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We all desire a dream job or business, to have freedom, to perform to the best of our abilities and work with passion while being fulfilled whether as an entrepreneur or at work.

A couple of months ago a co-worker asked me to give her ideas for some of the jobs she should look for when she graduates college or what field/career she should choose. A few days ago, a friend asked me how could one change careers and what should be a starting point for those who want to see a change in their professional life.

This is a very common question for several reasons: people don’t enjoy any longer their work place, career, or job; they don’t feel fulfilled at work by what they do; they feel bored; they don’t like the organizational culture or boss; they know are worth more than what the job pays them; retirement, and the list goes on.

Last year I retired from a career and job I loved (law enforcement) and I had the same questions: What should I do next? What direction should I choose? What would I enjoy doing and would I be any good at it?

This led me to really reflect on several aspects of my past career to include accomplishments, peak times, interests, strengths as well as weaknesses, my knowledge and abilities, and what would make me happy. So, here are my tips on the 5 steps you can take to when contemplating a career change:

Write everything you like and dislike about the current career/job and then describe your ideal job/what would make you happy

For example, I like my co-workers and boss; I do not like the hours or work environment, etc. My ideal job is a place where: is flexible with my work hours; my supervisor is not a micromanager; I can advance in my career; I have freedom, etc. I also recommend you write a personal mission statement, your values, and where you would like to be in 3-5 years to help you get clearer on what you want for your future.

List your strengths, weaknesses/areas of improvement, knowledge, transferable skills, abilities and talents

This is an important step to identify, based on the assets you possess, what would be some potential jobs and careers you could explore. For example, if you one of your strengths is collaboration then a good working environment would be to work with others as part of a team and not working in isolation. I also encourage you to speak to your friends and family members and ask candid questions about your strengths and talents so that you gain more insight into potential fields you would like to explore.

Research other fields of interests

Once you figure out what kind of job environment and the transferrable skills you possess, research fields where those strengths are idea. If you are very creative or you possess superior research skills, find jobs that will allow you to showcase your creativity and skills like photography, design, home staging, fashion design, florist, graphic design, craft artist, art director, etc.

Make an inventory of your training and education

When I retired, I completed an “inventory” of all my skills, training, knowledge areas, etc. so that I had an idea where I needed to improve and what would be the areas I could further explore. I also hired a professional resume writer to update my resume which I highly recommend you do.

Take ACTION

Dreaming does not do the trick; you have to actually do something about it. So take a class, enhance your skills or gain new ones, interview people in positions you think you may like so that you know what you need to do to get there, read articles/books that may help you decide on a career path, hire a career coach if you believe you need additional help, research potential job openings in the field of interest or open your business if you always wanted to be an entrepreneur!

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