Get Ahead

A career coach's best tips for success after quitting your job: 'Get clear about your goals’

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Eight months into 2022, the Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, remains a trend for professionals seeking new work opportunities or leaving the workforce altogether. Despite recession concerns, a whopping 4.2 million people quit their jobs last month, and the quitting isn't expected to stop any time soon.

Whether you're changing career paths, pursuing entrepreneurship, or even trying out freelancing, there are some things you can do to help you leverage your skills after quitting your job.

According to Joyce Guan West, career coach and founder of career services business, Coaching with Empathy, preparing thoroughly before you resign can hugely impact your success.

"Offboarding is just as important to give time, attention, care and intentionality to as starting a new role," West tells CNBC Make It. 

Establish goals and plan ahead

West recommends people analyze their current situation in depth and "get clear" about their goals for the future.

"[Ask yourself] do I want to leave my job and then immediately find something new? Or do I have the finances to take a break? Because you don't want to mindlessly quit and then realize, I have less money than I thought I did. Or realizing getting income might take longer than I thought because I didn't do any research to find the next thing."

West says having your plans and goals set can eliminate stress and even provide wiggle room to do things that help with burnout, like "going on vacation or visiting family."

Assess yourself

Throughout her time as a career coach, West has helped several first-time entrepreneurs and freelancers navigate their journeys to self-employment. One of her most popular workshops takes her clients through seven personality assessments that reveal their ideal work conditions, learning styles and character traits.

West recommends PrinciplesYou by Ray Dalio, Enneagram, and Ikigai, a Japanese framework to help you understand your purpose, but her favorite is the Clifton Strengths Finder, which prompted her to pursue coaching as a career.

"Clifton says everyone sort of uniquely has four strengths in a particular order. So the assessment tells you what order your strengths are in, and then also buckets them into four main categories: strategic, execution, relationships, and influence."

"When I took it, I looked at my top 10 strengths and I saw that only one of my top 10 strengths is in execution. And I have five top strengths in strategy… It was then that I realized, maybe this is why I keep missing deadlines. And it was taking the assessment that made me realize that I love strategy, and I should try coaching."

Exercise your network

According to West, one of the "hardest" things people face when leveraging their skills after quitting is that "sometimes people want to make a dramatic change, and they might not be fully qualified for the thing they want to do next."

This is where networking comes into play.

Whether you're seeking another role as a corporate employee or starting a business, networking is a great tool to help you "get your foot in the door." 

"It's about who you know. Who's going to get you into an interview? Who is going to get you access to something that you wouldn't necessarily look qualified for on paper?"

Identifying a mentor or sponsor can be as easy as reaching out to a friend, or using social media websites like LinkedIn, to find someone who's working in, or well connected to, the field you're interested in.

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