Dec 17, 2015

How to Change Careers in 9 Easy Steps


A lot of people dream of changing careers but aren’t really sure how to go by it. Whether you dream of having flexible working hours or just plainly hate your job, a career change is possible by making little tweaks on your job search strategy. Changing jobs can be a little scary and risky. Planning a career change, on the other hand, can bring about doubts and uncertainties and a whole range of issues which can be difficult to deal with. The benefits of truly enjoying your new job and a career that you really love are well worth the risk.

Now, if you want to change careers and you’re not sure how, start by following these nine easy steps!

1. Determine what’s motivating you to make a career change

Have you always dreamed of doing something but thought it was too unstable or risky? Have you recently started feeling like the career you are currently pursuing is not right for you? Have you been scared of trying something new because of the financial constraints that it may cause?

Try to think about the things that you would do or the type of career that you would pursue if finances weren’t a concern. Make a list of your top skills as well. Through a process of elimination, determine which careers would match up with your top skills and see which ones are the most “viable” considering your current situation.

2. Decide on what’s realistic for you

Determining what’s realistic for you doesn’t only require matching skills with possible careers. You also need to be realistic about the circumstances that may factor in with your plans to change careers. Determine how much it will cost you to update your skills and get a new job. See if you can afford to take a few months off from work for a training course. More often than not, going through a career change will require some significant life changes and you have a better chance of succeeding if you really know what you want and are amenable to make some sacrifices.

3. Take as much time as you need

Big changes mean making big decisions, so remember to take your time. Don’t rush yourself. Sometimes, in your desire to shift career paths, you might feel the desire to do it right away without much regard to the factors that may come into play. Remember, you are not only changing jobs; you are changing careers. Once you make the decision to make a career change, be patient and persevere to get the basic qualifications you need in making the switch.

4. Always do your research

A huge part of planning and preparing for your career switch should be put into research. If you’re an IT Technician and you just wake up one day realizing that your true calling is to be a writer, you won’t really get anywhere without doing some research. Conducting a research beforehand will help you figure out what you actually need to become a writer or to pursue whichever career you want. Talk to people who are already in the industry or field that you want to break into so that you can get more information.

Visit industry websites, read related news and research about the qualifications needed for the position you want. You can also read on the outlook for the new job and career that you want to pursue to give you an idea what’s in store for you in the long term.

5. Prepare to make some sacrifices

If planning a career change is easy, everyone should have done it already. Realistically, however, you’ll have to make certain sacrifices (and compromises) to get what you want. One would be the possibility of starting closer to the bottom of the career ladder. It can also mean taking a pay cut, having fewer benefits and losing tenure or seniority. Lifestyle changes may also come as a needed compromise. The thing is, you might be facing a possible downgrade when changing careers. Be ready for it.

6. Set the ground work for your new career

To increase your chances of success in your chosen career, you may need to update your knowledge and skills through training and networking .You might need go back to school for further education, enrol in a training program or gain basic experience through part time or volunteer work. You’ll also have to start networking with other industry professionals to gain valuable insights and successfully make the transition from one career to another.

7. Network with industry professionals

If you’re making a career change the last thing that might cross your mind is networking. What most career changers don’t realize is that networking is even more critical to your success when trying to look for a new job – more so when trying to forge a brand new career path.

Before making the switch, find time to talk to your current networks to see if anyone is in the field you want to be in. Attend professional networking events if you can find any and set up informational interviews with people in the industry. Even a casual chat with friends who belong to the industry that you want to break into will go a long way in giving you more realistic expectations.

8. Start looking for a job

After careful planning and preparation, you now need to focus on searching for a new job. The initial planning stages are considerably easier compared to the actual job search, so try not to be caught off guard. Looking for a job comes with its own unique set of challenges. But if you are prepared, nothing can stop you from getting the job that you want. The fact that you need to make certain sacrifices or compromises deserved reiterating. So again, might end up settling for a little less than the job that you currently have, but take it as a small price to pay for following your desired career path.

9. Make the change

When it feels like everything is already in place then it’s time for you to make the switch.

Making a career change is a big life decision—one that takes a whole lot of planning and heaps of courage to carry out. Planning ahead and taking it one step at a time instead of jumping into it can make a career change more manageable. At the end of the day, the benefits of successfully changing careers and finally getting to do what you really want are really priceless.

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