How to Move On From a Dead-End Job

US News

You're pretty sure it's time for a new job You've seen the signs. There doesn't seem to be a promotion in your future due to lack of mobility in the organization and the company isn't growing. No one's had a raise in years and come to think of it, you don't even want to take the steps necessary to earn a promotion. Maybe you'l require more training or an advance degree and it's not in the cards for you. Essentially, you're in a dead-end job.

Have you thought beyond your next job to identify if you really should seek a new career? If typical positions in your field have most of the following characteristics, it may be time for a real change:

-- Salaries are too low to provide the income you need to support your desired lifestyle or family.

-- You've always dreamed about doing something different.

-- You work so many hours you don't have time for other important things.

-- Most jobs in your field likely have a negative affect on your health.

It's not unusual for people to become stymied when it's clear the best goal is to identify a new career. Don't get caught up in what seems like an overwhelming task. Changing careers can be challenging, but it doesn't need to be overwhelming. Christy Palfy, a recruiting manager at Progressive Insurance, offers the following tips to get the ball rolling:

1. Consider your passions and interests. Palfy suggests you apply what you like to do outside of work to a career. Maybe one reason you don't enjoy your current job is because it isn't well-suited to your interests and skills. For example, if you like to work by yourself all day, but your job involves talking to people, you'll want to seek a different work environment.

If you really enjoy solving problems, maybe you'll thrive in customer service. Don't rule out opportunities to meld your passions as well as your skills at work. If you're passionate about environmental issues, you may be able to find a great job working for a company that shares your values. Are you a runner or a foodie? Think about companies that focus on topics that really interest you and see what jobs may be a good fit.

2. Don't put yourself in a box. Just because you've worked within one industry doesn't mean you can't apply your experience and skills somewhere else. Dig deep into your experience and identify your transferable skills. Analyze job descriptions that require those skills and be sure you incorporate those skills in your marketing materials, including your online profiles and your résumé.

3. Begin the conversation now. "Don't be timid about your plans," Palfy says. Talk to friends and family and let them know you're looking to transition. If you're not concerned about privacy, consider joining discussion boards and online groups to help you learn more about industries and jobs that interest you. Search LinkedIn for groups and check out Google+ groups. Twitter chats are another great way to connect with people who share your professional interest, too. All of these tools offer the opportunity for you to learn more about a new field or industry and a chance to expand your network and meet people who may be able to help you accomplish your career goals.

4. Articulate your plans. "When someone asks you, 'What do you want to do?,' have your elevator speech ready in case the person may be able to help you," Palfy says. Home in on what you offer as it relates to the person asking. Be sure to incorporate what problem you help solve and how you solve it, and be succinct. You may have heard of the "two-minute elevator pitch," but most people don't have the attention span to listen to you for that long. Consider crafting a 20- to 30-word pitch instead.

5. Consider starting with your current employer. If you're generally happy at your company, but your current job isn't a good fit, perhaps you can identify options to secure an in-house transfer. "Sometimes we don't realize that what we want is right in front of us," Palfy notes. "If you work for a company with various types of roles, you might be able to start a new career simply by changing departments." She suggests you seek mentorship programs, look into job shadowing or talk with your current manager about growth opportunities.

6. Be patient. It may take time to identify and pursue a brand new dream job. Palfy reminds you to "stay focused on your current job while keeping your ultimate goal in mind."

Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, is often quoted in major media outlets for her job search and social media expertise. Author of three books and a sought-after speaker and coach, she leverages her extensive background and successes to teach job seekers and entrepreneurs how to easily use social media marketing to accomplish their career and business goals. Salpeter also provides strategic advice and support regarding interviewing, résumé writing and personal branding.



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