February 18, 2021 Fabienne Revillard

Career Reorientation and Career Choices: Practical Advice

Desire for a professional change? How do you know where to start?

You've been wanting to change jobs for a while. Are you thinking about a career change? But the questions are many and they pile up in your head until they become a mountain as soon as you start thinking seriously about it.

You would like to find more meaning in what you are doing, you would like to retrain, but you have no idea what you are doing...
Or you are convinced that you want to change, then a particularly busy period occurs in your current position that leaves you no time to devote to your efforts.
And this lasts... a month, two months... And you tell yourself that finally you are not so bad and stop your research. Until the next problem...
Or your current professional situation drains you so much energy that you can't even get down to work on your CV in your spare time?

If you find yourself in one of these cases, rest assured, you are by no means alone.

Here are some practical tips that can help you get started on this career transition.

Focusing on what you want


When we find ourselves in a situation that no longer suits us, most of us have the unfortunate habit of focusing on what we no longer want, e.g., "I don't want to be in a situation where I don't want to be in a situation where I don't want to be in a situation where I don't want to be in a situation where I don't want to be:

Being underpaid in relation to our responsibilities, deleterious professional relationships, unmotivating tasks, continuous overload, under-use of our skills, lack of alignment with the company's values

Now the first practical tip is to make a 180° turn and start a list of everything you want. If you don't really have a detailed idea, start with the most general:

Feeling good, full of energy. Have colleagues with whom you are at ease, efficient in the conduct of your projects, even stimulated. To be remunerated at your fair value, to contribute at the height of your skills. Being proud of your achievements, getting up in the morning and telling yourself it's really worth it...

You can also include anything you like to do professionally. Observe yourself at work: what tasks do you like to do? The ones that feed you, the ones for which you don't see time passing?

Also ask yourself about your life aspirations. If you were completely free, how would you like to live?

Think about who you are, what has always been important to you. If you had a life mission, what would it be? If you had to accomplish something on this earth, big or small, depending on the particular person you are, what would it be?

Also think about the working environments that are most favourable for you, SMEs, multinationals, start-ups, entrepreneurship, the professions. Which sectors of activity motivate you the most? You can even go into concrete terms: working hours, distance from home, part-time work, number of journeys...

Don't think at this stage about impossibilities, the idea is to open your mind to everything, even to things that seem totally out of reach.

Take stock of your skills, your successes

Change of job

If you've never done a skills assessment before, this is a good opportunity to start one.
Indeed, a skills assessment not only has the advantage of creating an awareness of all your abilities, including non-professional ones, but also strongly reinforces self-confidence and self-esteem. The identification of your non-professional qualities is essential in a reconversion project in particular.

In addition, most skills assessments include personality tests that shed useful light on what works best for you. They also offer ideas for new career paths. They are also very useful at the beginning of your career when you are wondering about different career directions.

If you have already carried out a skills assessment in the past, it is usually sufficient to complete it.

A skills assessment also allows you to take stock of your successes. Caught up in our daily professional reality, it is quite rare that we take our heads out of the handlebars enough to list our successes. It's a good opportunity to do so, because it solidifies confidence and self-esteem, two essential elements to change jobs.

Identify opportunities

You have summarized your skills and abilities and defined a little better what you want, as well as your motivations. Now it's time to take into account the obstacles, constraints, the job market and identify the different opportunities available to you. Do not include this step early in the process, as you risk missing out on beneficial ideas by closing the doors too quickly.

Also keep in mind that a professional evolution is not only achieved by reorientation or by changing jobs.
You can evolve towards more responsibility in a higher position, but also by taking over the same position in a larger company.

You can also evolve in the same position, or even in a lower position, but in a field much closer to what makes sense for you.
Making a career today does not necessarily mean the same as in the past, where a "man" (referring to the career progression of women in the past, which has improved a lot today) started in a junior position in the company, ended up as a director of the same company, after having climbed up the ladder over the years.

To be successful in your career today includes growing, possibly changing your career path several times, even learning new jobs and taking pride in what you have achieved. This is measured more in terms of life experience than in a linear progression on a CV.

You can then identify different professional projects in the short, medium and long term. This is useful if you have discovered, for example, that your professional vocation requires a new education. You can consider this over the medium to long term, the time it takes to complete the training in question. You may also decide to set money aside to make this career transition comfortably.

In the short term it may only be a matter of changing employers, in order to regain a positive enough working atmosphere to leave you energy to build your future professional project.

At this stage, if you decide to change direction, draw up a conversion plan. Include your different professional steps, budgeting and marking them out over time.

Taking action

Career Reorientation

Once you've defined your next step, it's time to take action.

Take the time to carefully establish the way you will communicate about yourself, to refine your "self-marketing", your "personal branding".

Establish a communication plan targeted to what you are looking for as a position and include it in your application file (CV, cover letter), as well as on your LinkedIn profile.

Whether for recruiters, recruitment agencies, to respond to job offers or to make unsolicited applications, a communication plan is generally extremely effective.

It is also very useful in order to divert the trap questions in a job interview in your favour.

Also check out the job postings on LinkedIn or on the various job sites regularly to get ideas for other professions.

Finally, think about developing your own storytelling to make your networking much more interesting and efficient.

Don't hesitate to call on a professional, whether it be for the complete process or simply for the job search.
He or she can help you, guide you, boost your motivation and generally make the process more attractive and less daunting.

In conclusion, you are going to spend a lot of time (a few years anyway, probably) in your new professional position. It is therefore worth investing the necessary time to think carefully about it.

Career change

For more information, contact Fabienne Revillard