Our Moving Ahead Program has over 1,500 alumni, all who are welcome to visit St. Francis House at any time and seek us for support and resource advice in perpetuity.
The Alumni Resource Center bulletin board on the 4th floor hosts a new topic each month. This month’s is about career changes.
Have you been feeling unmotivated? Undervalued? Not being challenged enough in your role?
Maybe even finding yourself focusing on a personal side project or daydreaming of a job you wish you had? It might be time for you to not only change jobs, but change careers- but doing so isn’t very easy. Even when you realize change is needed, you might find yourself scrolling for hours through job listings thinking “I would love to do something like this, but I’m not qualified”.
When it comes to making a career change, many people follow a traditional thought process: The only way to get the experience or credentials needed to make the shift is by going to school- which is not only expensive, but time consuming- and sometimes, ends up making matters worse if the field you thought you’d like turns out not to be what you wanted.
Don’t give up on your goals! We are here to help you think about some non-traditional ways of gaining experience that can help you facilitate a smoother career transition. Read below for a few thoughts to get you started on your new path!
Get creative with the job you have
If you’re in a position right now that just doesn’t feel fulfilling, but you enjoy the work or the agency, think about how you can add value that also maximizes your potential. Similar to offering your skills to your network, offer your skills to your employer. Create something they can use in the future like workshops or new marketing materials, start a new task force to tackle a big challenge your company is facing and offer to lead it, or implement new community involvement activities to build teamwork and showcase your companies work outside the office. Wherever your interests lie, try to find a way to add small pieces to the work you do. You might even be creating a new position for yourself that your company didn’t realize it needed!
Offer your skills to your network
A few years ago, a friend of mine decided that too many people weren’t living out their lives to the fullest because they were so focused on the day to day work and life stress. She had always been passionate about public speaking and spreading positivity, so she created a video series called “The Purposeful Challenger”, where she posts a short video on a different theme each week, with matching challenges that she encourages other people and herself to participate in.
Taking this initiative has allowed her to build her confidence, create connections with people outside of her network and brand herself as a positive influencer- opening the doors for motivational speaking opportunities and more.
What’s great about this is that it doesn’t have to take away from the job you have, allowing you to maintain your income or other priorities.
Think about what skills can you offer to the people you know. If you’re a photographer, build a portfolio by offering free headshots or photo shoots to your friends and family. If you’re into Graphic Design and Marketing, maybe offer to spruce up some flyers for a local business or help them create a logo.
Volunteering can be more than serving meals or packing grocery bags- you can volunteer as a receptionist, teach classes or workshops, prepare taxes and more. This is a great way to meet professionals in your field of interest, boost your resume by showing current activity and gain new experience and training without the commitment of employment or school. Utilize this time to try something you haven’t done before. We like VolunteerMatch- Give it a try!
Take classes- but for FREE
If you’re really feeling stuck in your role, but can’t find a way to gain the knowledge you feel you need for a new position or different industry, take a look at some free courses online. Just a simple search on Google can turn up some options like Coursera, LinkedIn, and edX which host online classes and webinars in many different subjects that can help further or develop your skills. Many of these courses are taught by professors from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities across the world, and offer the opportunity to pay for a certificate if you’d like to market your skills further.
Start from scratch
When it comes down to it, if you’re truly looking to make big shift into a new industry and can’t find any other way to develop the skills you need, build your new career from the bottom up! Taking a role that will get you in the door, even if it is entry-level, can give you the opportunity to ease into the industry and learn from those around them. Take a look at this article to hear about how this job seeker turned her career from Manager at Macy’s, to Editorial Assistant, to Editor-in-Chief: https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-career-changer-proves-its-never-too-late-to-start-back-at-the-bottom