By Eve Tahmincioglu
msnbc.com contributor
updated 3/10/2009 2:51:34 PM ET 2009-03-10T18:51:34

There is no way around it: Everyone will have to find their own path to career reinvention.

You just need to be open to change.

Here are some tips from Francyenne Maynard, director of career services at North Lake College in Dallas, to get you started:

  • Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing and those you don’t. Before targeting a specific industry, you will need to determine what brings you joy. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing? Look at your past experiences, whether paid or not. For instance, when you volunteer at your church or for the local PTA, is there something that you are particularly good at or that you constantly get “recruited” to do, such as planning events or fundraising?
  • Figure out what you do well. Think about what your strengths are. Ask your family and friends what you are particularly good at — many times they may know a particular field that you would be good at that you may not have even considered.
  • Have a career plan. Think of transferable skills that you bring to the desired job and how you can make yourself marketable. Get work experience, volunteer or see if you can obtain an unpaid internship in that field.
  • Network, network, network. More jobs are gained through networking than by any other job search strategy. If you would like to be an event planner, for example, start by planning events for your friends free of charge and ask for referrals. Then, plan an event for your church or community organization. This sort of networking not only helps you gain valuable experience to add to your resume, but it also “gets the word out” about you to other people. We all have networks — our friends, family, real estate agent, banker, insurance agent, barber, hairdresser. (These are all people that know other people and can spread the word about you.)
  • Go to school. Consider taking classes at night or online.
  • Do informational interviews. Ask people what they like and dislike about their jobs. See if you can do a job shadow — that is, spend some time on the job with that person.
  • Volunteer. This is an excellent way to obtain work experience in a new career field. The only difference is that when you are volunteering, you are unpaid. Volunteer work still can be listed as experience on a resume or portfolio and is an excellent way to expand your networking opportunities.
  • Go to your community college career center. Meet with a career specialist who can help you identify your skills and make yourself more employable in that area. Also, consider going back to the school where you got your degree and taking advantage of alumni services.

Eve Tahmincioglu writes the weekly "Your Career" column for msnbc.com and chronicles workplace issues in her blog, CareerDiva.net.

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