Why You're Still Struggling With A Career Change Despite Having Career Clarity

Career clarity is only the beginning of what you need to make a career change. I know how it feels to go through a significant change in career paths. I'll never forget the day I realized my Fashion promotion degree didn't feel right, but I kept at it for fear of letting others down. Sometimes, our career decisions would be a lot easier if we listened to our instincts. Family, culture, life events, personal and professional accomplishments and interests are some of the many factors that impact our career choices.

Figuring out a career fit based on your capabilities, values and lifestyle desires, is a great move, but that just gives you knowledge. You need to act if you want to achieve your goals, and this might be what's stopping you.

You believe a career change myth.

When I'm coaching individuals, we discuss the beliefs that may be limiting them. I call that step of my career clarity program “Mindset Matters” because I've found that individuals are often held back by a career change myth. Myths like believing that a change is too early or late, that you won't have transferable skills or that burnout or boredom will be a thing of the past. Poor self-awareness, fear of change or loss, and poor energy or motivation all impact confidence and can be the sounding board for career myths. Once you've addressed your mindset, you'll have a solid foundation to achieve your goals. You don't need to take a pay cut or settle for less – two other common career change myths.

You don't know how to leverage your capabilities.

Your ideal employers don't just care about your skills. Deloitte's 2019 Global Human Capital Report highlights the importance of capabilities and not just skills.

Your skills are things you know how to do because you've done them in the past. Your mindset; characteristics: like resilience, creativity and resourcefulness; and your energy and stress levels all influence your capabilities. Your capabilities are what you can do and achieve.

Knowing how to evidence capabilities through compelling personal branding is especially important if you want to make a successful career change. Here's an example of how you'd do that when you're asked the popular tell me about yourself question in an interview.

Story ➙ intrinsic motivation ➙ capabilities ➙ current goal

Story  

This doesn't need to be lengthy, and remember, a story is just a recollection of the past. Stories are powerful because our brains are wired to remember them. Keep it relevant by focusing on your transferable skills and the commonalities between your new and former career choices.

Intrinsic motivation

People will be interested in what led you down your new path. This is an excellent opportunity to add what drives you and perhaps a defining moment.

Capabilities 

Focus on sharing evidence to support what you want to do in your next role and not just what you do now.

Current goal 

Show that you've done your research and tie in a corporate value with your current goal. It's a good idea if the value you choose is something they're trying to improve at an internal and stakeholder level.

You're not adding enough value to your network or diversifying it.

Essentially, networking is about building meaningful relationships and adding value to help achieve specific goals. When you approach networking with the desire to help someone else, you'll develop stronger relationships. Share insightful information, resources, or make a connection to people or opportunities that may be of interest.

Don't wait until you're desperate or want something before you build relationships. None of us like to be used, so why do it to others? You may not know anyone that does what you'd like to do or be familiar with anyone in the industry, so be intentional about building a diverse network. Doing so can help you learn, grow and increase your chances of finding a great opportunity.

Here's what the Association for Talent Development says about the benefits of networking:

  • Fifty-seven percent of jobs are filled through a networking contact.

  • Employee referrals and networking sites are two of the top ways companies fill open positions.

  • Your retention will be higher—eight years on average with a referral, as opposed to four years without.

  • You can expect to earn about 6 % more when you are hired as a result of a referral.

Making a career change can be stressful, and it can also be exciting. Make sure your desires don't just remain a dream.

This article was first published on my Forbes column and was featured on the channel page.