There inevitably comes a time when you are ready for a change.
PR pros crave excitement and variability. The adrenaline that accompanies tight deadlines and continual change is what has drawn many practitioners to the field. So, what should you do when that desire is drawing you to make a change in your career?
Joyce Domijan, vice president of strategy and program development for Career Arc, has some ideas about how PR pros can set themselves up for a successful new chapter in their professional life.
“My first recommendation to people is always to, basically, sit down and think about what’s most important to you,” she says. “There’re so many possibilities in today’s landscape.”
She also suggests that you stay “open to all kinds of different PR positions, not just getting a new employment gig, but maybe looking at contracting positions and working remotely or building a business of your own.”
Your next step should be defined by your unique set of goals. “Find out what’s most important to you, and then what do you need to do in order to accomplish it,” Domijan says.
The No. 1 thing that holds people back from achieving their full potential—and getting everything they want—is fear.
Domijan says people might be afraid of “giving up the security of what they know and taking what they see as a leap.” She says fear of failure can be a major deterrent to taking the next step in your career journey or leaving a role that you have outgrown.
However, she suggests that this fear can be assuaged through adequate preparation.
“What we usually find is if you can sit down and prepare backups for each of the things that are the biggest fears—not having enough money, not having someone to take care of your kids, or not having someone to take care of a parent—then you’re able to address those concerns before they become a problem.”
She also encourages people considering a career change to heed their inner voice.
“Listen to yourself and what your gut is telling you,” she says. “Many people will talk to friends, family and colleagues, and everybody will give them advice. Often it’s not the same advice.”
She says it’s important to establish your own inner desires clearly and then seek out as much information about the field or role that you are targeting.
“Learn as much as you can about where it is you want to go, the position that you want to seek,” she says. “Network, talk to people within that industry or within that type of position, so you have a clear understanding of what the day-to-day is, and be open to learning new things.”
No looking back
One common misconception for people looking to switch careers or industries, Domijan says, is thinking they have to take a step backward to make the transition.
“Usually it’s about looking at the person’s skills, abilities and talents and presenting those in a way that is attractive to the employer in the new role,” she says.
Usually what drives the desire for change has nothing to do with the person’s capabilities.
“People are either discontent with what they’re doing, bored with what they’re doing, or they just want something new,” Domijan says. “I think people get to a point in their lives about mid-career where their lives have changed, and because of those changes they want other things out of their career as well.”
When you are ready to make a change, doing your homework should be an exhaustive process.
“Usually the first part of the research is exploring your options,” says Domijian. “That might be researching a different job, finding jobs online and then networking with companies that have those types of positions, talking to people who actually work in those roles.”
Once you know where you want to go, you can prepare your résumé to land the position. “The big mistake most people make is they make a résumé historical; they make it about where they’ve been,” says Domijan.
Instead, your résumé should be about where you want to go next.
“It should be drawing from those skills and experiences from the past to present the ones that you are going to use in the future,” Domijan says.