Many people will contemplate a career change over the course of their professional lives. Brandeis alumni are no different. Downsizing, performance problems, the need to relocate, the need for more earnings, the quest for more fulfillment, or perhaps the desire to reconnect with a childhood passion are several popular reasons why people decide it is time for a career change. Here are three key tips to help alumni career changers get started down their new path.
What is motivating you to make a career change? Perhaps, it is one of the reasons mentioned above. Once you know your motivation, it is time to take a personal inventory of your current skills, knowledge areas, interests, and personal attributes. You may very well already possess many of the desirable strengths that are needed to succeed in your new area of interest. Or, perhaps you may find that you need some further education, like a class, a certificate, a volunteer apprenticeship, or another degree.
Type Focus is a wonderful online resource that can help alumni take a first step in identifying your values, skills, interests and personality type and how they may relate to new career options. Access TypeFocus by logging in to Handshake > Resources.
Research the Possibilities
Once you've identified career fields/areas of interest, it is time to do some research. The Occupational Outlook Handbook and ONET Online are two helpful online resources that will educate you on the knowledge, skills, abilities, and trends associated with a field.
Another important part of your research is actually speaking with people who are in your career field(s) of interest to learn about how they navigated their career path. Finding a mentor in your field of interest that can advise you on do’s and don’ts is also very helpful. Family, friends, and fellow Brandeis alumni are great resources to start with! Learn more about finding and connecting with Brandeis alumni through B Connect and LinkedIn.
Volunteering with an organization or a group is also a wonderful way to give a potential new area of interest a test drive. Take small steps every day, allow yourself to experience setbacks, and remember to ask for help. Investment bankers can become chocolatiers! Trust us, it's happened.
By Meridith Apfelbaum
Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron
What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job by Kerry Hannon
Wendy Berliner '95
"I practiced law for 10+ years. Wanting more from my job, I decided to change careers. I’m happily a 'recovering lawyer!'
I’m now the Assistant Director of Camp Matoaka, an overnight, summer camp in Maine. This is literally my dream job! I attended Camp Matoaka for many years as a camper and a counselor (from the age of 10 until the day I went to law school!).
It is hard to walk away from a high-paying, well-respected career, but I was unhappy and Hiatt helped me realize that there were other careers out there.
I took personality tests, etc., and networked galore. Most of all, they counseled me in the traditional sense…they were “therapists” in helping me realize that I was making a good decision for myself and my family."