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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Audio: The secret to career change is doing something — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

Audio: The secret to career change is doing something — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

September 8th, 2014

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When you are in the midst of a career change you can become overwhelmed with all the busy work involved. You spend your days scanning advertisements, preparing cover letters and resumes, making phone calls and more. While these activities are certainly important to your job search, I want you to look beyond them to something even more important. After the envelopes are in the mail and the calls returned and the advertisements reviewed I want you to get out and actually “Do” something. I want you to move outside these internal tasks and take some time to engage with the world around you.


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I think that time spent actually “doing” something could be the most productive use of your time, but it is something that all of us dismiss and diminish when we are in the midst of a career change. We become so burdened with the minutiae of our job search that we forget that the world is full of people and experiences. More importantly, it is from these people, these experiences and these interactions that your next job, your next career, might spring. If you ignore this part of your job search (and your life) you are severely limiting your opportunities and might be missing out on a great job, simply because you never went looking for it.

How do you engage in the world in ways that might result in connections, relationships and even jobs? The first step is getting up out of you chair and taking a walk. Most of us have a local coffee shop, restaurant, or other “third place” where people congregate between home and office. (See this Wikipedia article for more information on the concept of a “third place” — ) In my case, I have my choice of places all within easy walking distance. I can visit the artisanal bakery to to the west, the microbrewery to the north, the Starbucks to the East or the major shopping district filled with a dozen places to my south.

Visit your favorite places. Get to know the regulars. Become a regular. Learn what is happening in your local area. You might be surprised at the opportunities that suddenly appear. Maybe a regular is looking for someone with your skills or someone knows of a local business that is looking. You can never tell where your next job opportunity might come from, so spending 30 minutes chatting with people, having a coffee, sipping your tea, might be more productive than you think. Take a half hour out of your day to recharge and engage with the world around you in some small way. It can be useful in so many ways.

The next step is to visit Meetup.com, Facebook, or whatever service you choose and start researching face-to-face gatherings that interest you in your local area. I have been surprised by the explosion of Meetups over the last year on all topics from technical to teaching, from computers to crocheting, from music to money management. While you might find meetups for the specific job or industry where you are looking for a job, don’t dismiss other topics that might interest you. Again, you never know if you next job might come from that meetup about poetry or WordPress, so why not have fun, learn something new and see what happens.

Finally, find online mailing lists, Facebook or LinkedIn groups, Pinterest boards and any other online resources that both interest you and do – or do not – relate to the career you are trying to build. You don’t want to rely solely on these online sources for your interactions, but they can be a great place to meet people from all over the world and experience different attitudes, different knowledge and different personalities. Again, and I can’t say this often enough, you never know what might result.

The most important aspect of all of these examples is doing something different. Sure, you need to do all the standard job search tasks, but you also need to reach beyond those traditional methods, reconnect with the outside world, shake things up and see what happens. Serendipity can be a powerful tool in your job search if you cultivate it. You need to put yourself out there, meet and greet and walk and talk so that serendipity can work and opportunities can find you. So, get out there and give yourself every chance to build the career you deserve.

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