Changing Careers - The When, the Why, and the How

by Vault Careers | July 09, 2010

I was at my desk at 11 p.m. waiting for my publisher to give me the front pages to edit for that week’s newspaper wondering – ‘After eight years, why am I still here?’  It was at that moment two years ago that I realized that it was time to change careers, or at the very least, change jobs.

I’m sure everyone has had this epiphany at one point.  Whether you’re working long hours, not receiving enough income, tired of taking orders from a tyrant, or not finding the job challenging enough – there is a time, bad economy or not, when we need to make real decisions about our future and what strategy will help us achieve our goals.

Take a Look at Your Current Career Choice

You need to ask yourself a few questions.  1) Have you done everything you can to make your situation better?  2)  Is a promotion possible?  Have you seen other people at the job rewarded for good work?  3)  How long has your manager wiggled a possible promotion/raise in front of your face only to never come through?  The longer you have been strung along, the more likely you are to never see that promise fulfilled.

Do You Choose a New Job or a New Career?

I was involved in community newspapers for so long I thought I just might be sour on that field.  I looked into daily papers and found that reporters were actually getting paid less than I was making.  Since income was indeed a factor, I looked into magazines, but most of them hired freelancers and I was looking for a steady income.  Examining the industry, I also knew that print journalism was dying a slow death and that I needed to broaden my horizons.  A career change was warranted.  As a potential job seeker, you need to do the same – examine what options are available within your field and pay attention to how other companies and your industry are faring when it comes to the job market.  That’s exactly why Vault profiles are so important in the job search.

What Other Careers Are Out There?

If you’re switching careers, you need to think about how much effort is required.  Do you need to go back to school or seek out a training program?  What do you not have the patience for?  And what career change doesn’t require dipping into your finances?  That’s my kind of career change.

For this quick fix, a jobseeker must break down his current career by examining each facet of his day-to-day activities.  You need to think outside the box.  I was a writer and editor, but at the same time, I worked for a community newspaper, which means I promoted the community in my articles.  From that idea, I started thinking about public relations.  I thought, ‘If I could promote an entire community, I can promote one company.’  In that career, I could still write press releases and I would still deal with the media, pitching stories.  It seemed like a natural transition.  What new career will allow you to use some of the same skills you developed in your previous career, but still be different enough to offer overall satisfaction in your decision.

Now that you’ve identified your new career path, you will have to rework your resume, search for jobs in your new field and brush up on your interview skills.  That will be the focus of Part II: Making the Career Switch.

--Posted by Jon Minners

Filed Under: Job Search | Workplace Issues


Changing Careers - The When, the Why, and the How Want to Get Ahead? Don't Focus On Your Career

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