Your dream job – will it be all that you are hoping for?
When you consider a job change or a pivot, you may need to go and talk to people who are doing that job or role right now to answer some of your questions. Before you make a change you probably would need to understand the qualifications or certifications that are important and maybe understand what a typical day is like in that role? If you don’t have the certifications that would be a great way to make sure you prioritize getting the most essential certifications first. If you don’t like the way the typical day goes in that other role you are thinking about, perhaps it is not for you? Perhaps it is good to know more before you jump?
Desktop research first
A lot of this information is available online if you, for example, search for those job vacancies online – you can find out which qualifications or certifications are most required for the role you are considering changing towards. The job vacancies can also show what kinds of competencies and skills recruiters are looking for. Just bear in mind, sometimes they just ask for the moon and the stars in job vacancies to try and ensure they get a really good person who can satisfy a long wishlist (hard to do in most cases!) So, desktop research only goes so far…
Who can you talk to?
Knowing how the typical day goes in a role like the one you want, is not usually so easy to find out by doing online internet searches. This is where you would need to look to your own network of contacts – family members, friends, colleagues or ex-colleagues, and others in sports teams or clubs with you. When you have gone through all the people you know, and perhaps you did not find any or enough people who can help you, you may have to start looking online. Use social media platforms to find people who are in the role you would like to have. If you use LinkedIn, you might be able to see if you know someone or through your network may be able to contact someone who does what you would like to do in the future. If you have no direct links to a person you can often still reach out to them via a message. Your objective would be: Find someone who now has or someone who did have your dream role in the past so you can ask him/her some questions about it. That way you can have more clarity regarding how much might you love this role you are dreaming about?
Plan your next steps
Before you approach anyone for a meeting or a discussion around the questions you have, what targets and specific objectives do you want to set for yourself?
How many people you should approach with your questions? (Is 3 enough, or is a minimum of 5 your target? How many experts in this role do you need to talk to?) In some cases, it may be hard to answer the question because you don’t know if the first two people will give you quality answers or not? Set yourself a guideline target if you are not sure. (Tip: 15 may be too many! If you have not identified the right people to talk to, you may end up with too many discussions. If you find the right 3 and they are willing to spend 20 minutes with you on your key questions, it may be enough!)
Make a list of the people you know who may be able to answer the questions- we will talk about them in a moment. And think specifically about how they may be able to help. If you just ask just anyone you know or post it on your social media page, you may not get quality answers so think carefully about how each of the names you write down can help you. Is he/she currently in the role you are thinking of changing to? Is he/she a mentor or guide who can help me work out the steps to take? Is he/she working for a company or department that hires people for the role I am interested in? Was he/she in such a role in the past?
Start listing the specific questions which you would like to have answered. Here are some question options to consider:
The questions are about:
- Find out what knowledge you might need. Once you know that, you can look for courses or certificates or volunteer options to help you gain the knowledge you need.
- Which experiences would be important to have demonstrated in the past to get a role/job like this one? If you do not yet have that, how can you get those experiences? (ask for special assignments in your current role or consider a volunteer role)
- Which key competencies or skills does it take to succeed in this role? How do your competencies and skills compare to that? If you have to fill in some learning gaps, how can you do that?
- Are you possibly idealizing this role? Are there downsides you have not considered like a lot of travel and being away from your family and friends? Maybe there are some standby or nightshift requirements? Are you aware of that and does that fit in with your decision-making criteria?
- In the greater scheme of things – how does this role or job contribute to success in a company? Is there something great about this role that you have not yet realized or understood? Does that motivate you to make time to fill in the knowledge and skills gaps that you discovered?
Keep your momentum
Set yourself small tasks to achieve every week to move forward in understanding more about the role/job you are interested to have in the future:.
- What will you do and complete this week?
- What will you do the week after?
- Which day and at what time of the day each week will you check to see how you are doing against your planning (Did you complete the tasks you set yourself to achieve in the last week?)
To succeed at moving forward you need forward planning, checking back at least once per week to see how far you have come on your plan once you have started. And you need to set yourself targets to achieve in the next few days (be specific) to keep your momentum. That is how you keep your plan alive for moving towards your career move or change!