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New year, new career?

A career change will only happen if you put time and effort into it

There is no such thing as ‘just a coffee’. Photograph: iStock

There is no such thing as ‘just a coffee’. Photograph: iStock


It’s coming up to the new year and, like every year, we make resolutions about going to the gym and making that career shift. But, as with losing weight, getting the right career change will not happen just because it’s January. It will only happen if you are strategic and treat it as your most important project. Changing careers is an active process – it takes time and effort and only if you are prepared to put the effort in will you get the right outcome.

Do you truly understand why you are looking for a career change? To know why will help you understand where you will be most energised, productive and fulfilled. Once you have your why, take a step back and look at what got you excited in previous jobs. Look for commonalities and group them – build your new career around these.

Your ‘why’ and ‘what’ will help you with who you need to talk to and what message to get across – your network is your most important asset. There is no such thing as ‘just a coffee’ – every meeting can bring you closer to or farther from your new career. What message will you leave with them – about you, your career and why anyone they know should hire you?

Approach your network looking for advice on your message and approach; we all like to be asked for advice. Don’t ask for a job – you may not get a meeting. Ask if there is anyone else who would be worthwhile contacting and always send a thank-you note. If they make an introduction, always follow up. They have opened up their network to you.

It’s hard to do this alone; working with a career coach can help you focus. Changing career takes effort but something so important is worth it.

Shane Twomey is an executive coach and organisation consultant at Organisation Dynamics