Following a cancer diagnosis and treatment, many survivors report a desire to follow a different career path. Many cite that their previous (or current) job was too stressful, didn’t provide fulfillment or wasn’t aligned with their passion, and thus they would like a change. Despite this desire, many believe the challenge is too great, either because they lack experience in the field or the new salary won’t be enough to pay for their living expenses. Sometimes it’s a general fear of change or of the unknown that prevents them from switching careers. Despite these legitimate concerns, taking a different employment path post-cancer is not only possible, but it can be a positive experience. And the process can be made easier with the right tools.
Idealist posted a blog on common things to avoid when changing careers; the information is also relevant for cancer survivors looking to switch their career paths. Below we highlight two pitfalls you’ll want to steer clear of.
- Waiting until your plan is complete and perfect. It’s always a good idea — not to mention, important — to be organized and prepared. However, aiming for perfection can lead to disappointment and frustration. The demands of life can often derail even the best laid plans, so be prepared for setbacks and obstacles. And remember, it’s a process.
- Focusing too heavily on your resume at the expense of developing new relationships. Most people — including our online Career Coaches — would agree that a solid resume is one of the most important tools for job-hunting. With that said, the value of networking and relationship development should not be underestimated. Personal connections can lead to finding out about open positions and getting your foot in the door for an interview, an element of the job-search process that a resume alone cannot always deliver.
Cancer and Careers offers programs and resources that can provide guidance if you’re interested in making a career change. Be sure to check out our Balancing Work & Cancer Webinar Series — in particular, our recorded sessions on Career Change and Building an Effective LinkedIn Profile offer great tips and tools when making the decision to transition to a different career and how to network your way into a new field. Our article on “Cancer As an Inspiration for Career Changes” can provide some additional insight on the impact of cancer on career goals.
Use our Resume Review Service for assistance in formatting your resume to highlight skills and experience that would be most relevant for work in your targeted area. CAC’s free Job Search Toolkit is also a great resource for all aspects of the job search.
Finally, if you’re feeling a bit stuck and could use some more personalized feedback and guidance, you can submit a question to our roster of volunteer career coaches through our Ask a Career Coach program!