Changing your career path or making a career move is a lot like the game of chess. The questions I get asked regularly is where do I find a job in my field? and next, should I go back to school and what to study?
The Complexity of Changing your Career Path
To answer this question, we need to examine both the individual and the marketplace:
- What are your present skill sets and is there a market for them now?
- If you go back to school, is there a need for the skill you think you want to retrain into?
- And if you go back to school, is there a need for that skill in the geographical area that you want to work in?
- Realistically, are you prepared to change your career path now and potentially in the future?
Sometimes we can take an individual’s skills and demonstrate a new way of using those skills in a different occupation. Other times, we need to assess if those skills can be used in a similar occupation but with a different focus. And still other times, we need to look at schooling to build new skills.
What is your career geographic target?
I always ask clients what their geographic target is to determine their target and how large of a job search they will have. Some people are honed into a specific area because of family ties or a desire to live in a specific community. They will take a job only if it falls in the radius of 25 miles from home. This limits their options in their career path.
Others are willing to make large moves, across the country. But they may have a specific geographic target. They want to live in the southern part of the US or the eastern coast. This determines what positions we investigate. If someone wants to go back to school in the medical field, I ask them the geographic question.
Example of overcrowded career path
Our location in Central Wisconsin is heavily saturated in many medical fields such as nursing, dental hygiene, and radiography technicians because schools here graduate new students each year. When those fields have waiting lists, the potential student has to think through their options.
If you have to wait 2 years to get into the program, another 2 to 5 years to graduate, are you targeting a specific geographic area for your potential new career? If you are, you can be easily disillusioned when you graduate and there are no jobs in your new field.
New jobs you never thought were possible
An article by Emily Moore on Glassdoor.com is entitled, 15 Awesome Jobs That Didn’t Exist 15 Years Ago
The article begins:
If you’re anything like me, when you think back to 2002, it doesn’t really seem like that long ago. But when you think about how much innovation has taken place over the past 15 years, it’s a clear reminder of how far we’ve really come. The widespread adoption of the internet, smartphones, social media, big data, cloud computing and other technologies over the past decade and a half have not only changed the lives of consumers — they’ve also opened up a whole new world of job opportunities.
It goes on to list 15 positions that may interest someone who has a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. The positions ranged from Social Media Manager to Data Scientist. How about Cloud Architect or SEO Analyst?
Avoid the overcrowded career by continually learning new skills
One of my clients just was hired as the Director, Cloud Cost Management and Optimization. We honed in on his cloud expertise in his resume with highlights like this one:
- Cloud Optimization Playbook – Authored a vendor-agnostic Cloud Optimization Playbook, encompassing techniques to implement, streamline, and track cost optimization savings. The strategy was created to communicate clearly-defined areas of savings to senior management and a non-technical audience.
Before you tell me you are too old to learn anything new, this client who just won his new job was 53. I work with many people who are in their 50s and 60s who win new roles.
Whatever position or career path you invest in, when you target those positions, reach beyond completing the online application using your accomplishment-filled resume. Identify networking contacts to help you find decision-makers in the right division of the company. Don’t just target human resources who serve as the intake for the company. Find people who need your skills.
A Vice President of IT once told me that he told HR to give him the resumes they would throw out. He found that he often found his ideal candidates there because he knew what skills he was looking for and how he could use them.
As you assess your career path and next move, you may find that thinking about the concepts above, help you avoid transitioning to an outdated or overcrowded career.
Do you need help redirecting your career to the next goal? I do this every day and can point to hundreds of success stories from clients who worked with me to improve their job search strategy and marketing. Learn more.