Tips For A Major Career Change
As an athlete, planning for a life after the game is usually the last thing on your mind because you feel as if you can play forever. The harsh reality for athletes of any sport is that one day, your playing career will come to an end and you’ll have to figure out what to do next.
There are certainly exceptions to this rule, as some players seem to be ageless and maintain high levels of effectiveness for decades. Forty-five year-old kicker Adam Vinatieri recently signed another contract with the Indianapolis Colts to come back for a 23rd NFL season. He has played in 337 career games, good for fifth all-time in the NFL. This is a remarkable feat, considering the average playing career for a NFL player is about 3.3 years (the league is referred to as the “Not For Long” League for a reason). An even crazier stat is that Vinatieri, who will be 46 at the end of the 2018 NFL season, has been in the league since before some 2018 NFL Draft prospects were even born.
For the vast majority of athletes, and non-athletes alike for that manner, a major career change is likely in your future. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average worker will have 10 jobs before he or she turns 40, which means that you’re likely switching jobs every two years or so. Our friends over at NexGoal recently published an article titled “Resume Tips For A Career Change” for those who need a change of pace and are ready to take the step towards a new job or career so they need their resume to reflect that. It is certainly applicable to the VIKTRE Career Network audience as well, especially for former athletes looking for a second career, so we wanted to share it with you.
Whatever category you fall into (transitioning athlete looking for a new career or business professional looking for a change of pace), deciding that you’re ready for a new career is a daunting experience. Maybe you’ve been working for a few years and decided that you want to pursue a passion project and be your own boss (check out these entrepreneurial tips), or you realized that your professional playing career is winding down and realized that you need to develop a back-up plan, everyone could use some guidance with this decision.
In an article for HRM, Managing Director – Executive Coaching at Verity International, Jeff Welton, provided his five top tips for those thinking about making this step. To read the full article, click here.
Take Stock In Yourself
What is it that you want to do? What are you interested in? If you’re a transitioning athlete, your sport has likely taken up the majority of your time and life up until this point, so it is important to figure out what you value outside of that. Once you do this, you can figure out a plan of action for how you plan on breaking into a new industry.
If you’ve been in the workforce for a while and are thinking about making a change, you also need to do a self-assessment of sorts to figure out what you want in a new job or career. According to Welton, “I’ve done many assessments, myself, and simply by reflecting on your career goals posts, such as knowing what I want and what I don’t want, my strengths and my opportunities, and then truly understanding what is important to you, helps in situating where you want to go from there.”
Where Do You Want To Work?
Is there a company that you’ve always wanted to work for and it finally has an opening? Now is the time to apply and give it a shot. Or maybe you had a realization that you want to be in a different industry. After you have an idea of what type of company you want to work for and what you’d like to be doing, now is the time to narrow the scope.
“Once you have a better understanding about who you are and what you want to be doing, then you can begin to explore which sectors and industries you want to gravitate toward. Have an open mind, do your research and then stay razor focused on those organizations you want to pursue,” said Welton.
Enhancing Your Brand.
If you’ve read previous articles on the VIKTRE Career Network, chances are you’ve seen “personal branding” a few times. In the age of social media, personal branding has become crucial. One lapse of judgment could damage your reputation in the blink of an eye, so managing your online presence has become extremely important in both the job search and otherwise.
How will you tell your story (your brand)? Is it consistent with your resume and LinkedIn profile? Think about ways to further develop your brand, but also how you can pitch yourself to future employers.
“Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance” rings true with this tip. The job search can be a job in and of itself and requires a ton of planning. You have to get ready to research various opportunities, apply to many jobs and ultimately interview well. Welton mentions “you have to be prepared to sell yourself and sell yourself well.” However, when you interview with a company, not only is it an interview for the employer, but also for you to figure out whether or not you could see yourself working there. That said, the interview is the time to sell yourself, so you need to be prepared in order to perform well.
Network, Network, Network.
Some people shudder at the thought of networking, but it is a very important part of your career development. You can network in various ways: going to an event, conducting informational interviews, or even introducing yourself to strangers. While progressing through your career you are going to meet tons of people along the way. You might not realize it, but you are almost always networking in some way.
Whether you are an athlete nearing the end of your playing career and thinking about a life after the game, or you’ve been in the workforce and want to make a career change, these five tips are a great place to start the process.