How to Successfully Change Careers and Find Your Purpose | Disabled Person

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How to Successfully Change Careers and Find Your Purpose

In 2021, just 19.1 percent of disabled people were employed in the United States. Within the same release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revealed that people with disabilities were less likely to be employed than their non-disabled counterparts.

By the numbers, disabled individuals have their work cut out for them when it comes to getting hired. Deciding to change careers can make your job search even harder.

Fortunately, you don't have to give up on your dreams while toiling away at a job you can't stand. There's a process in place that makes it possible for you to land an amazing career that you're passionate about.

Want to learn more? Keep reading.

Using Ikigai to Center Your Job Search

Before we dive into the specifics of finding your dream job, you'll want to internalize the Japanese concept of ikigai. Positive Psychology defines this as the "state of wellbeing that arises from devotion to activities one enjoys.".

If you've ever felt amazing after spending time in nature or completing a craft, then you may have already experienced a form of ikigai in your personal life. But increasingly, people have been taking the concept and applying it to their professional lives.

In Japanese culture, ikigai is the intersection of:

  • What the world, or the larger community, is looking for
  • What you're passionate about
  • Where your talents lie
  • What people are willing to pay you for

If you can find a career that nails all four dynamics, you'll be well on your way to finding purpose and satisfaction in your next line of work.

Here's How You Can Change Careers

Now that you understand the concept of ikigai, it's time to get practical. What steps are needed to go from unfulfilled to deliriously happy in your new career field? Let's dive in.

1. Get Clarity

This might sound rather basic, but strong feelings of dislike for previous jobs can sometimes cloud a person's judgment.

Is a total career change really what you need or do you actually need a new employer or a promotion? Are there careers out there that align with your interests? What is your passion exactly?

We already know after learning about ikigai, that the new job needs to be well-paying, in-demand, and something you're good at. This is your chance to do some soul-searching before the job hunt begins in earnest.

2. Mine Your Professional Experience

Since you're still here, we're going to assume that you've got your heart set on a new career. How do you make the transition? You start by digging through your job history.

No, you're not looking for dirt or potential blackmail material. You're searching for transferrable skills. These are skills you've developed in a professional capacity that will "transfer" over to your new career.

Here's how this works:

In your previous positions, you developed a certain set of soft skills. While healthcare and marketing might be totally different industries, Microsoft Word will still work the same in both offices.

However, even if you've got the personality and the soft skills for a job, you may have a skill gap on your resume.

Think of it like college credits. Many universities and colleges will give you credit for courses you've finished at other institutions. But no amount of pleading will convince them to accept a Spanish class as a Math credit.

If you're an office administrator and you want to become a data scientist, you'll likely have to upskill. But even if your ambitions aren't quite so technical, we do offer courses for people with disabilities.

You'll want to use this combination of courses and professional skills to ensure that your resume matches industry expectations in your future line of work.

3. Be Prepared to Explain Your Story 

You've put together a killer resume and you're now in the application stage. But every time you get called in for an interview, you keep running into the same problem:

Employers want to know why you're changing careers — and you're not sure how to answer them.

Is there a smooth response you can give while nailing the rest of the interview?

The good news is that it may be as simple as crafting a narrative.

Talk about feeling unfulfilled in your previous career. Speak about your long-standing passion for the industry you're trying to break into. And then, while your words are resonating with the hiring committee, you can showcase your previous jobs as a series of positions that led you to this moment.

Regardless, you'll want to have a ready answer to the question, "Why are you looking to change careers?". It'll help you stand out during your interview, and it'll settle any doubts that your interviewers might have.

4. Assess the Role

Okay. You've read through these steps and followed the rules to a T.

You found your ikigai. You explored your career options. And you realized that you do, in fact, want to change careers.

You should be on your way, right?

Well, unfortunately, it's possible to pine for a new career field only to learn that it wasn't what you thought it would be. Sometimes you have to tackle multiple roles before you find the one that's right for you.

If that happens, don't get frustrated. Just take a deep breath, update your resume, and get back into the job market.

Changing Your Career Is Easier Than You Think

Most people study and train with a specific job in mind. But after spending time in the workforce, you may not feel like you're coming to work with a purpose. Plus, depending on your profession, positions in your field might be drying up.
Fortunately, there's a simple solution for this:

You can change careers.

Once you've found your ikigai, identified your transferrable skills, and written a compelling story, you'll be well on your way to landing your dream job.

Want to know who's hiring disabled job seekers in your state? We've got the goods! Discover your dream job today!