Changing jobs or careers is a scary thought for many in the job force. Most workers try to avoid having to make that change, in fear of the unknown or potentially being knocked down from the current level they are at in their career.
For others, in order to continue the pursuit of a career or advancement, changing jobs or careers is an absolute necessity. Sometimes for one reason or another, the change is forced—as is the case with a lot of professional athletes.
In this week’s “Three for Thursday,” we are going to examine—with the help of some former professional athletes—what job seekers need to do to reinvent themselves for a potential career or job change that could be around the corner.
“It’s never too early to start thinking about plan B” – Dave Zastudil, former NFL Punter
Thanks to our friends over at the VIKTRE Career Portal (if you are a former athlete, you should really check them out), we had the pleasure of reading this great “Career Change” article from a Cleveland-native. Zastudil was a well-known punter around the league during his career, but did not exactly know what was coming around the corner for him once his punting days ended in 2014.
Luckily for Zastudil, a friend of his called him when he was released by Arizona in 2014. That dinner and conversation led to discussing a future in the insurance business, which has blossomed in his two years out of the league. But who knows where he would be right now if it had not been for that call.
So for those of you still in the job force who may need to change careers one day, take Zastudil’s advice to heart. It is truly never too early to start thinking about a plan B in your career.
Obtain certifications and take accredited courses on the side
So, I have to admit—I slightly stole this from another VIKTRE Career Portal article, this time on former NFL defensive back Adam Edwards. In Edwards’ advice to other athletes section, he stated, “…becoming certified through accredited courses in your field will expedite the transition and make you the industry expert.”
His words made me think of how easy it is to obtain certifications online in areas you want to be known as an expert or leader in. Want to become an analytics expert? Go get certified through Google Analytics. Want to get ahead in content marketing? Hubspot offers training and certification on that as well.
I bring up those examples because they are in my field, but there are plenty of other opportunities for you to gain additional certifications and education. Lynda.com offers online courses in a number of fields. If you truly want to prepare for a new career one day, the tools are out there for you to make the transition.
Be open to new fields and opportunities
Many job seekers seemingly pigeon-hole themselves into a mindset of only being able to be good in one career field because they have been in that career field their entire life. If the aforementioned Zastudil thought this way, he would probably be coaching in the NFL right now and not experiencing success in the insurance field. If Edwards thought this way, he wouldn’t be a booming entrepreneur.
Too often job seekers become entrenched in the comfort that comes with knowing what their job function is day in and day out that they become unaware of the vast pool of opportunities that are out there in other fields.
Speaking from personal experience, I would not be writing this article to you today and running websites if it had not been for getting out of my own comfort zone. I was headed down a pure sales path—which there is nothing wrong with—but a friend of mine suggested I give writing a shot while in college. Suddenly it became a passion of mine, and I found myself writing for one of the largest websites in the country, Bleacher Report, covering the NBA and NFL.
Now, I am not telling you to blow it all up. But sometimes you need to expand your horizon a little bit to see if there is something else you could be interested in. Regardless of tenure and age, there is always going to be another opportunity for you to make an impact in this world. So keep an open mind on could be out there!