When it comes to making a career change, there are many different reasons people do it. Sometimes they want to try new things in their lives and feel they need a change. Others have lost interest in their current role and therefore no longer enjoy going to work. There’s no single way for people to decide to change careers. But the truth is, the better prepared you’re for how it all works, the smoother the experience can be for you.
Changing Careers Is Challenging, but It Can Be Done
The reality is that changing careers isn’t easy. If it were, more people would do it. It takes courage, a strong support system, and a lot of hard work. But it’s doable, and you can have the career change you want.
Changing Careers Isn’t a Decision You Make Lightly or Quickly
The process of changing careers requires a great deal of self-reflection and soul-searching. You must take time to consider what your values are and how they fit with your career change. You should ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What aspects of my work do I enjoy?
- If I could choose any job in the world, which one would it be?
- What doesn’t make me happy at work?
- What don’t I like about my current job?
- How much money do I need to be happy? (You’ll find out if this is realistic or not).
- How much does this new job pay?
- Can I make enough in this new career field if I get training?
- Do I need additional training or certification for this new career field?
- Should I consider taking classes or volunteering before moving into a new role?
You Need to Know What Your Goals Are
If you want a completely different job but aren’t willing to relocate or put in extra hours and responsibility, it will be difficult.
Make a List of the Skills You Need to Achieve Your Goals
For example, if you want to work in a particular industry but don’t have relevant experience, you’ll need some new skills. If you want a different job in the same industry, it may be less about acquiring new skills and more about building on the ones you have. For example, if you’ve worked in retail but want to get into sales management, it’s not so much about brushing up on your sales skills as it’s about building on your management experience.
Identify Your Transferable Skills
Transferable skills can be used across professions – such as communication, organization, and problem-solving – not just in a specific profession (e.g., accounting or technical skills). These skills can help a successful career change because they’re useful in many industries and sectors.
You Also Need to Make Sure the Fulfilling Career Change You’re Considering Is a Good Fit for You
This can be difficult if you don’t have much experience in a particular field or industry. However, don’t assume that just because someone likes their job that it’s a good fit for you, either. It’s important to learn about the new field and the company before you apply to make an informed decision about whether or not the new job is a good fit for you.
First, Ask Yourself Why You Want to Change Careers
Changing careers is a big deal. It’s a change for your entire life. So before you even think about it, ask yourself: why do I want to change careers? What would make me happier in my job? Why am I unhappy with my current job or industry? If your answer is, “Because it’s boring,” that’s not a good reason – you should be doing something that excites you (and if you don’t know what that’s yet, don’t worry – we’ll help).
You Also Need to Know What Kind of Job You Want
- Do you want to make more money?
- More stability?
- More control over your schedule?
The best way to find out is to talk to other people who’ve successfully transitioned from one field to another to find out how their experience compared to yours.
Read the Stories of Other People Who Went Through a Career Transition
These stories can be inspiring and motivating, but they can also be discouraging and disheartening.
For example, when you read stories of people who’ve changed careers and are doing well, it’s easy to think, “Hey, that could be me!” But when you read stories of people who changed careers and failed miserably (or even worse), you might think, “I don’t want to do that.
Reading other people’s stories can be very helpful on your career change journey because it gives you an idea of what to expect, but also because it helps you deal with doubts or fears that come up along the way.
Talk to Your Friends, Family, and Peers About Your Ideas
When you’re looking to make a career change, it’s normal to feel isolated and alone. You may want to keep your new plans a secret and not have people see you through different eyes because of it. Remember that talking about your career change can be beneficial in many ways:
When You Discuss Your Ideas With Others, You Get a Different Perspective
- They’ll validate and encourage you for the steps you’ve already taken to change and give tips on what’s still needed.
- They may even surprise you with their support – and some may even take action themselves!
- A reality check – If they don’t agree or understand, this could be an opportunity to explain why they don’t see things the way you do and help you understand each other better in future conversations.
Talk to a Professional
It’s always a good idea to ask for help before leaving your old job. Many career changers don’t think about this when making a career change, but it can be useful in the long run.
If you’re unsure of what to do next, career coaching can help with your career choice. He or she’ll ask you about your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and values, the work environment most conducive to your success, and advise you on new skills to learn.
A career coach is a person who can also help you write a resume and prepare for interviews.
Or you can get a mentor – someone who’s already been through the process and can share their experience with you.
A mentor may be able to give you practical career advice on how to get a foothold in a particular industry or company that interests you. Mentors are usually more experienced than coaches because they’ve been there before – they know how the job market works, what kind of work experience is required, and how you can best present yourself in a job interview.
Mentorships are often free or low-cost because companies want to share their knowledge and give back to their community.
If you don’t have access to such a program, you can ask around at networking events or join communities that provide mentors.
If you know what you want, you can make a good decision about your career path
Know what you want: Being clear about what you want your career to look like is a step in the right direction. Changing jobs is not easy, though, because it requires you to be honest with yourself and take the time to figure out what makes you happiest. The first step is to write down all your ideas. Write down everything that comes to mind – even if it seems silly or far-fetched at first.
Ask yourself tough questions: Once you’ve written down some options for your ideal job or career path, ask yourself tough questions about each (or even all of them).
For example, “Does this job offer me enough flexibility?” or “Does it fit with my family life?” until we’re clear about how many factors contribute to our job satisfaction!
The more thoroughly we ensure everything is a perfect fit before we act, the better off we’ll be when things don’t turn out the way we hoped in the early days of starting over.
Inquire About Available Jobs in the Industry You’re Aiming For
To get a foothold in the job market, it’s important to know what’s out there. Do some research on the industry and job title you’re interested in. The more information you’ve about the career path or job, the easier it’ll be for you to talk about your experiences and explain how they relate to the job.
When researching a company before the interview, look at its mission statement (which is often available online), its growth goals, recent coverage of the company, and recent developments in its business model.
Be prepared to ask questions about these topics in the interview, so recruiters can see how thoroughly they’ve researched to ensure the job fits what they’re looking for in a candidate!
You Know What You’re Losing, but You Don’t Know What You’re Getting
You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy the new career and how little time you spend thinking about the old job.
Still, there may be periods when you struggle with feelings of loss or sadness, especially if a long-term relationship ends. This is normal and expected, even if it feels uncomfortable.
It’s important not to rush through these feelings or ignore them. Talk about them with someone who can help you process them – such as a counselor or trusted friend who understand and knows about a career shift.
Fear of Failure
When considering a career change, the fear of failure can be the biggest obstacle. It’s normal to worry that your whole life will be ruined if you try something new and fail. I’d like to say two things about this:
The thing is that the only way to succeed is often to fail first. You’ve to put yourself out there to learn what works and what doesn’t work. If you always play it safe and stay within the confines of what’s already worked in your previous careers, how will you ever learn anything new?
Failure Doesn’t Mean Life Is Over; It Just Means We Can Improve!
With every failure comes knowledge and experience – and these are the very things that lead us to success in our lives
Make sure you know what you can handle if you fail before you leap. Taking risks doesn’t mean being completely blind!
You should let go of things that don’t benefit you and embrace those that do.
When You Change Careers, You Need to Be Open to New Experiences
You must be willing to try new things, even if they seem uncomfortable or daunting at first. And you’ve to be willing to learn new things – even if that means admitting that you don’t yet (or may never) know everything about your field.
After all, no one can master all the transferable skills in the world; the key is simply to be open enough to yourself and others so that you take advantage of opportunities as they arise and they don’t go unnoticed.
You also need motivation and perseverance – a willingness to work hard for something, even if it doesn’t seem to pay off immediately (or at least isn’t as tangible as money), because that’s what’ll eventually lead to success.