thought, maybe you should be focusing in on these areas.
  • Think About You: For a few minutes, do not focus on the stress of being unemployed. Think about you for a second. What is it that you enjoy? Is there some way that you can incorporate your passions or hobbies into a new career? Another important component are your values; is there something that you strongly believe in? For example, maybe you have always loved the environment. If this is the case, you can start looking into jobs that are beneficial to you and the environment.
  • Career Tests: Why not take a career test? Many of these tests will yield your personality type. This will allow you to see where you may fit in best. If you like to be around people, a social-driven career may be for you. If you like to stay focused, working independently; perhaps software is more your forté. You may refer to my article regarding the DISC Personality Test to get a better idea of what these tests entail.

Second Stage: Do Your Research

Once you have a better idea of who you are, you may enter a stage of research. Here are some ideas that will allow you to fulfill your research needs:

  • Company Websites: Think about the career area that you would like to be involved in. Who are some of the big players in that industry? Start by exploring some of the companies that offer positions which you'd like. Take a look at their websites, there is bound to be useful information available. You can focus in on their values and what motivates the company. This will give you a general idea of the industry, as well as specific details regarding the companies you've looked at.
  • Job Fair: Why not participate in a local job fair? You can look for information regarding the area you're interested in. Job fairs are great resources for prospective employees. They tend to offer lots of beneficial information. You may even find a career you love, that has nothing to do with what you came for. You never know what you'll find at a job fair.
  • Read: Pick up some career magazines or look at career websites. Career Addict has an excellent 'How To' section that offers all kinds of information regarding various careers. Don't be afraid to read into your options.
  • Volunteer: It's never a bad idea to pick up a volunteer position. Even if you're only volunteering a few hours a week, you'll get a real feel for what that industry is all about. It's great to experience an industry within a hands-on environment. That way you can make a more accurate decision.
  • Ask Around: You can always approach someone in the field you desire to work in. They will be able to assist you in terms of what will be required. It is great to get first hand advice.

Third Stage: Push Your Goal Into Action Mode

Now that you have a better understanding of who you are, and what the prospective industry has to offer; it's time to put your goals into action.

  • Action Plan: You have already planned out what you would like out of your new direction, but a detailed plan will be required at this stage. At this point, you will have some great information. Start by writing out a thorough action plan. What is your first move? If you have a solid action plan, you're more prone to stick to your current goals.
  • Amp Up Your CV: Chances are your CV could use a little makeover. Make sure you have a strong CV. Think of any experience you have had in the past that applies (ideally in the last ten years). Include all the skills that you can offer. Basically, a new direction will mean a new CV.
  • Complete Requirements: At this point you have looked into what is required of you. If you contacted companies during your research and they said you needed a certain degree, look into that next step. You may have to take some college programs in order to reach your goal. Look into your options; night school is something that often works well for people. It really depends on your situation. Just make sure that your requirements are written within your action plan, so that you're taking the proper steps to make your dream a reality.
  • Get Out There: You can only benefit by putting yourself out there. If you feel confident, start applying. It is a great idea to build a strong network; LinkedIn is a great resource to do so. If you are not being hired, then there is clearly something that can be improved upon. It may be something small, so don't give up. You may even have potential employers giving you feedback. The key is to not take anything personally, use the feedback to your advantage. Learn how you can improve, that way you're bound to reach your goal.

At the end of the day, you have to belief in yourself. You're the driving force behind your actions. If there is a new direction that you're passionate about, go for it. You need to commit to your goal in order to make things happen. So remember; find out who you really are, and what you can offer; research areas of interest and then actively approach your ultimate goal. If you take this process one step at a time, you're bound to find that new direction you've been looking for. 


Photo credit: Flickr 

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