Contemplating making a change in your career? Whether you are thinking about applying for an internal promotion, leaving the company for an advanced position or leaving the corporate world to start your own business, there are steps that you need to be prepared to take.
Following are five steps that I have found important in my experience. You can spend an hour on these steps or weeks depending on your motivation and the individual experience, but you must address each one as you prepare to make the leap!
- Outline Your Goals: Before you can make a leap, you need to first determine your goals. Are you looking for more responsibility? New skillsets? A better working schedule? What is the reason for your desire to make a change and how will the new position/opportunity align with those goals?
- Define Your Plan: Next, create a plan. Do you require additional education before you can make a leap? Do you need to enlist assistance from a mentor? Will the new career require financial capital or a move? Create a step-by-step plan to ensure you success.
- Activate Your Network: Ask for help. Let people within your network (personal and professional) know that you are considering making a leap. Put the word out and see who can help with what on your plan. The more people you tell, the more people will be able to help. The help can come in all forms; financial, educational or a personal connection to just the right person to help open doors.
- Start Building the Foundation: Each step of your plan will help build the foundation. It may mean assessing your personal finances, paying off bills, building your nest egg, trimming tasks off your to-do list or delegating tasks to free up your time for more networking and learning. Build a foundation that will allow you to make the leap as effortlessly as possible.
- Plan your Exit Strategy: The last step is to plan your exit strategy. Remember, that even if your leap leads you into a different industry or geographic location that the people you are currently working with still have value in your life. Be sure to give plenty of notice, offer assistance with the transition of the new person who will take your place, keep the lines of communication open and positive.
Making a change in your career can be exciting and frightening but if you take the time to put these five steps into action, your transition will be well thought out and you’ll be better prepared.