Changing careers? What are your options?

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Are you considering a career change? Or do you know someone who is?

I met Maggie at a job club for job seekers. Maggie was a corporate trainer with over 15 years of experience at an insurance company. Maggie lost her job a year ago during a round of budget cuts and company layoffs. While she has been actively looking for work for the past year, she is still struggling to find a job. As a result, Maggie is considering changing careers. She needs to find work, and she is exhausted from the job search process. Maggie wants to know what her options are.

Maggie was just one of many people in the room that night who shared a similar story. Perhaps you are one of them. Or maybe you have a close friend or family member who is asking similar questions. I am going to share with you three questions you can ask, to guide your way through the process of identifying a new career for you.


3 Questions to Change Careers

1. What can I do?

If you have invested time and energy into building a solid career for yourself, this question can feel overwhelming. When answering this question, there is a strong temptation to look for jobs that are similar to the one you are leaving. In Maggie’s case, she kept trying to identify other jobs a corporate trainer could do. For Maggie, that left her thinking all she could do was corporate training.

The best way to answer this question is to focus on identifying your capabilities. One way to do that is to think back over your career and identify the projects and work assignments you are proud of and enjoyed doing. For each project, write out a story or description for yourself about the experience. Describe what you did, where you did it, and who you did it with. Get a trusted friend or coach to help you sift through your stories and make a list of the strengths and skills you used. Take note of any patterns and themes you see.


2. What do I need from a job or career?

Once you know what your capabilities are, that is your strengths, skills, and passions, it is tempting to try to identify right away other jobs you can do. But when you do that, you skip a practical component of choosing a new job or career: Identifying what you need. Consider your financial needs. How much money do you need to take home? Do you need insurance coverage? How far are you willing to commute? How much time are you willing to travel for work? Are you willing to pursue a degree, certification, or other education? Are there other things you need from a company or career? Make a list of your non-negotiable requirements of a job.

Maggie has a mortgage to pay, and needs medical insurance for herself and her children. She also needs a certain level of income to pay for the needs of her family, and cannot travel more than 25% of the year. These elements are critical for Maggie, and for you, to select the right next job or career path.


3. What are my options?

Finally! You get to look for job ideas. Only now you have a list of strengths and skills, and a list of needs, that allow you to generate realistic options. Once again, take your lists and sit down with your trusted friend or coach and brainstorm job ideas. Use your strengths and skills list to do some online searches on job boards, such as, and job matching resources, like Discover what jobs are available that use your skills. Once you have a list of jobs, you can use your list of non-negotiable job requirements to identify which jobs might be realistic and satisfying alternatives for you.

Maggie’s current list of job ideas includes: technical writing, corporate communications, and human resources. Her next step is to research her options and update her job search materials to target her new direction.


It is tempting to try to identify job options without answering all three questions. It is much easier if you take things one step, one question, at a time. If you are contemplating a career change, I encourage you to begin with these questions. Your stories will inspire others, so I invite you to share them on my blog.

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Client Stories

What did you need at the time you hired Lori?

I wanted to work in my industry and didn't know how to progress any further than I was. I knew I had much experience that could be put in the industry of my choice but not how to parlay that experience. I needed guidance.

What did you and Lori do together?

Many, many things. Overall, to get clear in my mind what I offered and really what I wanted in a work environment. Every week was another epiphany after another. One of my favorites was the "knowing your core values". Having had some experience on this subject I was all ready to dive-in. Core Values is key. Knowing your core values. 

Lori makes it so easy to pinpoint. One time we were speaking about something else and we both realized...OMG...that is a core value for me. I hadn't written it down before, but discovered later that if ever a core value fit was the one I mentioned at that time.  Knowing that piece of information also answered a long standing question in my head.  One of the "why's" as to my constant upset with other places I had worked.

What were the results from working with Lori?

Many things. One is a great looking resume. I thought, wow, I look good and it was all from work I had already done elsewhere but didn't know how to say it or present it. Another is the clarity of knowing where I will feel good when I do work. What I really want and with the kind of people I really want to work with on a daily basis. This entire process is so valuable. The best money I ever spent and I am not kidding or exaggerating. I was only hoping it would be valuable and it really was valuable.< I know stuff and it has value and is marketable. Lori showed me those things and it gives me confidence.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lori delivers above and beyond. The highest quality of exchange, 'more than you expected.' I told my friends this over and over: 'I wish I had her 10-20-even 30 years ago.' Every one, and I mean EVERYONE, needs a Lori. Her understanding,patience, how she problem solves, putting things in simple terms, was mind blowing. I wish I could that well. I present a problem and she could turn it around and yes...another epiphany.

Lori, is worth every penny. It isn't about a title. It is about enjoying everyday doing work you love with people you like and are like minded. You'll know what you are looking for when you interview.  I never say this, but I will say it here. Lori is a major key into the rest of my life doing what I always wanted to do. That is: Being happy doing what I do, everyday. Something I have been saying for years. Allowing be Sherlock.  Finding my people. They are out there and now I know what I am looking for in that respect.


Sherlock Ganz, Los Angeles, CA