Change Your Career
Without Ever Leaving Your Company

By Kim Hahn

If you’re torn between the desire for new challenges, and the security and satisfaction of where you are, you don’t have to choose. Learn how to make your “old” job into something brand new.  If you’re ready for a new career, don’t sit back and let another minute pass. Chances are the opportunity for change is right under your nose.

Whether your employer is a large conglomerate or a small business, most companies are made up of many different functions. Although the products and services may differ, the art of business is the same. This means that all companies--or at least all successful companies--have an ensemble of employees in various disciplines working together. These disciplines can include sales, marketing, finance and budgeting, strategic planning, product development, operations, web development, human resources, and many more. And even though not all companies have specific departments for each of these tasks, any healthy company has these disciplines being performed at some level. And since no company is ever performing to perfection, there’s always room for improvement. That’s where your opportunity lies.

Don’t shake your head and assume that your employer would rather hire someone from outside with prior experience. There are lots of reasons why it’s preferable to train a current employee in a new role rather than take a chance on a stranger. It takes time and money to recruit and train a new employee, and even once that’s accomplished there’s no guarantee that the new employee will be able to fit in with the style and culture of the corporation. Besides, nothing rings sweeter to a manager than to hear that already valued employees want to add more skills to their tool belt.

Here are nine steps you can take to start fulfilling your dream of career change today.

1. Identify Your Area of Interest: Make a list of your talents, your interests, and the things you like to do, then link this list to the kinds of work you want to perform in a new job. Stumped? Most human resource departments have tests that can assist you in identifying what’s most satisfying to you. Another resource is the Johnson Conner Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. Here you will take a variety of exams and be evaluated on your inherent strengths and weaknesses. Based on the results, the institute will give you a list of different types of careers that you would do well at and find satisfying.

2. Seek Out Someone Who Can Give You More Information: Once you’ve identified the new career that you’d like to pursue, find someone in the company that has responsibility for that area. Invite that person to lunch or for coffee so that you can pick their brains on what it will take for you to make the leap.

3. Let Your Desire to Change Careers Be Known: Spread the word that you’re interested in making a career change within your company. Just putting your wishes out there can start setting possibilities in motion.

4. Seek Out a Mentor: Most successful people love to share their secrets for success and are willing to give advice, make introductions, and assist an up-and-comer in the organization. You can learn a lot from someone who has mastered the career you aspire to. These are the things you can’t learn from books!

5. Network, Network, Network: Meet with as many people as you can within your company to learn about the career you’re interested in, find out about new opportunities that are becoming open, and get your foot in the door. Make friends and ask them to lobby upper management for you.

6. Identify the Skills, Education, or Experience You Need: Take inventory of what you can bring to the table and what new tools you’ll need to acquire. Although you may not have done this particular job before, you most likely have skills and experience that will transfer. As with any career change, you may need to take a few classes or go back to school. Most employers will give you time for this, and often even provide financial support.

7. Determine How to Obtain the Qualifications You Need: There are many ways to get new skills and knowledge, including:

  • On The Job Training/Job Shadowing

  • In-House Classes–many large companies have their own training departments that offer classes in the very things you’d like to learn.

  • Volunteering--You can learn by just being in the environment.

  • Web Classes–online training is cost effective and can be done at your convenience

  • Association Classes–associations in the field you’re interested in may offer lots of training programs

  • Trade School Classes–sometimes all you need is to fill in a class or two. Universities also offer continuing education.

  • A degree or certification–Depending on how dramatic the career change, you may need to get a new degree. But you don’t have to stop working to make this happen. Taking night and weekend classes is one option. And your company may allow you some time off each week to attend school.

8. Develop a Timeline for Making the Change: Be realistic about how much time this change may take. Then sit down and draft out the steps you plan to take, and set goals for yourself. You’ll find that once you get on the path to change it feels almost as good as reaching the destination.

9. Do it Again!

Remember that this career change need not be your last. If you’re like most people, you have many interests and aspire to do and try many things. Life is like a menu and you should sample many choices!

All good managers know that it’s unrealistic to think any employee will stay for eternity, but managers do hope to hold onto their best employees for as long as possible. A good manager will recognize that people need to grow and change. By making a career change within your current company, you’re not only providing yourself with growth opportunities, but you’re also giving your company an employee who is more diversified, skilled, and valuable in the long run. So take steps to realize your own growth, and make your dreams come true.

Read other articles and learn more about Kim Hahn.

[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis. Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and requirements.]

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