Working for a sizable paycheck or for notable prestige isn’t fulfilling enough for most people during challenging times. Or anytime for that matter. We want to follow our career passion.
We want…heck, we NEED… to feel fueled by our work.
Turning your career passion into a rewarding and sustainable career is the dream of many. Yet truly achieved by only a few.
Here are the steps you can take to put you on a path toward turning your passion into your next career move. Let’s start with ways to identify your passions and find resources to help you pursue those passions as a career choice.
Non-Profit Volunteer Pursuits
Have you always wanted to work for a company that supports the funding of cancer research? Or medical research to help children with autism? Utilize your skill set and career passion to perform that work for the cause that motivates you.
If you are an accountant, work for a cancer research non-profit in the accounting and finance department. Have a talent for managing staff and identifying talent? Apply your expertise to an HR role or a membership development role within a purpose-driven non-profit.
Love to run? Determine how to translate your corporate skill set so you can work for a sports organization that focuses on running. Or research how to start a running group as a side business venture.
For instance, perform a search using LinkedIn Groups using the keyword “running.” Here, you’ll find those pertaining to marathons, half marathons, and other running enthusiast groups. Review the backgrounds of group members for leads and connections. Do they work at companies that support an aspect of running (apparel, vacation tours, events, sports advertising)? Do these connections work at companies that have a active runner contingency that is active outside of work?
Or use LinkedIn Groups to help build your network and engage individuals with common interests. Better yet, communicate with those that can help you join a corporate culture that aligns with your passion outside of work.
Corporate Work in Companies that Inspire You
You have a natural talent and interest in digital marketing, but want to leave your conservative corporate marketing job. Instead, you want to consider a role with a funky, aggressive startup that serves small and mid-sized businesses.
Use the LinkedIn Company Search function to locate boutique marketing firms. Specifically, search for a company with a small employee population or upstart revenue stream to pursue. Additionally, conduct a search on ‘digital marketing’ within LinkedIn Skills & Expertise Section to identify jobs, companies and connections affiliated with digital marketing. Also, look at related skills to identify other areas of passion to pursue.
For example, when looking at related skills for ‘digital marketing,’ you will find mobile marketing, digital strategy or online lead generation as concepts to incorporate into your passion–focused job search. You may realize you have a more marketable skill set than the one you initially focused on. Or you may have a stronger interest in another area with a skill that can be easily cultivated.
Culture & Worldly Travels
Have a passion for history? Travel? Have you considered being a tour guide or working in the tourism industry abroad?
Then use search engines and LinkedIn resources to identify companies that conduct tours in locations where you’ve always wanted to live. Next, reach out to new contacts to learn more about working in these locations or industries. Finally, determine what lifestyle and financial changes you may have to make in your life to make this career shift work.
Next, let’s talk about approaching companies or contacts that benefit from your passion.
After all, once you have identified organizations and people that can help your quest to land a passion-driven career, the next step is clear: make contact. Conduct exploratory conversations in order to learn all you can about transitioning into this area. Your goal: elicit the following information to help you decide how best to proceed.
Follow Target Companies Online
Once you’ve identified them, follow your target companies online, on LinkedIn and social media venues. Learn as much as you can about the culture and nuances of the industry and organization. This information will help you make an informed approach at the right time.
Sign up for email newsletters or RSS feeds too receive updated information about networking opportunities and trending topics in your area of passion. Learn as much as you can from these sources.
Establish a Communication Plan
Set up a communications strategy outlining how often you will reach out to contacts within and outside your network. With each communication, you have one goal: further your exploration and pursuit of this career path. In addition, activity metrics will help you stay grounded and cause you to accurately estimate your efforts.
Focus on Value
When approaching companies, outline in a cover letter how your career to date, and your career passion, qualifies you for consideration. In other words, work hard to help the reader see how your skill set is transferable to this area that inspires you. In every case, keep it concise and to the point.
Keep an Open Mind
Open your mind to how this new pursuit may manifest itself — it may not immediately be in a direct hire position. Consider consulting assignments, entrepreneurial ventures and volunteer opportunities to start.
Don’t get discouraged. Stay the course. Anticipate that your idea to shift careers to an area that energizes you may not be welcomed by your target firms, friends and family. At least not at first. Continue to learn how to improve your qualifications and network to spread the message of your dream. It takes only one person to believe in you and give you a chance to make the change of working within your career passion.
Don’t give up on yourself… or your career passion!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Chameleon Resumes.
About the Author: Lisa Rangel, founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. Lisa has helped hundreds land the exact job they want. A former recruiter, she is a 7-time certified resume writer and job search consultant. She is one of the few resume writers performing resume and job search-related work for LinkedIn. Lisa has been featured on Forbes, LinkedIn, Investors Business Daily, and many more publications. Follow Lisa on Twitter!