Don't do it! Yes, that's right, don't do it! You may hate your current job or there may be a declining demand or zero demand for your skills in our current job market. But does that mean that you should throw the baby out with the bathwater? I think not. Now, there are lots of career counselors, resume writing experts, life coaches, and other well meaning folks who will help you figure out what skills you have that are transferable to new careers. But is that the best approach? Read on to find out how I think you should do it.
Here's the challenge. Let's say you rewrite your resume to highlight all the really neat stuff that you can do that is transferable to your chosen new career. You find a suitable position and apply online. What happens? If someone like me sees your resume you're not going to go anywhere. You see I look for people who have been doing recently what I want them to do in a similar environment. That simple little sentence is the basis or should be the basis of what corporate recruiters do.
Now I'm not saying that people don't or shouldn't make career changes. I'm not saying that at all. What I am saying is that going cold turkey on your current career is a mistake. It's a big mistake. Assuming that you already have a job, you should keep it. It may not be the greatest job but it is a job. Find ways to add value where you are, learn new things, and expand your resume. When was the last time you volunteered for more work rather than complaining about the work that you already have? If you're lucky, there will be work just lying around waiting for someone to pick it up and that work may actually expand what you know how to do.
Let's say you don't currently have a job. What are you absolutely best at? What have you got the most experience doing? Target those areas. Maybe you'll need to take a slightly lower level position than you had in past but that's quite OK. Get to work and start expanding your skills and making yourself more valuable.
Now that you're working, adding value, expanding your skill-set, and being a productive employee you can start thinking about that career change. My bet is that over 50% of people who follow this path will discover that they actually love their chosen career and will give up thoughts of making a change. But perhaps you're really good at what you do and just want to do something else? Go take some classes, volunteer in your spare time, network your butt off with people in that new area. Join societies, user groups and get out and meet some people. Create a really punchy elevator speech and share it with anyone who'll listen. Don't just talk about it, do something!
And another thing, is your job really that bad? Check out my favorite Dirty Jobs episode in which a Las Vegas pig farmer recycles waste from the casino buffets. Enjoy!