Do you have recommendations for career change resources?
September 8, 2018 7:24 AM   Subscribe

For the past six months, I've been doing some soul-searching about either looking for a new job in my current career or switching careers entirely, and I've settled on switching. Can you recommend any online resources or books to help me sort out this career change?

I'm going to be picking up a new copy of What Color is Your Parachute? tonight at the bookstore, but I wondered if Mefites had any other similar resources to recommend? I'm hoping for something fairly structured, maybe that has question prompts that will get me to think about this from more angles and write out my thoughts.

Alternatively, if you've both worked with a career counselor and used resources like What Color is Your Parachute, I'd be interested to know how the experiences compared.

Many thanks in advance!
posted by Mouse Army to Work & Money (9 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Yes! The Four Hour Job Search. It doesn’t take only four hours to get a job but it does tell you how to not waste time.

I found the technique worked for learning about things I might want to do within organizations, and it did help me get the job I have now.

Important - really only do one step at a time. Do not try to combine steps.

My other tip is to get involved with meetups or volunteering in an area you’d like to explore.
posted by bilabial at 7:34 AM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

This long comment by grumblebee - which, god, was posted ten years ago! - was very helpful for me. (I also got a lot out of Parachute.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:52 AM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Gerald Sturman's books are well worth the investment of time and money. A career-changer himself (from Ph.D. engineering professor to career change coach), his specialty has been guiding the reader through the sort of self-exploration crucial to determining a career direction. My direct experience has been with "If You Knew Who You Were, You Could Be Who You Are" (terrible title; terrific book) but it's probably worth considering his later books as well.
Full disclosure: I met Gerry several years ago when I was manager of employee development for a Fortune 100 company. At the time, I said the above-referenced book was pretty much what I would have put together had I undertaken to provide a self-help guide to career choice/development and I still feel the same way.
posted by DrGail at 7:54 AM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also... I never paid money for a career counselor, but I found that the ones available through my (very good) professional school and through a later unrelated job training program were uniformly pretty crap. I got a lot more mileage out of arranging to buy drinks for friends/acquaintances in different industries and saying "here is what I know how to do, here is what I like doing, can you think of any jobs in your industry that sound like that?"
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:56 AM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm reading this book Designing Your Life, which is based on a class developed at Stanford.

You can watch these Ted Talks by the two authors/instructors to get a feel for the book:
Designing Your Life | Bill Burnett | TEDxStanford
Designing the rest of your life | Dave Evans | TEDxSanFranciscoSalon
posted by pilibeen at 10:30 AM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh! I was in a hurry to get to breakfast this morning and didn’t fully answer your question.

The career counselors and other people who are paid to help people find jobs have historically been very unhelpful to me. Providing such unhelpful advice as ‘just be more detail oriented,’ connecting me to organizations that had no need for my skills, suggesting I should ‘just’ try very disheartening stretch goals.

What has helped the most was being in repeated social situations (ugh so much anxiety for me, but I had to do it) with groups of people who can influence hiring decision makers. Finding someone who can say, ‘my acquaintance is looking for work and is qualified to do the thing we need done! Hire my acquaintance,’ was a godsend and now I have a few people who are saying ‘we need someone like you’ TO ME, and I’m smart enough about my skill set to read those job descriptions and say, ‘Thank you so much for thinking of me. Actually I’m not your person for this, but I’d he happy to pass it along to someone who is.’ This is possible for me now because I’m not so desperate for any income that I’m willing to do work That is a spectacularly bad fit for me.

All of the resumes I ever sent out got sucked into a black hole. I found what color is your parachute to be just ok. Not very motivating, and it’s ... a lot. But in contrast, the four hour job search gave me LOTS to work with.
posted by bilabial at 12:01 PM on September 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I found great value in working with a resume writing service (Resume to Interviews) to help make the change. Looks like they have more in depth career counseling services, but simply having someone help review my resume forced me to critically evaluate my interest and aptitude for a different career.
posted by GPF at 5:11 PM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I recommend Inside Job: 8 Secrets to Loving Your Job and Thriving.

The authors are the founders of Career Wisdom Institute and offer a variety of programs to suit your needs.

Working with Julie Gleeson changed my life. I love the work I took on after the insights I had during my work with her.
posted by Altomentis at 5:18 PM on September 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really liked "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport during my career change crisis. It helped me shift my mindset from "what is my passion" (which is such an open ended-question it led to either no ideas or too many vague ideas and kept me feeling stuck) to "what do I enjoy doing enough that I could do it for long enough to become excellent at it?" which felt like a better measuring stick for me. Hope that helps.
posted by carlypennylane at 11:12 PM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

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