10 Steps To Move On To A Better Career For You

Photo: PKpix/shutterstock
businesswoman in front of building

Knowing how to change careers is valuable. 

We are now at a historic inflection point where many more people are reevaluating how they want to work and what changes are possible. That trend is your friend.

More people are quitting their jobs and looking for other opportunities. Yet, there are more jobs and opportunities to create work available to those who want a transition.

How to change careers and begin the transition to a new and better job

Use platforms and apps such as Indeed, Big Interview, and LinkedIn and learn about certifications by online learning platforms to upskill for jobs and roles that are achievable based on your experience and expertise.

Get a sense of the marketplace of work before you do a deep dive into a transition.

RELATED: How To Find A Career You Love — 5 Steps To Identifying Your Passions & Your Dream Job

Consider your post-graduate (college, graduate school, or professional degrees) work in three stages: 25-35 is career building for expertise and reputation; 35-45 is top-earning capacity and authority; over 45 is the quest for meaning and purpose.

However, these "rules of thumb" have changed since so many more people want flexibility and autonomy to fit their work into their lives.

Meaning, purpose, and well-being are now more sought after at all ages. You can negotiate terms of service and work more today than ever before to suit your needs.

To begin, address the broad questions of, "Where do I fit?" and "How do I add value?"

Here's how to change careers in 10 steps.

1. Be flexible.

Build your experience on what you know but expand your comfort zone in terms of the region, field, or industry.

The same goes for the expertise you use to apply to new activities in the future, as well.

2. List criteria for how you want to work.

Consider what work best suits you:

- More or fewer systems, protocols

- Long-term or short-term projects

- Hierarchy or team-based

- Big division or small groups

- More autonomy and flexibility on schedule and amount of time required for task completion

3. Have an entrepreneurial mindset.

Either take a job or make a job!

Consider working at a large organization or the leading company in an industry, learn the practices, and make human networking contacts. Then, find a niche where you are servicing the company or industry.

Many entrepreneurs successfully launch businesses by obtaining initial contracts with their former employers.

With global exchange platforms such as Amazon, YouTube, and Ali Baba, anyone can start an online business with little or no capital investment.

4. Figure out what you know that has value, so you get paid more.

What discipline do you master? You should master what the marketplace recognizes and values (LinkedIn can guide you to keywords and descriptions).

These are specific skill sets that will help build your perceived value:

Do you know how to create an app?

Do you know how to run a meeting?

Can you take good meeting notes?

Can you apply data to problem-solving and decision-making?

Can you work on multidisciplinary teams and contribute to geographically dispersed work teams?

How good are you in understanding other disciplines, so you can communicate with them? You don't have to do their job, but you have to understand enough of what they do to be able to be a valuable player.

How well can you work with AI and cloud-based platform tools such as salesforce.com Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Amazon Web Services, Google Analytics, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Bluemix?

Those interconnected platforms are going to be valuable for your future.

If you know how to use platforms and you know how to work with geographically dispersed workers, you will be in demand, because that's how future work is going to happen.

5. Learn how to collaborate with others.

Learn to compete to collaborate so you're a valued team member. Other people can bring you into their organizations and teams. This is a very important part of the search.

If you don't already know, then consider these questions:

How do you learn to share success?

How do you learn to share credit?

How do you learn to be a good helper?

Can you follow directions?

Be prepared to share your experiences that illustrate these strengths.

RELATED: How To Use Your Authentic Self To Boost Your Career, According To A Career Coach

6. Work on your communication skills.

Can you honestly answer these questions?

How good are your listening skills?

Can you manage defensiveness?

Can you give and receive signals and "read" people and events with insight?

Can you critique and take critiques in a positive, constructive way?

Do you know when to ask questions?

If you do not know what you are supposed to be doing, do you know how to ask for help?

How do others experience you?

How do you interpret others?

How you show up, interpret, or maybe misinterpret what's going on will be instrumental to determine what's going to happen for you and what's going to happen to you.

7. Set practical guidelines for your job search.

Look for opportunities to work on projects that build your experience and skillsets. Short-term or limited-time projects are good. Virtual and hybrid work is here to stay.

Be agile for different roles and opportunities that can be pursued simultaneously. Many people do part-time work while launching their own business.

Use this next year to build experiences and skill sets that can increase your market value.

Pursue badging and certification for micro-skills that will make you more valuable, such as Google Certification for education, Salesforce Trailhead for customer relationship management, PRI certification for project management, and more.

8. Use different platforms to look for a job.

Expand your search and find multiple opportunities. Check out Flexjobs, LinkedIn, Monster, and more.

9. Join online communities that share your interests.

This will help you expand your circles and enable others with shared interests to open doors for opportunity. Understand interviewing for online collaborative work — that will be where opportunity is most plentiful.

Ask intelligent questions and make informed comments, so your most significant champions will connect with you and help you on your way.

You can also check out the specifications on job boards and see if there are experiences or skills you need to hone or feature to be more attractive to potential employers.

10. Build your list of recommendations.

This needs to be from reputable people who can vouch for your abilities and experience. Be prepared with research and good questions for interviews and queries. Recommendations matter.

Personal characteristics count for more than functional requirements; your grit, likeability, and team value should be featured, presuming you match the criteria for job requirements.

Here's a checklist for your LinkedIn profile before you begin your search:

Did you incorporate the language that describes your aptitudes?

Can you articulate a clear focus for your career?

Did you describe skills sets that highlight the value of your own experience?

Did you list your previous work and accomplishments to match items one and two?

Did you upload a video that presents who you are in an informative, engaging, focused, and likable way?

Did you get endorsements of your skills and recommendations that support your description of yourself from credible bosses, colleagues, teachers, and others?

Did you reach out and receive LinkedIn acceptances to provide a wider network?

Did you list organizations and community interest groups that you have joined or affiliated with within your chosen field?

Have you uploaded your CV to describe your work and accomplishments?

Does your LinkedIn photo (please smile and look friendly) and copy look and read professional (no grammar and spelling errors, short and sweet)?

And finally, ask yourself what you would really like to do if you were not afraid.

If you're clear about how you want your work to reward you, the kinds of people you would like to work with, and the purpose or passion you share, then others will open doors for you to walk through.

You have more degrees of freedom to change your current work and seek new challenges than you may have imagined. Now is the time to begin learning how to change careers and find a more fulfilling life for you.

RELATED: A Personality Test That Reveals What Career Path You Should Take

Jeff Saperstein is a career transition coach. For more information on how he can help you land your dream job, visit his website.