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  • Writer's pictureKristin Schuchman, Career Strategist

Finding work that matters is hard. But worth the extra effort.

Though the unemployment rate nationwide is low, highly educated professionals still face stiff competition in destination cities like Portland and Seattle. For those seeking work for employers committed to the public benefit, prioritizing values like environmental protection, human services and economic equity, the competition for high paying work can be even stiffer.

Though often dismayed by the cynical values of a bottom-line-focused economy, we dewy-eyed idealists are not yet ready to abandon our pursuit of a job that speaks to the triple bottom line of meeting the needs of our values, our soul, and our bank account.

Below are a few considerations to increase your odds for pursuing a meaningful yet lucrative career.

Influences and Trends

As you embark upon your career transition journey keep in mind that technology and social media now impact and influence all stages of career transition. Also, the shifting economic landscape has opened up opportunity in many ways, yet heavy competition in some sectors has limited options for some. While sharpening the need to balance optimism with career realism, many of these new opportunities call for long hours and a life-absorbing commitment. Many parents and millennials who value flexibility and work-life balance choose other options such as remote work, entrepreneurship, part-time employment, and consulting gigs.

Technology and Social Media

Maintaining or updating technical skills presents either a welcome challenge or a nightmare to career changers (or a combination thereof). Because technology is now key in most professional positions, employers expect everyone to have skills commensurate to a current college graduate. At a minimum, career changers will compete better if they are fluent in the most widely used tools, including online job boards, social networking sites (most notably LinkedIn), and Office Suite (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint), as well as tools specialized to different industries.

Social media, especially LinkedIn, now plays a powerful role in a robust networking and job search plan. Begin or update your internet presence with the most open and curious attitude you can muster. Say to yourself: “Hmm. I want to find out what all the fuss is about.”

If you hear yourself groaning, try a few tactics to get an “attitude adjustment.” Engage friends or workshops to help you tackle social media one step at a time. I’ll give you encouragement, tips, and guidance throughout this blog.

Getting It All in Gear

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

It’s unlikely that you started reading this blog because you thought this would be easy, but you do want the effort you put forth in navigating your career to yield results. That’s completely understandable. I offer this blog as a roadmap to keep you moving forward on your career transition, but I don’t pretend it will be a rote, simple process.

Your journey is unique, but the tools required of a successful career transition usually include:

  • A determined commitment to create a better world.

  • A strong emotional support system.

  • An understanding of current trends and tactics and a willingness to stay current with technology and social media.

  • Self-awareness and the ability to dig deeper to connect with internal resources to stay motivated yet open to surprising self-revelations.

  • The ability to prioritize and navigate a job search with consistent follow-up and organizational skills.

  • An openness to pushing beyond your comfort zone to network effectively and learn new skills.

If you feel like these tools are lacking (or not as sharp as they once were), How to Prepare for a Career Transition will help you get all of your gear in place. If you have a willingness to keep doing things like reading this blog, improving your self-awareness, and reaching out to others for support and help, you’ll get where you want to go faster and encounter fewer bumps along the way.

© 2018 Spark a Career, LLC

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