When setting new goals and making career changes, it is important to analyze, organize, plan and then execute. Everyone has an inner desire to grow, both personally and professionally. We want to be proud of what we do and what we accomplish.
First and foremost, we are motivated to meet our basic biological needs – water, food, shelter and basic physiological survival needs. Next come the needs for safety, belonging, and social recognition. Once basic and other needs are met, we are motivated to fulfill our needs for self-actualization and personal development.
If we look strictly at work, at the bottom of the needs pyramid, the main reason we all go to work is to survive – we need money to meet basic needs (food, access to water and adequate shelter). Safety and security needs in the context of work mean earning enough money and having a secure job. Belonging means teamwork, mentoring, and a sense of acceptance from colleagues. Social recognition means knowing that our work matters, that it is valued, and that we are becoming experts at what we do. Ultimately, career fulfillment and personal development lead to better performance.
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Career changes are not easy most of the time. However, it is our responsibility to take action when we feel that we no longer belong in a particular job or company. A career change occurs when a person leaves one position and moves to another within the same or another company. Common reasons for career change include:
Once you’ve found your “why,” the other steps to career change follow. Consider whether you really want to change careers, or if it’s just a temporary dissatisfaction. Also consider whether you need a new job in the same field, a promotion within the company, or an entirely new career.
Here are some helpful steps:
We all have desires, both personal, professional, relational, etc. But for a desire or dream to become a reality, we must first turn it into a goal and then make a plan. Career planning is essential for professional satisfaction and success. A career goal defines the ultimate job we aspire to during our career. It allows us to then create an action plan or professional development plan to work toward achieving our career goal. Aspirations are different from goals. Desires are the first step, the starting point, but goals are about activating desires through work and effort. Any career goal or aspiration requires work and dedication.
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Before you set your goals and decide to change careers, you need to know:
SMART Career Goals
In order to achieve your career goals, it is important to have both short-term and long-term career goals. In general, short-term goals are stepping stones to long-term goals. The best way to set goals is to be SMART:
After identifying and setting the end goal, the next step is to create an action plan – careful planning to get what we want. Break down big goals into smaller, more achievable ones – one month, one year, 3 years. Monitor your progress to make sure you’re staying on track. Evaluate your accomplishments regularly and refine your goals as needed to achieve success.
Opportunities come at unexpected times, and a new door may open when you least expect it. That’s why you should always be prepared and keep your resume up to date. Also, make sure your social media and recruiting information is up to date.
A resume is the first point of contact between you and a potential employer. That’s why you need to make sure it’s well-structured, complete, and includes all the details about your education, experience, and any skills needed for the job.
Healthcare organizations, groups, and professional associations are useful ways to stay informed about industry trends and issues. You can meet people with similar career paths or goals. This can make you more informed and connected, which can lead to opportunities. Social networking sites are also extremely useful for accessing resources and opportunities.
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Mentors are invaluable throughout your career. Mentors can teach you many things that will help you in your career, they can share their experiences, they can introduce you to various valuable professional contacts, and they can help you solve certain professional situations or problems.
Look for specialized courses and training programs that will help you develop the skills you need and want for a particular job. Focus on a broad range of skills – both hard and soft skills – that will set you apart from other candidates. Core or soft skills are particularly useful in an interview and include communication skills, attention to detail, responsiveness, patience, time management, positive attitude, adaptability, creativity, empathy, teamwork, etc.
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Choose events to attend, both for information and knowledge in the field, and to connect with people new to the field – networking. You never know when the next opportunity will come along. Social interactions can be the key to landing your dream job. In fact, research suggests that up to 85% of jobs are found through networking.
A career change can also have less positive aspects compared to your previous job. For example, if you used to have a flexible schedule, your new job may require you to stick to a stricter schedule, your financial benefits may be lower at first, or you may not have some extra benefits such as transportation or other perks. It is important to weigh the pros and cons to make the most informed decision.
A new career is also likely to bring a new routine, which can sometimes affect your work-life balance in the short term.
Athletes are often taught to visualize success, to picture themselves winning. The same concept can apply to career goals. While it is sometimes possible to desire a career change, it is normal to have fears and doubts. We don’t know if it’s the right decision, if we’ll be better off, where to start. But these thoughts often lead to inertia, and that holds us back.
It’s important to take action and reduce over-analysis. Luck certainly helps, but the main catalyst is persistence. You have to get out of your comfort zone, find your motivation and put in the effort. Each step towards your desired career requires making big decisions and taking essential risks.
When making a career change and setting goals, you need to realize that it is often a long process. But with planning, effective organization and dedication, success will not be long in coming. You need to find the motivation and courage to make a career change when various aspects of your current job are no longer satisfying and you are no longer happy at work.
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