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"How am I gonna do that?" Changing jobs

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about career change. Partially because of the blog, but mostly triggered by multiple scenarios I have been facing:

People who hate their jobs because they’re not treated fairly.

People who can’t earn enough to make a living.

People who are bored and feel stuck.

People who are looking for more rewarding environment.

People who are exhausted.

People who blame the job and bosses for their failures.

People who think that changing a job will change their whole life and make it better.

I don't judge the motives, it's an individual thing, but there is something that they have in common: all the reasons lead to the conclusion "I need a change". And then often comes the fear: "How am I gonna do that?"

I see how many of us struggle with it and decided to share some tips - as a person who changed jobs few times, started in completely new direction, moved abroad to work for a foreign company, and as a manager who recruited directly and in cooperation with headhunters and internal recruitment teams.

Change is never easy. And if you are under pressure, it takes a while to find something and you get rejected multiple times, it’s even more difficult.

Even after over 20 years I still remember the shock, disbelief and growing uncertainty at home when my dad had been told in multiple interviews that he is overqualified and too old. He was 44 at the time.

I will also never forget a case of a woman who applied for an assistant position in the company I worked for at the time. My boss delegated the recruitment job to me – I needed to find a good assistant with English and German language skills as it was a subsidiary of a German company. The lady seemed qualified, even overqualified, and I decided to invite her for an interview. I knew already that being “overqualified” didn’t mean that she wouldn’t be a good candidate and wouldn’t value the job. She came and the conversation went well until we switched to German. Unfortunately, her language skills were basic. In the moment she realized she won’t get the job, she burst in tears. She said she had been looking for months and is desperate. “Nobody wants me!”

These two cases, and many other over the years, made me wonder if there was anything they could do differently to be successful.

Obviously, there is not much we can do if the recruiter is biased, but we can do a lot to improve the way we prepare and present ourselves to increase our chances.

There are few steps that stand out for me:

1. If possible, don’t quit and think after. In real world it’s rarely the best idea. Especially when you have no money and at the same time some responsibilities, like mortgage and family. Being unemployed will only increase the stress level.

Doing things slowly doesn’t mean that you don’t get closer to achieving your dreams.

Take your time to figure out what you can and want to do. Read, ask questions, check the areas you think you would like to switch to. Do reality check: do you already have the needed skills? If not, how crucial are they in the new job? How much you would need to learn? Additionally, if you are thinking about entrepreneurship, how time consuming, expensive and feasible it is.

2. Knowing stuff makes you more aware of your options.

Check all your areas of interest. Look for learning opportunities – blogs, webinars, courses, life classes, connect with people who are already doing what you would like to switch to. Build connections, get involved. You can test this way if after a while the new field will still seem appealing to you.

3. Create a plan – list out small steps that you need to make to get closer to your dream.

4. If you are confident that a particular job type is a good fit, prepare your CV and apply.

The job market is at the same time huge and picky. Make a genuine list of qualities and skills that you have, that match the expectations for the role. And it doesn’t need to be documented education or experience in the new area. If you gained some in other fields but could use it in the new job, write it down and make it shine in your application. If you don’t have anything yet, take your time and learn first. Maybe it will delay the change but think how much easier it will be for you to apply, talk during an interview and then start in the new role with some basis that you could use.

You can find online really good examples of CV formats, so I won’t cover it here, but I want to highlight a very, VERY important thing. Remember, companies receive hundreds of applications. If you want to get noticed, you need to invest some time and effort. Don’t use standard, empty phrases, don’t copy and paste lines from job description. Use examples, show what you can do, help the recruiter recognize your potential.

And remember – even if you get rejected, you are a valuable person. You may not be the right fit (yet) for a particular job, but you have a lot to offer and big potential. Ask for feedback, learn from your mistakes, polish your message. Don't give up, you will eventually get there!


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