If you’re still employed, this is the best time to make a career change. And if you work in a large corporation, you have an advantage. What is it? Learn how to leverage your position to make the connections you need. And if you aren’t employed, learn how to leverage someone else’s connections.
- I really enjoy presenting in-person workshops, because I get immediate feedback. I can watch the faces of the participants. Some might be glaring and some might be smiling. Some may have their arms crossed and others are leaning forward, listening intently. One particular time this stood out to me was during a discussion of internal networking with an employee resource group. One of the women clearly wasn't buying what I had to say. And during an exercise where I asked all of the participants to pair up and share their five year career goals, I could tell she was ready to walk out.
So I went over to her and the person she was paired with and asked how it was going. She didn't waste any time telling me she thought this was stupid and didn't apply to her. And she couldn't see why she would need to do internal networking if she didn't plan to remain at that company for another five years. Some of you might have similar thoughts. You may be wondering what an exercise on internal networking at your current job has to do with making a career change and leaving that job. First, not every career change requires you to leave your current company.
You may be able to transfer into a different department. But you'll never make that switch if you don't talk to people outside of your current department, which requires networking. Second, whether you plan to leave your current job or not, the best way to get a new job is through a referral. An even better way is to have someone ask you to apply when they have an opening. And just as you are seeking new opportunities, so is everyone else. How many times has someone left one job for another and, within weeks, half of their old coworkers have joined them at their new company? If you haven't told anyone what you want to do, you can't be upset when opportunities pass you by.
If you have not spent the time telling others what your dreams and aspirations are, how are they ever supposed to help you reach them? Now, I'm not advising you to tell your current employer that you've applied to the competitor down the street. But there are ways to show your interest in areas outside of your current box at work. There are ways to become involved and assist with projects happening in other departments. If you could show interest in an aptitude for something other than what you're currently known for within your company, opportunities will begin to open up for you.
But other people have to know about it, so take the opportunity to attend a department party that you otherwise might not have shown up to. Go to lunch with the staff or the manager who works on the types of projects you'd like to work on. Show an interest. Ask about projects that interest you. Learn how their work affects what you do in yours. And if job shadowing is an option, try it. Ask to participate. Look for ways to get the experience you want in the career you want while maintaining your current, stable situation.
- Recognize what you can do to become ready to transition into a new career.
- Explain what you could do if you know what job you want but just aren’t sure you meet the qualifications to obtain it.
- Recall what it requires to get on the right path if you are sure you’re in the wrong career.
- Recognize how feedback can help you with your decision to change your career.
- Identify what internal networking at your current job has to do with making a career change and leaving that job.