After graduating from California State University, I got my first job in Washington D.C., in a PR agency. I was an ordinary office clerk whose activity became automated over time. This was not the profession of my dream, but immediately after graduating, I did not have much of an opportunity to choose. Moreover, a stable place of work and good money do not grow on trees. I understood that, being a clerk, I would climb the career ladder slowly and steadily. However, to achieve my ultimate goal and to take a more interesting position would not be possible at all, even after long years of hard work.
Once the moment came when I realized: I can not live like this anymore. I needed to look for something new. In reality, many first jobs after graduating university have great value for your career. Some take a job because they need it, and others know someone at a company and go for it. What really matters is when you undergo your first career change, you will learn about yourself and your abilities.
I was working for 7 years in the PR agency when I decided to transition into another industry. I didn’t understand what I wanted to do with my life but I realized that my present work was the problem. I was exhausted. Having moved back to Los Angeles, I was looking for an interesting vivid job connected with real business. Moreover, I wanted to contribute both to other people and the overall business. After seeing the first vacancies of HR managers, I submitted my resume. I was lucky: I was hired, without experience in personnel management (and where could it come from?)… And even in a perspective IT company! It was not easy to start with, but after a time, I could not imagine myself anywhere except the HR-industry. And here are the tips that I learned from making my career changes. I hope you find them helpful!
The comfort zone
The longer you stay in the same company — even by changing positions within it — the tougher the boundaries of your comfort zone become. I started to ponder over positions that could challenge me more than my current one. If you do not change the job you dislike quickly, eventually you will believe that you can’t do anything else. You will lose the ability to see other opportunities. If you feel that your present job is not challenging you anymore, if you do repetitive tasks most of the time, it means your learning curve has become flat. It is a kind of a wake-up call for professional growth.
You cannot control everything
Do not even try. When I decided to leave my former place of work, I understood that not everything would go according to plan. It didn’t sound too bad, in fact. I thoroughly enjoyed it for some time. I realized that I was open to new events, opportunities, relationships, and ideas. Do you want to change jobs? Be ready to be uncomfortable, stretch yourself and take action. But realize that you can put 100% into your success and things might go tin a direction you hadn’t expected. Even being a planner by nature, do not get too attached to your plans.
Money should not be your biggest driver
Obviously, you should take into account your financial strategy when choosing the next stage of your career. But you should not make a decision based on financial potential only. Will money bring you happiness if you don’t like your work? Perhaps it will at first, but then you become tired very quickly. It does not mean that you should ignore the salary for continuing your career, but you should consider other important factors, such as a balance between work and life, as well as the opportunity for professional growth.
Make sure you are noticed
This step is one of the most important. To begin with, your resume should be neat and concise. Keep in mind that a recruiter must select and read your application from a pile of others. If you need a template, there are some good ready-made formats on Overleaf. Personally, I used deedy-resume.
You will study a lot
You will have to invest maximum effort in your new professional development, master new search methods and achieve performance growth. Without specific knowledge about new companies/industries, it is impossible to become a real “pro”. For example, I am eager to get additional technical knowledge, since I work in IT so I read tech blogs and visit popular IT sites. When I meet unfamiliar words and subjects, I will definitely find out their meaning. Of course, I will not become a programmer – it is enough to understand at least the basic technologies. To adapt to the new profession, I had to absorb a lot of new knowledge, go through special courses, and attend a dozen thematic training and seminars.
If we want to maintain emotional balance, taking a new job, we must observe a reasonable balance. The life balance is very important, otherwise, we will cease to understand why we do what we do. We will start to avoid complex tasks and neglect the organization needs. Sometimes you must take breaks and look at things from different angles. When I am not glued to a laptop screen, I spend time working in the garden, learning French and Chinese, and trying to be a good volleyball player in an amateur team.
Whatever you dream about, believe that you have already received them
You must believe that you will receive what you want immediately. Your faith must be absolute and unwavering. When you believe, you know that the desired thing is near you in an invisible state, and the whole Universe is focused on transferring it from an invisible state to a visible one. You must speak, act and think as if you already have this thing. Why? Because the Universe is a mirror, and the law of attraction gives you the most powerful thoughts.
The best lesson I have learned: do not wait
Do not wait for someone to open the door to let you forward. Do not wait that someone to give you permission. Do not wait until the boss allows you to start a dream project or any other project. Don’t let an administrative or bureaucratic system keep you from moving on.
Have you ever wanted to build a business? Do it. Have you ever dreamt of writing a book or making a movie? Do it. Have you ever wanted to do sports or to learn a foreign language? Do it. Any strategy that relies on help from other people is a terrible strategy.
And one more challenege facing all who have decided to change career is a fear of failure. Every day for 10 minutes, just be grateful for what you have. Accept yourself and love yourself as you are. Accept what happens, don’t fight it. Do not suppress fear. Pay attention to anger. But always be grateful for what you already have. Anger never inspires, unlike gratitude. Gratitude is a bridge between your reality and a parallel universe in which your dreams come true.
Teresa Brashear grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from California State University. She is a mom, a HR manager at an IT company, and a successful writer at ResumeBros.com. She loves to spend time working in the garden, learning French and Chinese, and playing volleyball.