Switching Careers? Top Tips from a Career Coach

For Candidates

switching careers

By our guest blogger, Alyson Garrido

When making a career change at the executive level, there are many factors to consider. Creating a strategy around your approach can go a long way, particularly in a tighter job market. When embarking on a change, consider these factors and how they can support your search.


Set Your Anchors

When looking for a change, it’s easy to be distracted by roles that are completely different from what you’ve done, or are at companies with high profiles. Before reaching toward a role because of flashy benefits or a big name, find your anchors and non-negotiables. These anchors can be a touchpoint to evaluate the suitability of roles and organizations as you consider applying for or accepting a new position.

I like to start with strengths when a client is considering a new role. You can compare new opportunities and paths and how they align to your strengths to evaluate fit. My tool of choice is CliftonStrengths, but there are many other ways to look at your strengths and preferred ways of working. Consider reviewing your past performance reviews, proudest accomplishments and roles in which you’ve excelled to notice themes around when you perform best. Other anchors may include values alignment, your commute time, industry or level.


Test Your Assumptions

Learn as much as you can about roles and industries that are intriguing to you. You can do this through reviewing job descriptions, reading online reviews and first-hand accounts and, of course, through conducting informational interviews with people in your network. When going through a transition, it can be very easy to get caught up in assumptions about what a role does or what it will be like, and you will be in the best situation to start applying if you have had conversations about what the role is like in practice.


Help People Help You

Friends, colleagues and even acquaintances are typically very willing to lend a hand in your job search. The key is to help these people help you. That means being as specific as possible about what you bring to a role, your ideal company and the positions or functions of a role that are appealing to you. This will ensure that if someone hears about a role that is the right fit, they are able to swiftly make a referral because they have a clear picture of your ideal role.

For example, if you’re announcing your availability on LinkedIn, be sure to say more than just that you’re looking for your next role. Share what you’ve learned in your most recent role, what you’re excited to do next and information about the type of organization you’d like to work for. This allows people to make the right recommendations.


Partner with Recruiters

Working with a trusted recruiter is a very useful tool for executive search. At this level, roles are less likely to be advertised or discussed widely. Oftentimes recruiters are one of the first calls made when an executive steps away from their role, so be the person they think of when looking for qualified candidates. Consider reaching out to recruiters early on in your search process as they will have a sense of market trends and salary ranges. as well as roles that are becoming available in the coming weeks or months.


Engage With Your Network

Never underestimate the power of networking and the importance of keeping in touch even when you are not job searching. If you need to reach out for help, it will feel much easier for both parties if you are already regularly in touch. Be sure to reach out to both professional and personal contacts so they can be on the lookout for roles that could be the right fit for you.


Practice Patience

There’s a statistic that regularly floats around saying that a professional should plan on one month of search for every $10,000 they earn. I do not believe this statistic, nor has it played out for the people I work with. I share it, though, because the sentiment is accurate – there are far fewer roles earning $250,000 than there are roles earning $50,000, so remember that if you wanted to find a job – just any job – it would be much easier than finding the right job. That perfect fit will take more time and effort at the executive level and that’s okay. Keep in mind that it’s better to find the right role than to have to search again.


Although we’re working through a unique job market, people are still making career changes, so don’t be shy. Do the legwork to identify the right role and enlist your network to make a transition as quick and easy as possible.


Alyson_Garrido_HeadshotAlyson Garrido is passionate about helping professionals advance their careers and find jobs they will enjoy. As a career coach, she partners with her clients to identify their strengths and create a path toward a more fulfilling career. Alyson provides support around preparing for interviews, performance reviews and salary negotiations, ensuring that you present yourself in the best possible light for job search and career advancement. Learn more or book a session with Alyson by visiting www.alysongarrido.com.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; CBD; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Hospital and Healthcare; Hotels and Resorts; Nonprofit; Restaurant; and Travel, Tourism, and Attractions industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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