Today’s career environment is constantly changing and so are you. Whether you are having a mid-life career crisis, crave more excitement in your daily work, or want more advancement opportunities, you may be considering a career move. Job dissatisfaction, work conflicts, lack of challenges, job-related stress, or job insecurity are all reasons people consider making a career change.
Changing jobs within your profession or changing careers can be exhilarating yet terrifying. Going outside your comfort zone could lead to a more satisfying job, but it could also back fire and leave you worse off. This is risky business, but the good news is that the high level of risk can be reduced. Preparation and planning are key aspects of a successful change. Here are 10 things you should consider before taking that big step.
Evaluate your current job position. What do you dislike? What are your favorite parts of your job? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why are you doing this for a living? The answers to these questions may no longer be directly relevant in your current life. You need to examine the job role and fit. There will always be less glamorous parts of a job. These can’t be the only reasons for changing careers. Are there things you can do to make you more satisfied at work without changing careers?
Evaluate your needs and wants. What do you want, or better yet, what don’t you want? People change careers because they are dissatisfied. Looking at the why is important. Why are you not satisfied? What makes you happy? This is all about what YOU want. There will be people who don’t support you, but if you determine the career change is what you truly want, then you can be confident in yourself and your decision.
Assess your skills and experience. Are there skills you need to make this career move? How can you develop these skills and gain the needed experience? In order to successfully make a career change, you must possess the necessary skills and experience to get hired. Be proactive. If you don’t possess the skills needed, you need to develop them.
Research your new field. Talk to people in the field. Conduct informational interviews. Not only will this help you determine if this field is for you, but also the knowledge you gain will be a huge advantage when you start interviewing for jobs. Plus this is a great way to make connections with people established in the field.
Dust off the old resume. After assessing your skills and experience and researching your potential new career path, you need to determine what is important for your resume and what isn’t. Cut out the fluff, and figure out the areas you need to improve on. What is your resume missing that will prevent you from landing that new job?
Test out your new career path. Volunteer, take night or online classes, work part-time, see if it is the right fit. Not only will this give you real world experience and beef up your resume, but also this is a great way to network. Making connections for when and if you make the full transition to your new career is essential.
Use your connections. People always say it’s all about who you know. Networking is an important way to learn about job opportunities, land interviews, and even get job offers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or assistance from your connections.
Don’t be rash. If you’re not 100% certain that you are ready to make a career move, don’t. Take the time to figure out what is the best decision for you. A career change can be stressful. It requires different work environments and stresses, as well as learning a whole new company culture. Waiting for the right time is important.
Don’t be afraid to take action. At the same time, don’t let fear hold you back. If a career change is going to make you happier, more fulfilled, and more satisfied, then go for it. In the U.S., most individuals go through several career transitions throughout their working life. You’re not alone.
Don’t sell yourself short! Now that you know what you want, don’t be afraid to go and get it. You’ve done your homework, gained valuable knowledge, and made connections with people in the field. Let potential employers know the time and effort that you have invested into making this career change. Employers want to see commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm.
Lexacount Search is grateful for Katherine Colburn’s hard work and research assistance. This posting would not have been possible without her exploration of this topic area.