3 Steps to a New Career

Are you taking on too much at once?

Lynn described herself as someone suffering from career burn out. But every time she tried to figure out what to do next, she’d become overwhelmed and a bit depressed. She couldn’t see the possibilities.

Lynn’s process went something like this: she started listing her strengths and skills, along with the things she enjoyed doing, then she immediately tried to think of job titles and industries where she could do those things. She found one or two jobs that looked interesting, discovered she needed training, and then worried about how to write her resume and whether or not the job would pay the bills. At this point she became overwhelmed, stuck, and assumed there were no alternatives for her.

Lynn made the mistake many people make when trying to find a new career path. She was trying to answer all the questions simultaneously. The truth is that there is a process and an order to a successful career transformation.

Here are the 3 Stages to a Successful Career Transformation:

1. Start at the Unearth Stage.

Write down the strengths and skills you love to use. Identify your top 10 values along with the topics you are most passionate about. I often describe the search for a career you love as a puzzle: the Unearth Stage is where you gather up all the relevant pieces. What activities do you want to do? With whom do you want to do them? And in what environment? Before moving on to stage 2, it is important that you be able to clearly articulate the answers to these questions. Only then are you ready to move on.

2. Imagine Stage.

This is where you begin to put the pieces together, but no job titles yet! Imagine what an ideal work day (or work week) might include. I recommend exploring this stage using all your senses. Write out a detailed story of your ideal work day in multi-sensory detail (what do you see, hear, feel, touch? how do you relate to others?) Try a visualization or create a collage that represents your ideal job. Don’t worry about what is practical, that comes later. For now, let your imagination explore what might be possible and pleasing in a job. When you have a clear image of all components of your ideal job, then you can move to Stage 3.

3. At last, the Create Stage is when you will move to the practical realm. Now you can begin to research job types and titles. Spend time investigating what options exist in the current job market that match up with your Ideal Job description. Do informational interviews; research salaries and training requirements. Once you’ve narrowed your options to a few that really interest you, you can develop your own targeted job search strategy to secure the job or career you want. It will be so much easier to develop your tools: branding statement, resume, cover letter, interview prep, networking strategies, and so forth, now that you have a clear target in your sights.


As Lynn followed these stages, one at a time and in order, she was able to transform her career and get a job she loved, one that filled her with passion and paid the bills.

Are you making the same mistake as Lynn? Are you trying to find all the answers and make all your decisions at once? I encourage you to start by determining which stage you are currently in, and then identify one action to take to move you through that stage.


By Lori Howard