4 Steps for Successfully Changing Careers

In today’s workforce, changing careers is virtually inevitable for the average person. Many people end up changing careers out of necessity because of the many technological, cultural, economic, geographical, and other forces that constantly shape our world.

Other people change careers out of desire. It is common for the average middle-aged person to have an urge to transition to a different career field. This is often because of the many changes that they have experienced throughout life.

Around mid-life the average person doesn’t have the same influences or mitigating factors that helped them to make their first career choice. Typically, these individuals are more financially stable and socially empowered to decide on the career path that they are truly passionate about.

If you are one of the many people considering changing careers either by choose or force, here are some steps you should take when making your career move.

Assess Your Career Aptitude

The average, traditional college student selects his or her career major based on financial or social influences. They usually select a career field in which they can easily find a job and earn a decent salary. Typically, they are heavily influenced by their parents or guardians and/or their peers.

When this happens, the average person doesn’t usually select a career based on their innate passion. They decide on what is convenient from a variety of aspects. They may go on to have a fulfilling and pleasurable career. However, they may not have made the best career choice according to their natural aptitude.

When changing careers, this is something that you should think critically about. Does your chosen career field align with your natural aptitude and desire? If not, you will probably be setting yourself up for disappointment.

There are a number of ways that you can assess your career aptitude. You can take a career aptitude test. There are many free and fee-based aptitude tests available online or through college career service centers. Such tests can give you a basic foundation in which direction to go in when selecting a suitable career path.

Another great way to dig deeper into your career aptitude is to work with a career or life coach. Working one-on-one with a coach can help you discover your passion and purpose on a deeper level. The right career coach can give you substantial feedback in an unbiased and professional manner.

Research Your Desired Career Sector

Once you decide on which career path you want to take, you need to do some research. You need to understand how the career field works and how you plan to navigate through the career path.

All careers aren’t created equal and all career paths aren’t for everyone. You may feel a burning desire to pursue a career that just isn’t a good fit for your age or your life path. You must consider your financial situation and responsibilities when changing careers.

Some career transitions may necessitate a pay cut, schedule change, etc. that may interrupt the flow of your life. These are things that you need to be aware of before moving forward.

Get the Proper Education and Training

When it comes to changing careers, you should never shortchange yourself when it comes to education and training. It may feel daunting or overwhelming to think about going back to school or completing an entry-level training program but it may be necessary.

In some cases you may be able to transition to a new career field without much time or effort. But the average person will spend about one to two years preparing for a career transition.

The good news is that it is not a long period of time in comparison to years of joy and fulfillment that you experience in your new career. Anything worth having is worth waiting and working for.

Redefine Your Personal Brand

Finally, you need to redefine your personal brand when changing careers. Most likely your career portfolio is solely based on your previous or current career. You will need to fine tune your career portfolio and your sense of self in order to access opportunities in your new profession.

In order to do this you will need to take inventory on how your past education and experience integrate with and complement your new skillset. In essence, you need to reinvent yourself. Not just on paper, but you need to reinvent your person.

Changing careers comes with new demands and requires a different way of relating to yourself and your work. Chances are you won’t be able to show up in the same way unless your new career is closely related to your previous or current one.

It is a good idea to work with a professional such as a career counselor or coach to help you redefine your personal brand.

Should I Opt for a Career as a Digital Nomad?

Digital nomad

Living and working as a digital nomad is growing in popularity as internet capabilities expand globally. If you have incurable wanderlust you are in for a treat with such a career move. Working as a digital nomad or virtual expat gives you the opportunity to quench your travel thirst in dynamic and exciting ways.

Now before I dive too deep into this topic let me clarify what I mean by a digital nomad. For definitive purposes, a digital nomad is an individual who utilizes technology as their primary means of maintaining a location independent lifestyle. This could be through employment, entrepreneurship, residual income, or retirement.

For the purpose of clarity, I use the term digital nomad and virtual expat interchangeably throughout this post. However, keep in mind that a digital nomad does not necessarily have to live outside of their passport country. Though, living abroad is generally accepted as a major part of this lifestyle.

Digital Nomad Pathways

In general there are two main pathways to becoming a digital nomad. The first option involves being a virtual employee or entrepreneur while living outside of your passport country. In such a scenario, an expat can work for an organization within or outside of their host country.

For instance, you may move from America to the UK and work as a virtual graphic designer while working for a UK based company. Conversely, you may work as a virtual graphic designer in the U.S. for a U.S. based company and decide to move to Thailand while continuing your employment.

The second option for digital nomads is to work remotely for an international company as a expatriate employee while living in your passport country. Remote or virtual work still gives a person the chance to travel domestically or internationally at their leisure. Though I know that some may not deem this as a “true” expat or digital nomad experience.

However, such an individual may be considered an expat based on their employment classification. This has become more common in light of recent travel bans. This is primarily due to the need for countries that depend on expat labor to find innovative ways to attract and retain such employees. Also, this situation still qualifies one as a digital nomad based on the definition.

There are many pros and cons to both of these options. Deciding to embark on a digital nomad journey is simply a matter of which option is most beneficial for your particular needs.

Pros of Being a digital nomad

Cost of Living

One of the most common reasons that people choose to work as a virtual expat is to enjoy a better standard of living. The average income of a worker or retiree from a developed country can typically go a long way in an underdeveloped or developing country.

This is why many remote employees and entrepreneurs choose to live in foreign countries with a lower cost of living. They can enjoy a higher standard of living while being able save, pay off bills, or otherwise accumulate cash reserves.

Location Independence

Another benefit of being a digital nomad is the ability to be location independent. You can travel to and/or live almost anywhere as a digital nomad. So this option is perfect for someone interested in exploring multiple locations without being tied to a specific geographical region.

More Opportunities

Being a virtual expat opens the door to more employment opportunities. The virtual work space in general has literally changed our definition of when, why, and how we work. So digital nomads are often able to find or create unique and innovative career paths.

Freedom

Being a digital nomad is all about freedom. In many instances you have the opportunity to choose when, where, and how long you stay in a given destination. Depending on your work situation, you may also be able to choose your own schedule. This could mean spending early mornings relaxing at the beach. Or it could mean taking long drives up the coast in the middle of the workweek.

Unique Experiences

Being an expat in general often comes with its share of unique and exciting experiences. Expats tend to spend a good portion of their time exploring and learning about new places and meeting new people.

Working as a virtual expat has the propensity to expand your ability to explore and learn to a much higher degree. Since you are not bound to a traditional office setting you can have the freedom to move around more frequently. This ultimately means more time for adventures and exploration.

Cons of Being a digital nomad

Infrastructure Issues

The digital nomad space can also present its share of challenges. In particular for those who rely on steady and fast internet capabilities to perform their duties, infrastructure issues can present major problems.

This is especially the case for expats who live in areas that consistently have issues with the electricity and/or internet grid. Unfortunately, such issues are very common in underdeveloped and developing regions of the world. These issues can make the digital nomad life extremely difficult or outright impossible in some cases.

Loneliness and Isolation

Being an expat already comes with its own share of issues related to loneliness and isolation. Engaging on a digital nomad adventure can easily amplify such issues. When you work remotely you typically work in a bubble even if you communicate with your colleagues on a regular basis.

If you spend the majority of your day online while living in a foreign country it is easy to feel isolated. Undoubtedly this contributes to loneliness. When loneliness lingers one can easily begin to experience mental health issues. So this is definitely something to consider especially if you tend to be the loner type.

Visa Complications

Another issue for digital nomads is securing visas for long term stays. Digital nomads who work for organizations outside of their expat country usually have issues securing work or other long term visas. This is because they don’t actually work for an organization within the country.

Therefore, they either have to make visa runs, apply for a business visa, or secure a long-term visa through other means. In most instances, such situations can prove cumbersome and daunting over the long haul. This can easily fatigue even the most adventurous person.

Dating and Romance

Loneliness and isolation can also bring trouble in the romance department. Not being around other people on a regular basis obviously diminishes your chances of meeting someone special. Couple this with language and cultural barriers and you have a recipe for dating disasters.

Though all is not lost for virtual expats, it can be challenging for them to find suitable mates. Dating can be even more challenging for digital nomads who move around frequently. It is very difficult to maintain long distance relationships over the long haul.

Being Misunderstood

When someone chooses not to live a traditional lifestyle, they are often misunderstood by society. While being non-traditional is more fashionable than ever before it is still taboo to break away from some societal norms. Living as digital nomad is one of them.

Your family and friends will probably often question your desire to roam the world. Many of them won’t understand why you don’t want to settle down. So you may often feel like the black-sheep of the family if you choose this lifestyle.

The Best Pathway

As always, my advise for choosing any option is what’s best for your situation. The digital nomad life is the only way to live for some. For others, not so much. You need to do some deep digging to determine if the above-mentioned and other pros outweigh the cons for you.

4 Resume Writing Tips for Job Seekers

Resume Writing Tips

As a hiring manager and career coach, I have seen countless resumes throughout my career. Many job seekers tend to make the same costly mistakes that often result in their resumes being overlooked or immediately eliminated. While beautifully formatted resumes with flowery, superfluous words may be great for some professionals such as authors, they are generally not appropriate for the average worker.

What most job candidates don’t realize is that resumes often go through a tedious filtering process that may involve three or more steps before they even get to the hiring manager. It is a very common practice for human resource software program algorithms to sift through resumes before they ever make it to a human. Once a resume passes this stage, it is usually scanned by a human resource professional before it is then passed to the hiring department.

Once it reaches the hiring manager, the resume is generally thoroughly reviewed before it is shortlisted or handed over to a hiring committee for further evaluation. This process easily reduces the hiring pool to three to five job candidates out of hundreds of applicants.

This is why it is extremely important for job seekers to put forth their best efforts to make an excellent first impression! Below, you will find four tips to help you do just that.

Use a Template

Standardized templates are a sure fire way to help you be certain to include all the basic elements needed on your resume. While templates present a uniform guide for formatting resumes, they can easily be customized to help your resume stand out. But, where they shine is in their ability to capture the most important data elements in a way that immediately catches the reader’s attention.

All resume templates include basic criteria such as contact details, education, employment history, specialized skills, etc. Many templates format each of these elements using bold headings and subheadings with enlarged font that clearly define the most important aspects of the resume. Some templates even present an artistic, yet classy flare that can help resumes stand out even more.

Rather than reinventing the wheel and risk leaving out vital information from your resume, it is best to start your resume by using a template. There are many different styles of resume templates available in Microsoft Office and G Suite Marketplace, just to name a couple.

Keep it Short

Hiring managers truly appreciate well-written, well-formatted, and concise resumes. The standard length for a resume is one-page. It may not seem like a lot of space, but if used correctly it can say a lot about you as a candidate in many ways. Not only does a one-page resume give you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills, and abilities, it also gives you an opportunity to showcase your sensibility.

Keep in mind that hiring managers generally have many tasks to accomplish on any given day. Chances are hiring duties are at the bottom of our priority list. So we appreciate it when candidates can present a professional, well-rounded picture of themselves in the fewest amount of words. In which case, a well formatted, one-page resume usually does the trick.

There are definitely cases where longer resumes or curriculum vitae are in order such as for professors, researchers, executives, and other highly skilled and experienced professionals. In fact, it is an expectation that these professionals present longer (usually 3-4 pages) curriculum vitae. However, these professionals should still be sensible and respectful of the hiring manager’s time.

As a hiring manager, I have tossed many long-winded resumes of highly qualified applicants because I knew that they would not be sensible or level-headed employees. If they couldn’t start the process off by showing me that they value my time during the job search, what was I to expect if I hired them? I wasn’t willing to take the chance to find out.

Only Include Sections You Need

This advice coincides with keeping your resume short. Resume templates present a general outline for the average job seeker – not all elements included on the template are applicable to everyone. If you don’t have any relevant information to put in a specific section, simply delete the section and move to the next one. Don’t make up things or state that you have nothing to put in that section (which I have seen candidates do by the way).

Additionally, don’t include sections that are simply not needed on a resume. For instance, I once had a candidate list all the professional development conferences that she had attended over the past 10 years or so on her resume. This not only increased the length of her resume by about two pages, it presented extraneous information that took me more time to read.

Hiring managers do not need this type of information. Generally, a copy of a professional license or certification will serve this purpose. Attendance at a conference tells me nothing about your skills and abilities. However, a professional license or certification, formal education, and relevant experience speaks volumes about your ability to perform.

So stick to the most important elements when writing your resume. The employer is most interested in the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you possess that directly correlate to the position which they are hiring for.

Don’t Include Redundant Information

Redundant information likewise increases the length and decreases the overall quality of a resume. There is no need to indicate that you will provide references upon request on a resume. This is a redundant statement that wastes space and adds nothing of value to the resume.

Objective statements are another pet peeve for many hiring managers. Most objective statements simply reiterate that the candidate is looking for a job which they are applying for. We already know you want the job once you submit your application or resume in response to the job advert. These types of statements add no substance to the resume and take up space that could be used to showcase valuable skill-sets.

If you have made any of these resume writing mistakes don’t fret, you can still revive your resume by implementing these tips. Or, you can contact us and we can help you format and write a winning resume that will definitely get you shortlisted.