Jobfully Blog

Tips for Navigating a Career Transition

Today our guest blogger is Amy Nicole. Amy is a freelance writer for Incepture, a Florida based staffing agency serving Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami.  You can follow Incepture on Twitter @incepture.

In February 2009, I received my pink slip.

I had just started my job five months prior, uprooting my life in Florida to move to the unknown land of Washington, DC. For the first time since moving, I started to feel like I was getting the hang of things. I could multi-task my projects with more ease, I became a trusted member of my department and although it didn’t feel like home, I had adjusted to life in a new city.

After my manager called me in that day, she revealed that I, along with four other members in my department, was going to be let go due to funding issues. I went through what so many others have experienced in the past few years: Terror. Nausea. Panic. Helplessness.

Getting laid off forced me to think about what I really wanted to do with the next stage of my life. I was faced with the task of dealing with an unexpected career change. Luckily, I realized there were a few steps that could help me navigate through the waters of my career change.

Find out what you want to do next. Did I want to go back to school? Did I like the career path I was on? Did I want to try and foray into a new industry using my professional skills? I studied and took the GRE soon after my employment ended, but before I could even send out my first application letter, I had found another job. I was lucky that my job search didn’t last long, but this period as a good time for me to explore what my options were. It also opened my eyes to new career opportunities, as well as what I might have to do to get there.

Talk it out. I consulted friends and family about this change in my life. One important thing I’ve learned is there is no shame in finding yourself laid off for reasons out of your control. Your friends or family could even offer insight into new career opportunities that you never thought about previously. I found my first post-layoff job through a friend who knew of my unemployment and had a position vacancy at her current job. I’ve also had a friend turn a layoff into a positive experience by starting her own photography business thanks to the insistency of another friend.

Make finding a job your full-time job. I gave myself about a week off before I started getting into a routine of studying for the GRE and job searching. I would wake up early, have coffee, study in the morning and job search in the afternoon. Having a routine helped me feel in control of what I was doing and also gave me a chance to be productive without losing my mind.

Act like you own it. When I finally got called in for an interview, I did my research. I found as much information as possible before going into a meeting and learned how the company operated. As nervous as I was, this made me more confident going into the interview. I also made sure to make a good impression with anyone I met, from the receptionist to the CEO. You never know who will be ask to evaluate your interview etiquette.

Always have a backup. You’ve heard the adage “Don’t put your eggs in one basket” and the same holds true in job searching. During my last job search, I applied to at least 100 jobs before finally getting the position I’m in now. I needed to make sure I had a Plan B if my Plan A didn’t pan out. This is easier said than done, but at least having a plan in place for how to succeed helped but my mind at ease. My Plan A was to find a new job and if that didn’t work, I was going to enroll in grad school. I ended up finding a new job before I had to begin applying for school, but at least having an idea of where to go next made me feel less powerless.

Finding a new job will be challenging, that much we all know is true. However, it doesn’t have to be impossible. Keep your options open and
do everything you can to find your next great career. If doing it on your own isn’t going to be enough, here are some possible options to consider:

  • Working with staffing agency to help with your employment needs
  • Taking advantage of government employment agencies, such as WorkSource
  • Applying a structured approach by using tools and coaching, such as Jobfully

The career transition process is a good opportunity to learn more about ourselves so that we know clearly how to obtain satisfaction in
doing our work.

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