Striking a Friendly Balance at Work

Work is a great place to make good friends. In fact, having at least one good friend at work is pretty much required in order for us to enjoy our jobs. Friends also make us more productive. What’s more, having a good work friend also may be critical to succeeding in our careers.

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But it can be tricky, this whole “friends at work” thing: be too social and you risk earning a reputation of being a party animal. You want instead to be seen as professional and hard working.

Yet you risk taking that professionalism too far: you could be seen as a cold fish and unapproachable.

Take a look below for how to make good friends at work while keeping your reputation for professionalism intact.

  • Choose your friends wisely.

This goes without saying, but this can be tricky to do. For example, let’s say you’re the new gal and one of your new colleagues immediately asks you to lunch. You say yes and then at lunch he regales you with all the gossip and fills you in on all the drama. Or he whines and complains about your boss.

That could be a warning sign that this person is all about drama, gossip and not taking responsibility. Our advice? Be friendly, but be careful: you may want to keep your distance because while we bring our personalities and personal lives to work, work is for work not for drama, gossip and whining.

  • Be careful what you say about others.

If you gossip about others, sooner or later you will be known as someone who gossips. If you whine, you’ll be “the whiner.” If you talk too much about how a girlfriend wronged you, you’ll eventually be known as a drama king or queen.

  • If you go out with friends after work, you’re still “at work.”

What we mean is that you shouldn’t try go completely loose. What you do and say “with the gang” very well could get back to your supervisor. Relax and be friendly, but if people start to complain, whine, moan and gossip, pull back. You don’t have to leave, just don’t participate.

In a nutshell: be friendly and approachable. Ask colleagues to have lunch together or take a break. Ask questions (personal but not intrusive). Answer questions truthfully but remember: be careful what you say to others until you know for certain they’re trustworthy.

Reading the above it appears as if we believe you should make “friends” at work who aren’t really friends. After all, we’re advocating keeping your personal conversations close to the chest and not overtly personal, yet the only way to become real friends with others is by being vulnerable and open.

But if you do find one or two people with whom you just “click” and feel they are trustworthy (they don’t gossip, whine, complain and create drama), you can test the waters and open up more to them. See if they reciprocate and, if you tell them something personal, watch to see how they handle it. If they prove themselves to you, these are the colleagues who can become good friends. Close friends. Friends outside of work. Lifetime friends.

Ready to make some new friends in a new job? Contact Helpmates. We have many temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job and career opportunities waiting for reliable and talented people just like you. Check out our current openings and, if one or more look interesting, contact us.

Congratulations on Graduating! Now Get to Work!

Graduation was mere weeks ago. Congratulations on your accomplishments and – if you’ve found one – starting your new “real job.”

Your campus’ career center and/or family and friends may have given you lots of great advice and guidance when it came to finding that job, but how many of these folks told you what it’s really like to work in the “real world”? Not too many, probably, since your and their main focus was on finding a job.

But now it’s just a few days since you started – or will start. Here are two tips to help you thrive in today’s workplace.

Orange County entry-level jobs

  1. It’s called work for a reason.

Sure, you’ve no doubt heard that phrase before. And that’s because it’s true. You will have to show up on time, dressed appropriately, take 30- or 60-minute lunch break (and only 30 or 60 minutes), do just about everything your boss asks you to do (even if it’s not in your job description), get along with coworkers who may come from extremely different personalities and backgrounds/world views than you do, and deal with the public in some form. Plus you have to provide value to your employer: it’s not about your needs and career dreams, it’s about your employer’s goals. Remember that (and help your employer meet those goals) and your employer will help you meet yours.

Here’s an example of what not to do/attitude to take (and it’s a true story): A young woman fresh out of college had been in her new job about six months. She lived near the office and often went home for lunch.

One day she didn’t come back until 2:30 p.m., telling her boss she ended up taking a nap and overslept. Her boss said that was unacceptable behavior and she needed to be back “on time.” “Pay me more,” she said, “and I’ll be sure to be back on time.”

Needless to say, she was able to go home immediately to continue that nap.

  1. Try to learn as much as possible about the company’s goals and challenges.

Continuing on with the “help your employer meet his goals” strategy, understand that the best employees always want to know more about their employer’s company, long-term plans, etc. They are eager to learn new things (take your employer up on workshops, seminars, certification program offers, etc.) and they volunteer to work on projects and tasks not in their job description.

That said, here’s another caveat and another true story: Make sure you volunteer for more only if it doesn’t interfere with what you were hired to do. Don’t, in other words, be the young man who asked his boss if he could do XYZ in addition to his ABC duties. The boss said yes and the young man did the extra work well, but neglected the work for which he was hired, the work his boss needed done. His boss ended up firing him.

This is an exciting time for you: the workplace is a new world and you’re eager to make your mark within it. You will find roadblocks on your way and you may find yourself taking two steps back in order to move one step forward. That’s OK and par for the course. Learn from your mistakes. Never give up. Help others. Be of value. Ask for mentors. Take on challenges and risks. Never become complacent. Thrive!

If you’re looking for a job out of college or high school, contact the Helpmates office nearest you. You can also take a look at our current job and career opportunities. Welcome to the workplace and much good luck to you!

Job Search Strategies for Over-50 Job Seekers

It’s sad and, unfortunately, true: even in this hot, hot, hot candidates’ market, it can still take people 40- and 50-plus a long time to find work, especially if they’ve been laid off or out of the workforce for a few years going back to school,  raising a family or taking care of an ailing loved one.

It can feel as if employers have all the power. After all, they hold the job you want and age discrimination laws or no age discrimination laws, they decide which candidate they will choose for the job (and it could well be someone over 50, just not you).

over-50 jobs Los Angeles

So unless you decide to become self-employed, you’re going to need to come well prepared as you approach your job search. Here are six strategies to help you level the playing field more in your favor.

  1. Ditch the dates.

You don’t really need to put dates on your resume.  (For example: Assistant Director, XYZ Services, 1992-1997.) If you feel you must, go back and list employers no more than from 15 years ago.

  1. Create a functional resume.

Most people use a chronological resume, with their most recent jobs showcased at the beginning of the document. Instead, highlight your key accomplishments and skills at the top of the resume, then follow with an abbreviated list of prior jobs.

  1. Highlight accomplishments rather than responsibilities.

Employers hire people who can do the job. What have you accomplished that show you can do the job?

  • Promoted to branch manager within six months of being hired.
  • Cold called 100 businesses each week, in person (not by phone).
  • Closed $10 million in new accounts in three years. (This one should be prominent!)
  1. Highlight your technical skills.

Employers too often erroneously believe older workers may not be “up” on the latest technologies. Disabuse them of this early by listing up-to-minute technical skills in your cover letter and during the job interview.

  1. Be flexible.

Understand that you may not be able to get a job at the same pay/responsibility level if you’ve been out of work for a while and/or laid off. Let the employer know that you understand that the company isn’t there to fulfill your career aspirations; you’re there help the business succeed and you’re eager to get started and prove your worth in a position that may be at a lower responsibility level than what you’re used to. It’s more than fine to mention that once you have proven yourself, you would enjoy talking to the hiring manager about opportunities for advancement.

  1. Look for work at companies that say they hire people older than 50.

Some companies encourage older workers specifically to apply to work for them. SimplyHired.com, for example, allows companies to specify “people over 50.” Use that search term, plus the city you’re interested in and see what pops up. You also can try Workforce50.com.

Be aware, however: one woman “test drove” those sites and found that searching on them provided “no real advantage” than searching on sites such as LinkedIn and Monster.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career, you took some time off for a valid reason, you’ve been laid off, or you’re a seasoned professional, Helpmates can help you find work! We have dozens of temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. Check them out and contact us today!

3 Ways New Grads Can Advance Their Job Search

Many new college – and even high school – graduates haven’t yet lined up “real” jobs and, if this is you, you may have started to panic, especially if several of your friends already have jobs lined up. (“Everyone is telling me it’s a great job market out there, so what’s wrong with me?”)

There’s nothing wrong. Your friends may have gotten lucky. In fact, chances are great that your friends with jobs landed them via their network. In other words, they knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who got them an “in.”

college  grad jobs Los Angeles

That “in” can be yours, too, but it’s going to take some work and, more importantly, you’re definitely going to have to move considerably out of your comfort zone. As in calling friends and even strangers, asking for informational interviews, approaching companies that don’t have job openings (simply because you want to work there), actually asking for a job (at the job interview), and more.

But, seriously: you can do this. Really. You can! Everyone who has a job had to feel nervous at some point in their search and some more than others. If they could do it, so can you! Believe it!

So, with that in mind, here are three ways new grads can advance their job search….and get a job quickly!

  1. Talk to people! And that includes picking up the phone and calling – or emailing – strangers!

As mentioned above, this is the meat of any job search, and most likely the part of a job hunt that makes most people really nervous. Really, really, really nervous. So nervous that they refuse to do it, and instead head to the job boards, fill out applications and hit send.

And then…. Crickets.

But here’s a secret: you’re young. You’re just starting out. People LOVE to help graduates just starting out! They really do. Why? For several reasons:

  • They remember how nervous they were and understand how you’re feeling.
  • It makes them feel good because they get to bestow their wisdom and experience on you. You’re looking up to them for advice and help and that strokes their ego. That’s not a bad thing: we all need validation and – whoo, boy! – does a young person listening intently to your advice validate you!
  • People just want to help.

So take advantage of this and reach out to friends and even strangers. We explain how below.

  1. Research the companies to which you want to apply before contacting.

We’ve talked a lot about the right way to job hunt before, so we’re not going to go into a ton of detail here. But picking up the phone or powering up the laptop/tablet/smartphone and sending an email (do not text at this stage!) is exceptionally effective when it comes to not only finding a job quickly, but finding a great job quickly!

So decide what type of work you want, look at the companies at which you’d like to work, and do some research to find the name of the person who can hire you in the department. Call or email that person. For example, if you want to work in marketing, that would be the director of marketing. If you’re looking for an entry-level position in finance, that would be the finance director, CFO or assistant director of finance. Don’t be afraid to contact people in the C-suite. They had to start at the bottom, too, and they very well may really admire your chutzpah. Remember: boldness leads to success in the job hunt!

  1. Revamp your LinkedIn profile.

Get a professional, business-like photo of yourself and use it on your profile. Study some websites that help you create a good profile (here’s one and here’s one specifically for new grads).

Once you revamp your profile, ask some business people you know to look it over. Check for typos and misspellings. And don’t be afraid to update it as you job hunt: you may find your search is going in a different direction than you had first thought and your profile should make sure it highlights your skills and background that best fit where you want to go.

Here’s a fella who trains people in how to use LinkedIn for sales. You’re selling yourself as an employee and his techniques definitely are applicable to the job search. He does have terrific free information.  Use his strategies to reach out to potential hiring managers on LinkedIn.

The smart thing to do is to look at looking for a job as if it’s your job. In other words, take some time off after graduation, but don’t take it easy: look for work!

Another great way for new grads to find terrific jobs is to sign up with a staffing firm such as Helpmates. Many of our assignments are direct-hire or temp-to-hire. Even temporary assignments often turn into full-time, regular work. Take a look at our current opportunities and good luck with your hunt!

How to Really Stand Out in a Sea of New Graduates

High schools and colleges soon will be holding Commencement exercise for the Class of 2018 and thousands upon thousands of graduating seniors will be looking for work.

If you will be one of them, here’s a question: with so many graduates flooding the market at the same time, how are you going to make sure you catch the attention of employers?

Here are some strategies you can try. Take a look below.

entry level jobs los angeles

  1. Don’t take some time off; look for work NOW.

If you don’t already have a job lined up, understand that this isn’t really your summer vacation: you’re an adult now and it’s time to do adult things, such as finding gainful employment.

Many high school and college seniors have jobs lined up already. If you don’t, you need to get your hustle on. Now! Because the longer you wait, the less attractive you become to an employer (“So you’ve been sitting on the beach all summer? Nice tan! Do anything productive? No? Not a lot of initiative on your part. Next!”)

  1. Start talking to people.

That’s right. Start finding people who can help you find work and go out there and let them know you’re looking! Yes, you can browse the job boards and apply there, but if all you do is hit send on applications, you’re not hustling: you’re sitting at the smartphone/tablet/computer and hitting send (it’s as if you’re playing a really boring video game).

  1. Don’t be afraid to approach the companies at which you want to work, even if they’re “not hiring” right now.

Yes, going to an employer or hiring manager and saying (basically) “Here I am. You should hire me for such and such because I have this skill and that skill and another skill.” Seriously: doing so shows drive and boldness.

Besides, you’re young. You’ll look assertive in a good way. (And if they reject you because of this? Believe us; you don’t want to work for a person/company that thinks being assertive is a bad thing!)

Actually, you don’t have to approach a hiring manager and ask for work. You could approach her and ask for information. As in “I’m interested in the XYZ industry as a career. I just graduated high school/college and I have these skills and this experience. Could I take 30 minutes of your time so that I can learn more about what people in your position look for in job candidates?

Hint: People with a few career years under their belt LOVE to help people just getting started. They do! Who doesn’t like to look smart and successful and give advice to ears eager to hear Every. Word. You. Say? Nobody, that’s who! So long as you’re polite and respectful of the person’s time, chances are great that she will be happy to talk to you.

(Another tip: make sure to approach people who actually could hire you; don’t go to the human resources department because the folks there screen applicants and they don’t actually make hiring decisions.)

Once your meeting is over, ask if there’s anyone the person recommends you should approach next. And while it won’t happen every time, the person may say there’s a job opening right now. NOW!!! And do you have a resume you could send her?

  1. Speaking of your resume, tweak it for EVERY job for which you apply.

“Ugh,” we can hear you saying. “EVERY job? That’s a lot of work!” That’s right, it is. But no two jobs are alike. They may have the same title and be in the same industry, but each hiring manager’s needs will be slightly different so you should change the resume for each job description, highlighting the things in your background (skills, education, experience) that speak to those needs (without lying about your skills, education, experience).

Your post-college/high school life lies before you. Go out there and get it!

Helpmates can help you. Take a look at our current job opportunities to see if one or more of our temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire openings look interesting and, if so, apply as instructed. If you’d like to make an appointment for an interview, contact the Helpmates branch location nearest you.

Why Preparation is 80 Percent of Career Success

You’ve no doubt heard the saying that 80 percent of your accomplishments comes from 20 percent of your efforts. This is known as the Pareto Principle (which actually states that 80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes).

(You also may have noticed that 20 percent of your colleagues do 80 percent of the work, but that’s a topic for another blog post. Career tip: you want to be among that 20 percent!)

Yet when it comes to career success, it’s a bit flip-flopped: Your success is due to about 80 percent preparation and 20 percent work.

Let us explain:

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Let’s say you want to paint a room. You see yourself taking a paint roller to a large wall. But what comes before you grab a roller? Prep work! As in cleaning the wall (if necessary). Maybe even sanding it. Certainly putting painters’ tape along the edges to protect the trim and/or carpet. And don’t forget to place drop cloths on the floor, move the furniture away from the wall, and take off pictures, mirrors and light fixtures.

That’s a lot of work! And you haven’t even started putting paint on the walls yet!

But if you don’t prepare well you’ll discover paint drops on the carpet/floor, furniture, on the wall where you don’t want it, and so on. Your paint job will be something of a failure. All because you rushed into it and just wanted to “get ‘er done!”

Career success is the same: Rush around slapdash, trying this and that without doing the prep work and it’s a sure path to…mediocrity

Let’s say you need to give a presentation. It’s in front of your colleagues and supervisor. People you know well. So you don’t prepare and decide to wing it.

You didn’t practice, so you get nervous and mumble. A colleague asks a question and you give the answer you thought was correct only to have someone else correct you.

How impressed is your boss going to be? Do you think she’s going to ask you to lead an initiative any time soon? Will she trust that you know what you’re doing when you suggest a certain tactic?

You know the answer. And all could have been avoided if you took the time – yes, the tedious, two-afternoons-consuming time-in-addition-to-ALL-the-OTHER-things-you-need-to-do – to prepare for your presentation.

In other words, a successful project or task often results from work you do before tackling the task. Work that’s often a LOT of preparation, and it’s often 80 percent of all the time you’re going to spend on the task. Actually doing the task itself takes about 20 percent of your time.

So keep this in mind: 80 percent of any success you’ll have in your career will be taken up with preparation work. Often not “fun” work either. The “glory” and the fun makes up just 20 percent.

Ready for a new opportunity in the Los Angeles/Orange County region? Helpmates is hiring! Then check out our job board and see if one or more positions listed there appeals to you.

How to Keep Learning When You Have No Time for an Education

Your life is….busy! Really busy: you work 40-plus hours a week, you have a spouse who also works full-time, you have two school-aged children (or maybe their teens and so you want to keep a close eye on them). You want to eat right and exercise. You’d like some semblance of a social life.

Irvine careers

And yet you read all the time about how absolutely critical lifelong learning is to success in a career today. Snooze – as in don’t keep learning new skills – and you’ll lose, big time.

But, then again, you are BUSY! Where will you find the time?

Here are some ideas (and they don’t involve “watch less TV/Hulu dramas and just see your calendar open up!”).

  1. In fact, fire up the laptop and get thee to YouTube!

With 300 hours of video loaded up to YouTube every hour, you’re sure to find videos that will help you learn “good stuff” applicable for your career. From learning Excel to learning quantum physics, there’s a YouTube video on it. Yes, there will be no certification awarded, but then there are not tests, either.

  1. Get your training during work hours.

Hello, work-related conferences, seminars and training sessions! Many employers send employees to seminars and conferences. Others bring trainers to the work site. You can even watch a training video during specified hours at work. (No need to worry about watching a video on your own time at all!) And, because it’s employer-sponsored, these types of continuous learning opportunities often take place during your regular working hours.

In other words, sign up for any and all educational conferences and seminars your employer will allow!

  1. Take a course while driving to work or working out at the gym.

Purchase audio books and/or audio courses. Don’t forget podcasts and even such spots as Apple Music. You’ll be amazed at the things you can learn in this way

  1. Take an online course.

Many colleges offer academic credits/certification for courses taken online. Yes, you’ll probably have to dig and “find the time” out of your already full schedule to do so. But you can do so while at home.  Meaning your kids probably will be there so you can keep an eye on them, you won’t have to drive to campus and then home after (saving time) and you could potentially do them on weekends (again, being at home with your family).

You also can sign up for online classes at such websites as Udemy.com. (All Udemy courses provide a certificate of completion once you successfully finish a course.)

Now is a terrific time to look for a new career opportunity with Helpmates. Our clients are hungry for great people for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Check out our current job openings and if one or more piques your interest, follow the instructions to apply!

Why Bragging Can Be a Very Good Thing for Your Career

Many of us – especially the many of us that are women – are told that bragging is rude and self-centered. It’s. Not. Something.  Polite. People. Do.

But if you want to get ahead in your career, your business, even your personal life, “strategic” braggadocio can be a very good thing. Here’s why.

  • Told as a statement of fact (“I just landed a $500,000 per year client for my employer”), it makes you look confident and a problem solver/go-getter.

When you do something awesome, what’s wrong with telling others about it? Nothing! In fact, if you don’t tell your boss about the great things you’re doing for him/her, who will? And how will you get that promotion you’ve had your eye on if your supervisor(s) don’t know about your accomplishments? Answer: you won’t!Cerritos employment

Bosses are busy people and they have their own challenges and goals on which they are focused. Sure, they might congratulate you on a job well done. (In fact, they better be, by golly, or they’ll soon find that their employees will be leaving for more appreciative employers.)

It’s a good idea to keep a list of your accomplishments so that when you discuss your performance with your supervisor, you bring them up. In fact, consider sending your boss a list of your accomplishments quarterly, so that he/she is kept apprised of your value.

  • Speaking up helps showcase you as a leader.

Seriously, how many great leaders do you know who don’t, from time to time, remind others of what they’ve accomplished?

U.S. Presidents formally do it once a year in their State of the Union address; CEOs do so as well. So why can’t you?

Remember, stating accomplishments should be said as a point of fact, not in a bragging tone. Stating your achievements in this way showcases you as someone with self- confidence and leaders have self-confidence.

  • The fact that you’re not afraid to speak well of yourself when warranted can help others speak up about their own legitimate successes.

Isn’t the fact that society frowns on our “bragging,” really a way of making sure we don’t realize our full potential? If we were to discuss and celebrate our accomplishments and what’s going well in our lives – particularly  if we also mention some of the risks we took to make those accomplishments – wouldn’t that then encourage others to take some risks and reap the rewards?

We think so. So with that in mind, here’s a bit of statement-of-fact speaking for ourselves: Helpmates once again won two of the top awards available in the staffing industry, Inavero’s “Best of Staffing.” And this is our ninth year being honored in this way!

So, tell us here: what are accomplishment are you most proud of? And if it has to do with something you did at work, and if you’re interested in finding new work, take a look at our current opportunities and apply!

You Don’t Need a College Degree to Have a Great Career

Do you think that those with “careers” (those types of professional occupations with high salaries and the prestige that can go with them) are just for those with a college degree? This is so untrue, it’s laughable!

Take a look below for the reasons why you don’t need a college degree (not even a two-year associate’s degree) to have a great career, as well a few types you may want to consider.

College is expensive. By 2012 the cost of going to college had risen 12 fold from 1978 (and has continued to increase in the last six years) while the average hourly wage had increased by just under 400 percent between 1978 and 2012 and consumer prices increased a bit more than 400 percent in that time frame.Los Angeles careers

The average college student graduated in 2016 with $37,172 in student debt, a six percent increase from 2015. And that’s just the average! Stories such as the woman with $152,000 in student debt (includes a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees) aren’t uncommon, either.

In addition, not everyone wants to go to college or would be a good fit for college.

If that’s you, there are terrific alternatives to college, alternatives that pay well and can bring you and your family a terrific way of life.

Self-employment/Business Ownership

Some people with “just” a high school diploma start businesses. Perhaps they take their mowing and yard work skills (honed by working summers for a landscaping company in high school and then later working for a landscaping firm in their 20s) and start their own landscaping business. (Which eventually allowed them to retire early.) Perhaps they take the money their parents saved for college tuition and open a bakery*.

The point is that entrepreneurship can be the ticket to financial and career success. In fact, “can be” isn’t enough: entrepreneurship is the ticket to a fine future for many non-college grads. (There are a few things you do need, however.)

Sales

Sales professionals can make a terrific income: how does $150,000 a year sound? You don’t need anything beyond a high school diploma (and perhaps not even that). You do need to be able to approach and talk to people easily and, most importantly, listen to them closely. You also need the proverbial “thick skin,” as you’ll hear no far more than you’ll hear yes.

You also may want to take a few business/marketing classes and even sales trainings, -possibly through your employer (they often will pay for sales training).

Another great thing about working in sales: when companies need to lay people off, the sales folks usually are the last to go. After all, they are the ones that bring income to a company.

Real Estate

Sell homes and commercial buildings and you can make an extremely great living for yourself, so long as you work in the high end/luxury arm of the industry. Most full-time (working 60-plus hours a week) real estate agents made $87,000 (article written in 2014).

Yet it’s definitely possible to make $100,000-plus in a few years of persistent hustle. You will need to spend a few hundred dollars up front on certification and licensing, and you’ll also have to spend money on marketing your services before you ever see a commission check.

But so long as you continually study real estate, study your market, hone your people and sales skills, learn how to market yourself and properties like the extremely hard worker you are, there’s absolutely no need to worry about going to college.

Working in Staffing (Internal Staff Member)

While the staffing industry likes to see some post-secondary coursework in its recruiters and sales professionals, it’s not absolutely necessary.  Instead we prefer to see compassion, some talent in sales, an extremely high work ethic, the ability to juggle several job priorities at once, and the ability and desire to learn all there is to know about this exciting industry.

As you move up in management you may be encouraged to obtain a bachelor’s degree (at minimum), but it’s not necessary. For example, we know of at least one individual* who works for an international staffing firm as a vice president and she has had no formal college coursework at all! (She does have an exceptional natural business sense, however.)

Here’s an idea of the different salaries for staffing professionals in different staffing/recruiting companies and niches.

Helpmates is hiring internally! We’re always looking or terrific people who have an interest in helping our clients find great workers/candidates find great opportunities. If you’re at all interested in learning more about working in staffing with us, contact our corporate office and let us know why you think you’d be a great candidate.

*Personal friend.

How to Change Careers (Successfully)

Whether it’s due to dissatisfaction with your current career or possibly getting laid off from a job in a dying business sector, chances are great that you’re going to want to change careers (or may at least seriously contemplate doing so) at least one in your professional lifetime.

Many people do change careers. You hear often about people such as the person who left a career as a data analyst to that of freelance writer. Or the lawyer who left the profession to become an intern at a local television news station and who now covers the Supreme Court as a correspondent. Or how about this doozy of a change: going from a TV station control room to school bus driver and wedding officiant (both of which he LOVES)!

Irvine careers

But there also are many other people who change careers who find that the new career a) isn’t what they thought it would be or b) they struggle mightily to become successful within that career and/or make ends meet. We don’t hear as much about these people, but they’re out there, rueing the day they made the change.

And why do they regret the change? There usually are at least one – or more – of the following six reasons:

  1. They didn’t take the time to really think about what they wanted to do.
  2. They didn’t research the new career and went in blind.
  3. They quit their current job before researching the career and/or even having another job lined up.
  4. They didn’t get any training needed before quitting their current position and looking for a new job in a new field.
  5. They assumed they could get a job in the new career at the same level – and amount of salary — they had in in their old career (“Operations manager in retail to director in a marketing agency, here I come!”)
  6. Deciding to change careers because they hate their current boss/colleagues/company. (They forgot that a single job is not a career.)

Instead, here’s what successful career changers do.

  • They research and research – and research some more – the career(s) in which they are interested.

We may think that we know what it’s like working in a certain career, but that’s pretty much impossible unless we actually work in the career or at least talk to several people who work within it.

Since it would be very difficult to work in the field before, well, working in the field, your best bet is to talk to as many people as possible who do what you want to do. Ask them about the best and worst things about the career. Ask them how they got into the career. Ask them about salaries, skills and education requirements, etc. Ask them if they know of anyone else in the field you could talk to.

Doing this not only helps you get a better idea of what the career actual entails day-to-day, it also helps you build a network of people who can help you find work if/when you decide to make a move.

  • They work hard to see how their current skills can transfer easily to the new career and they showcase this to potential employers.

Chances are great that unless you have the skills that transfer easily from one career to another (sales skills, for example), you may have to start a bit “from the bottom.”

Not always, but usually. And the people who do start at a level somewhat akin to their current position in their current career work hard to either gain the skills needed  for the new career or show potential employers how they transfer.

They realize that it’s not their new manager’s job to make their career dreams come true: they need to show value and how they can solve the new supervisor’s problems from the get go.

If they don’t have the skills that transfer easily, they graciously come to terms with it and accept that they may have to climb the ladder all over again.

Possibly the easiest career change to make is to one that’s related to a current career: advertising to marketing, law to finance, medicine to public health, for example. That doesn’t mean a change from interior design to finance (for example) isn’t unheard of, but anyone making such a drastic change needs to make it with eyes wide open.

Are you looking for a change? Helpmates may be able to help you, so long as you understand the limits of your current skills in regards to what the jobs in a new career require. Whether you’re looking for a new job or a whole new profession, take a look at our current opportunities and, if one or more pique your interest, follow the instructions on the posting.

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