“This is they year I’m going to switch career fields.”

“This is the year I’ll finish my degree." 

“This is the year I apply to grad school.” 

“This is the year.”

A lot of us enter January with renewed vigor, passion, and motivation to make this the year that we do what we’ve been planning for. Sometimes, it’s in the form of a new year’s resolution: “This year, I want to improve my work-life balance.” Sometimes, it’s something that has been brewing and waiting in the wings for just the right moment, maybe just the right year, to come out in full force: “I want to start my own business. And this is the year to do it.”

Now, as we near the end of February, some of the New Year excitement and motivation may be wearing off. Everyday life keeps moving at the same pace, regardless of your new goals.

But it’s still the New Year. It’s still the year to make the change you’ve been wanting to make.

So is this the year for you? 

If it is, we want to help. The three most common changes for MyHCN members are discovering their authentic health career direction, starting a major job search, and applying to grad school. The strategies for making these changes differs slightly for each change, as you can see below, but if this is the year for you to make a change in one of those areas, read the 3 best strategies for getting it done.

  

Top 3 Strategies for 3 Major Changes You Might Be Making This Year

Is this the year to refine or discover your authentic career direction?

Strategy 1Informational Interviews*:

Once you have worked on various exposure strategies and fine-tuned your list of career paths that you are considering, informational interviews are one of the best ways to get an inside look at a variety of jobs. They can help you understand what it’s really like to do a certain job or to be part of a certain organization.

Strategy 2Practical Experience:

Volunteer, intern, and apply for jobs in your various fields of interest. You might have to work for free and go through numerous jobs before discovering what you want in a workplace and career—it’s all part of the process. Maybe this year, you can volunteer in one area of interest while working in another. The more you experience, the more you know about what you like and don’t like.

Strategy 3 - Network:

Seek out valued mentors and ask for their advice. This can help you clarify your values as well as build your network. Have them connect you to the people you’d like to meet. Connect on LinkedIn. Follow organizations you’re interested in on LinkedIn. 

 

Is this the year to make a career change?

Strategy 1 - Understand what you want:

Be clear about what you want to get out of your next job. What job characteristics will be the most satisfying for you and how do those characteristics align with your career direction? What do you want to get out of this new job? It could be practical experience to further determine your career direction, career advancement, better compensation, better work-life balance, or a wealth of other reasons. Whatever it is, be clear about what will make your new job successful.

Strategy 2 - Select and prioritize specific companies/organizations:

Determine the types of organizations and positions you’d like to pursue. Be specific. Make a list.

Strategy 3 - Network:

Identify your network and build it. Connect with people in the organizations you have on your list (or people who can get you access to those organizations). Make sure your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile are up to date. Put yourself in the flow of people and opportunities.

 

Is this the year to apply to grad school? 

Strategy 1 - Determine your direction:

Make sure that going to grad school aligns with your authentic health career direction. Find out what knowledge, skills, and credentials you will need to be successful in the educational program you are seeking out.

Strategy 2 - Find the right schools:

Determine which schools are the best fits to help you meet your objectives. Understand what they are looking for and then make connections at those schools.

Strategy 3 - Strengthen your application:

Take necessary prep courses to enhance your grades on standardized tests and to be prepared for the program you are applying to. Write a strong statement of purpose and reach out far in advance to the right people for letters of recommendation.

 

*Informational interviews are actually a great strategy for all 3 of the above categories!

 

 

Regardless of what you want to accomplish this year, remember that this is the year to accomplish it, and set clear goals to make that happen.

To conclude, here are 3 last steps to making this the year:

  1. Set clear goals. Break them into small, actionable steps and write them down.
  2. Create a timeline. Place each small, actionable step on the timeline so that you have to accomplish certain things by deadlines.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Everyone has a different strategy for this, but if you do not have a way to hold yourself accountable for the deadlines and timeline you have set, you are much more likely not to follow through with them. What works for you? Is it Google calendar sending you an email reminder to make sure you scheduled at least one informational interview for next week? Is it a friend or mentor who you can share your timeline with? Find what works for you and use it. 

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