Ways to Jump Start a New Career
Ways to Jump Start a New Career

Are you ready to start following your dreams? Turn your passion into your next career by creating and committing to YOU time.

10 Surefire Ways to Jump Start a New Career

Tis’ the season for spring cleaning and new beginnings. Whether you’ve been stuck in a stagnant job and plotting your escape all winter or ready to add more texture to your professional portfolio, the bottom line is it’s time for a complete change. We know the challenges of daily life can get in the way of prioritizing free time, but using your time off to fuel your passion can pay off handsomely and add some much-needed happiness to your life. Instead of jumping headfirst into a new industry, here are some tips to help you make a gradual transition into a new career. Get ready to start small and watch yourself grow.

Get a hobby

We all have fun stuff we enjoy doing, would like to learn about or are fascinated about if we only had more hours in the day. As adults, we get stuck thinking about the day to day mundane tasks in our lives, our families needs, bills and everything else that sucks the energy out until there’s nothing left for our playtime. In a society where output equals input, what we put out into the world through stress, worry, anger, fear, fatigue is what we get back at the end of the day. Even the occasional beer on the couch or spa day won’t satisfy like an excellent ol’ hobby that engages your interest and inspires creativity. Whatever it is, maybe you always wanted to learn crocheting, or you like to fish, photography or making movies. Whatever gets your juices going, give yourself the gift of doing it.

Lose yourself

Once you’ve identified your hobby, get a routine going. Choose a day or time when it’s hobby time and stick to it. It is the YOU time you’ve wanted. When we say we want to relax, sometimes we get confused with doing nothing; doing what you enjoy helps you relax and de-stress. Remember, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many hobbies that you become tired of just juggling it all. One hobby is more than enough to keep your mind occupied and satisfied. If you like to write, read about writing, post opinions on blogs, comment on articles. These small acts can gear you up to writing your blog, starting a newsletter, or beginning journaling every day. Start small and lose yourself in it.

Join groups and associations

Support from like minds is invaluable. You can find groups online that discuss the very topics you’re curious about. Even if you’re not ready to join in on the conversation, look at them, read other people’s posts; they are sure to be talking about the things that have been floating around in your head. If you want to jump in on the action, go ahead! Be sure to introduce yourself and acknowledge comments you agree with to interject in a conversation appropriately. Random and one-off words can hardly get a conversation going, especially in a tightly-knit group. The goal is to become a part of the group, not just a passerby or silent spectator. Look for a physical group in your neighbourhood too, and get involved.

Be a resource

Share what you know, become a “go-to” person in your hobby group! Is someone in need of an event planner, and you happen to be friends with one? Make a recommendation. Even if they don’t take your advice, they will know that you have resources to help them out, and you’re willing to share them. It allows you to also ask for resources without seeming like a group leech: You know the kind, always using resources but never contributing to the pot. It’s sort of like the person at work that eats stuff out of the fridge, yet they never put anything in it. Did you say your lunch is missing? Be willing to help any way you can, and you will get back what you put in.

Become a leader

If there is an opportunity to chair a committee, take charge of a project or create one of your own that has to do with your unique talent – do it, whether it’s at work, in your community group or your online group. Nothing speaks louder than a dedicated hobbyist who is just interested in doing what they love and doing well. Does your local photography group want to showcase their work? Volunteer to call up venues and get prices; be the person in charge of the guest list. Any small task that gets you involved in the action will put you in a position of authority. You will meet key people, the movers and shaker. Best of all, you will be one of them! Avoid biting off more than your teeth can chew, however. What you do should fit into your allocated free time. Do not volunteer to pick up tents 3 hours away after work if you have to pick up your kids from the babysitter during that time. Manage your time and handle your responsibilities first; do what you can within reason.

Keep an eye on the industry.

Subscribe to industry newsletters, read up on the latest trends. Are you a wine enthusiast? Subscribe to the wine magazines; learn about the oxidation disposable glasses coming out next year or the new hydroponic grapevine process. Please share the information with your group, form an opinion and blog about it. People want to know about the latest news on things they love, yet most “don’t have the time” to stay abreast. Helping others remain in the know will increase your value to others. You simplify their lives by filling the gaps they’re unable to get to. At the same time, you’re positioning yourself to take a seat at the table with the big boys and girls.

Attend events

At this stage, networking is vital. You’ve experienced enough in your selected hobby to share with others; you’ve learned new trends, gained a handful of resources, headed up some committees and know where your industry is heading. Now it’s the moment to get out there and see what everyone else is up to. Be strategic about the events you attend. Is there a keynote speaker you’ve wanted to meet? Is it being sponsored by the company you could see yourself working for? Is there information being shared that you want to know about? Have a purpose, establish goals for the event, then execute. If the goal is to meet the keynote, don’t leave until you made contact. No need to stay all night, an hour or two is all that is necessary.

Create a new resume

Forget your old working career if it doesn’t add value to your new one. Don’t get caught up in making others know you had a 20-year past as a chemical engineer if it doesn’t position you correctly to snag a job as a pastry chef. Of course, you want to acknowledge that you’re switching careers, but it shouldn’t be the main focus. Give attention to all you have done to become a sought after pastry chef. If you obtained your culinary certificate, catered for your family, friends and church and volunteered at a local bakery, put it on a resume. You have to start somewhere to build your new credentials.

Start as a volunteer or part-time.

You’ve put the pieces in place; you got enough to know how to get in the game and get paid for it—beef up your resume with a few smaller gigs. Volunteer your time; work a few hours on the weekend. At this point, it’s about trying out new areas and gaining specific types of experience. Be strategic about what you accept because you don’t have time to waste doing mundane, unrelated tasks. Spend a few months at a time honing your craft. Two months at a local bakery can show you the ins and outs of a commercial kitchen. One night a week as a bar back or dishwasher can introduce you to the world of restaurant management. Whatever it is, get your foot in the door and get tasks under your belt.

Launch the new you!

Finally, after everything is said and done, it’s time to start marketing yourself with your newfound experience. Send out your resume for your new position, start a blog, create a website, discuss yourself as though you are now what you desire to become. Instead of saying things like “I want to be a filmmaker, or I’m an aspiring filmmaker”,, say “I work in film.” Or instead of “I’m trying to get into photography,” say, “I’m a photographer.” You’re not telling stories; after all, you’ve spent all this time gaining experience, learning your craft and making moves. You deserve the right to call it as you are! You’re ready to show the world a new you!

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