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Think Outside the Box to Find a New Career

Think Outside the Box to Find a New CareerIf you've been struggling in your quest to find a new career, it's probably due to a few common reasons. This is especially true if you've had the same career for a decade or more. You're probably doing all of the “right things” in your search based on what you learned many years ago. Unfortunately, many of the career-search lessons that were drilled into your brain back in college are probably not relevant today.

These are just a few of the common mistakes professionals make when they try to find a new career:

  • Sending out dusted-off, barely updated copies of the same resume they've been using since college

  • Focusing on seeking employment in a narrow sector of industry

  • Relying on traditional networking techniques

  • Trying to trade job “A” for job “B”

Taking a New Approach

These mistakes might not look like mistakes at all. In fact, they might seem like pretty solid strategies, particularly if you haven't had to seek employment for many years. However, there are good reasons why these strategies don't work anymore.

  • Your traditional, chronological resume isn't going to cut it if you want to advertise the skills and knowledge capital you've acquired over the course of your professional life

I suggest that you consider using a skills-based, or “functional” resume. This way, you separate yourself from the pack while putting your main selling points front and center. Otherwise, your resume will find itself on the same pile as all the other ones that look just like it.

  • By focusing on a narrow sector of industry to find a new career, you paint yourself into a corner and you eliminate numerous, exciting possibilities.

With your skills, knowledge and talents, you can actually make a positive difference in many industries. At this point, you don't need to know exactly how the widget works, you just need to have good ideas that can help the widget company sell more of them and make their operations more efficient.

  • Sadly, your network is just not going to be able to find you a job to replace the one you had

If you're asking connections to help you find a single, perfect job that pays as well as your last one, you might as well ask them to give you a stack of $100 bills. Instead, you should try to find smaller opportunities and stack those. Then, you'll find that your network really can help you.

  • Times have changed, and you have to get used to the fact that you'll never find a perfect replacement for your corporate job

Trading job “A” for job “B” is just not going to work anymore, which is why your network won't be able to help you. You need to consider avenues for your skills and talents that might involve working for several different companies. As a consultant, you'll have much more responsibility, but the rewards are so much sweeter.

Think Outside the Box and Find Success

Getting out there and “doing the right thing” in order to find a new career might make you feel good, and it will probably make you feel like you're putting your antiquated job-search skills to great use. While this might be true, it's unlikely that you'll find satisfaction.

If you really want to find a rewarding new career, you need to change your thinking about a number of things. Put your old, worn-out resume in the recycle bin, expand your focus, use your network more efficiently and consider the benefits of working as a consultant instead of working for a single, corporate monolith. It might be difficult adjusting to these new ways of doing things, but making the switch and thinking differently about how to find a new career will help you find the exciting, challenging and rewarding employment you deserve.


Have you been trying to find a new career? If you keep running into difficulties, our advice can help. Download the Ex3 Matters consulting guides for free, and learn how to find the most rewarding opportunities. You can also get your free copy of Buddy Hobart's excellent eBook, “Experience Matters,” to help you get into the proper mindset for finding your new career.