The days of a lifetime career with a single company are long gone in many parts of the world. According to Solomon W. Polachek and W. Stanley Siebert’s book, “The Economics of Earnings,” the average British male will have about seven jobs during his life and the average British woman will have approximately eight jobs in her lifetime. A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that individuals of the younger Baby Boomer generation (those born from 1957 to 1964) held an average of 11.3 jobs between the ages of 18 to 44. Although more frequent job changes have become the norm in certain areas, they are still trying times for those individuals making a switch, whether a result of their own choice or especially in the case of a job loss. Here are some steps you can take to pave the way for the smoothest transition possible.
1. Get ready before you have to
Even if you do not plan on leaving your role in the short term, building and enhancing your network now will help you if your situation changes later. Here are some simple actions you can take:
- Develop valuable relationships by taking part in industry or professional associations, which will also allow you to build skills to use in your current role.
- Expand your network and showcase your interpersonal and communication skills by joining the board of a school, not-for-profit, community organization or company in an industry of interest to you.
- Become a thought leader in your field — host a webcast series, write articles, contribute to industry publications or speak at trade events.
- Host an informational interview to provide insights into your role or industry for someone else going through a job transition and act as a mentor and resource. Today’s job-seeker can become tomorrow’s leader (and potential employer).
2. Decide what you actually want to do
In a challenging economic environment, the notion of “doing what you love” can seem impossible at worst and trite at best. However, there is no better time than one of transition to reexamine what role or field would best align with your interests. Consider your hobbies — can any of them be parlayed into a career? Are you willing to pursue further education in order to follow a new path? Talk to people in your field of interest to gain an inside perspective.
Determine if you really want a career change or just a change of environment. Perhaps you enjoy your current work, but want more flexibility in your schedule. Serving as a freelancer or consultant allows you to lend your specialized expertise on your own terms.
3. Pause to gain perspective on your situation
After a job loss, it is vital to reflect on what transpired before pursuing the next opportunity. If you chose to leave your current position, be prepared to explain why. Were you looking for a change after a long tenure at one company? Was there something particularly attractive about a new sector that drew you away? Of which experiences in your previous role are you most proud? What would you have done differently? These questions are not merely preparation for interviews — knowing the answers will help you assess your fit for the next opportunity.
4. Translate past experience into new opportunities
Even the most talented employees are being pushed out of suffering industries, from newspaper publishing to manufacturing. The best defense in this situation is to critically assess your skills and strengths and figure out how to apply them to a new and different business. Valuable, transferable skills include financial acumen, business development expertise, international experience, analytical capabilities, technological savvy and consensus-building ability. Brand yourself accordingly on LinkedIn and other social media vehicles.
The bottom line
Professionals today must be aware of the potential shifts in their roles and be able to anticipate and adapt to the transitions that will inevitably come, even if it means a change of company, industry or career. Taking the time to plan ahead before the transition occurs can help make the change a welcome one.
We are always on the lookout for talented executives. If you are interested in making a transition, please take the time to register with us.