3 Essential Tips for Navigating a Career Change

by Jeriann Watkins Ireland | September 26, 2018

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The idea of a lifelong career has changed a lot in recent years. In the past, the majority of people focused on getting in on the ground level and working their way up a company until they retired. But today’s typical career arc includes several workplace changes—and even career changes.

There are a lot of reasons to want to change careers, including not feeling appreciated in your job, wanting higher compensation, lacking passion for your job, wanting to do something new, and discovering new passions and skills. Whatever your reasons, there are three essential things you need to consider before switching it up.

1. Analyze Your Current Situation

If you’ve decided you want to change careers, the first step is to assess where you are vs. where you want to be. Don’t jump to a new company only to find yourself in the exact same situation in six months. Determine why exactly you want to change careers, then each time you find a job opportunity, ask yourself if this job will provide the change you need.

Changing jobs can be a long process, but there are a lot of easy steps for getting a career change in motion. Once you’ve figured out what you want from a new career, you can start making the first steps to get it.

Changing careers is different for everyone. The intersection between what you want in a career and how qualified and equipped you are to land the job you want is unique to you. However, there are some generalizations that can be made based on how long you’ve been out of the job market and your age.

2. Pay Attention to Changing Trends

Once you analyze where you’re at and what you want from a career change, it’s time to go about finding it. If you’re moving to a completely different field, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the career path options.

Make sure that your idea of a specific field or career lines up with reality. With all the advancements in technology and changes in the economy in the past few decades, you want to make sure your dream job actually exists and will continue to do so in the long term. Even better, look at what new opportunities exist due to changing trends.

For example, millennial interest in meaningful experiences and experiential travel have required the hospitality industry to make changes. Hotels that want to succeed have to put more emphasis on what makes them unique, rather than trying to create a predictable experience, as chain hotels have done for decades.

Analyze the industry you want to enter. Are there needs that are not being met? Do new trends align with your experience and skill set? Perhaps you can take your current experience to a new setting. After all, a change in setting is one of the major benefits of a career change. Look at what you’re already good at, as well as your passions, and see if they connect in a way that opens up new opportunities.

3. Utilize Your Resources

When facing a career change, it’s easy to feel like you’re starting from scratch. But you’re never starting at the very beginning. Your life and career experiences add up to a unique set of skills for potential employers. It’s important for you to be aware of and utilize your resources. Useful career change resources you might have include: positive references from your professional life, transferable skills you’ve acquired at your current job, personal connections in your desired industry, an updated online resume, portfolio of past work, and money and time for pursuing necessary certifications or degrees.

On that last point, it’s very likely you’ll have to start a new career in a new field from an entry-level spot. However, you can increase your chances of starting higher up by pursuing professional certifications and hands-on educational experiences. If you have the time and money to do so, you should start pursuing these opportunities as soon as possible. Resources tend to dwindle or be re-allocated if you don’t use them. So analyze your options and take decisive action to start your new professional life.

Filed Under: Job Search | Workplace Issues

Tags: career change | love your job | networking | new job | switching careers

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