It’s sometimes difficult to remember that there was once a time when most people remained in the same careers throughout much of their lives. Today, that dynamic has changed in dramatic ways. People now move from one job to another over the course of their careers. Many of them also shift from one career to another as well. So, if you find yourself dreaming about changing careers, you’re not alone. The question is: what’s the most effective way to switch careers and ensure that you’re making the right move? These ten steps for a successful career change can help.
The first thing you need to do is make certain that you’re certain about the change. Sometimes, disenchantment is a temporary feeling that passes in time. You should never rush out to find a new career during those periods, since you may change your mind days later. Give it some time, evaluate your current level of satisfaction, and your reasons for wanting a change. If you still want a new career after your analysis is done, then you’ll know that you’re making the right move.
Of course, it’s one thing to say that you want a new career. It’s another to know exactly what you want to do. What interests you? Do you have skills that you’re not using in your current job? What about your personal values? Is there another career path that would better align with your hopes, dreams, and core beliefs? Consider all those things so that you know exactly what you want to be doing in your next job.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, it’s time to narrow down a list of possible careers. You can do that by researching career possibilities online, talking to friends or family members, or meeting with a career specialist. You need to figure out which career path will provide you the opportunity to effectively use your skills and pursue your interests.
Next, it’s time to scour the job market and see whether your chosen field has openings. Fortunately, you can do much of this research from the comfort of your own living room. Use a search engine to identify job opportunities, paying close attention to any posted job requirements.
Now that you know which jobs are available, it’s time to look at your qualifications. If you’re like most people, you will probably meet some criteria and fail to meet others. Some job skills that you already possess might be transferrable. Others may need to be acquired or improved. By taking the necessary time to enhance your skills, you can simplify the job search effort.
Evaluate your personal and professional brand. Chances are that you will want to update that brand to align it with your new career choice. Remember, the goal here is to sell yourself as a real asset to any employer fortunate enough to hire you. Emphasize the skills needed for your chosen career, and highlight the value that you can bring to any new job. Revise your resume as needed, and align your social media in a way that provides the professional branding you need.
Obviously, changing careers will require a job search – so it’s time to brush up on those skills. With your resume updated and ready, you should take time to renew your interview skills. You can do this by reviewing common interviewer questions online, roleplaying with a friend, or practicing your salary negotiation techniques. While you’re at it, don’t forget to spend some time researching the companies that you plan to target for resume submissions.
If you already have a network of professional colleagues, you may need to expand it. Work to make new contacts in your chosen field. By now, you should already be in the habit of networking constantly. But if that’s not the case, then there’s no better time to start. You should also mobilize the network that you do have, to enlist their help in your job search efforts. Sometimes, that network can be the most efficient tool you have when changing careers.
Whether it’s through your network or your own efforts, you need to get your resume in the right hands. When you submit your resume, be diligent about following up. Make every effort to get in contact with hiring personnel, to maximize your odds of getting that all-important interview. Be persistent!
Finally, be flexible with everything. If you’re changing careers and entering a new industry or line of work, you need to control your expectations. You may not get the salary that you think you’re owed. Your job role may not be as expansive as you might like. And you will almost certainly need to start over at any new company. Try to remain future-oriented, however, and remember that this is all part of a necessary process.
While it can be tough to switch careers, the effort can pay off with greater job satisfaction and a new sense of challenge. When you follow these ten steps for changing careers, you can enjoy a more seamless transition from one career to the next.