What Is the Right Way to Change a Career?
Do you get anxious on Sunday evenings, not wanting to go back to work? Are you disappointed in the job itself, too bored or stressed out during the day? If so, you must be daydreaming about pursuing a new career while working.
But it doesn’t have to remain just a dream for you. There’s nothing impossible about making this kind of change. But that’s not to say it won’t be challenging, of course.
Job search in and of itself is always tough. And on top of that, you’d also need to gain new key skills and create another resume from scratch. (You can offload the latter to affordable resume writers if your resume game isn’t top-level, though.) Plus, you’ll have to answer those endless questions the recruiters will ask you about why you’ve decided to change careers.
There’s no point to pretend that it’s a risk-free endeavor. Plenty of things might go wrong. And if they do, they may have severe consequences on your life. So, how do you avoid those dreadful scenarios?
Understand Why You Want to Switch Careers
You might be tempted to quit your current job notice right here and now. But it’s not the right time for it yet. First, you need to understand what drives you to pursue this change.
Here are the five most common reasons why you might want to build a career in a new field:
- Your current job is too stressful or boring;
- The work itself doesn’t bring you any satisfaction anymore;
- It contradicts your values;
- You don’t see any future for yourself if you stay;
- You need better pay.
Some people change careers when they’re dissatisfied with their workplace, not the occupation itself. To avoid making the same mistake, ask yourself, “If I land a job in the same field but at a different company, would it bring me the change that I’m looking for?”.
Settle on Your New Career
If you’ve already chosen the career you want to pursue, you can skip this section. But if you haven’t, the world is your oyster – and this kind of choice can be overwhelming.
Here are three things you should do to decide on your new career trajectory:
- Consider the job prospects. Take a look at the occupations that rank high on those jobs of the future lists. Do any of them speak to you?
- Assess your interests and hobbies. Is there a job that would correspond with them?
- Take into account your experiences. What do you love and hate about your current position? What occupation requires the same or similar set of skills that you’ve gained so far?
Figure Out What It Takes
First, take stock of what you have to offer your potential employers right now. That includes your current professional skillset and any formal qualification or certification you’ve acquired. Pay extra attention to your transferable skills!
Then, do a bit of research on the common job requirements in your chosen field. Scroll through online job boards and look at the postings that you’d want to apply for.
Finally, compare the two lists. What are the gaps between them? How can you close them? How long is it going to take you to do that?
Prepare a Financial Safety Net
As all job seekers know, the job search may take a while, whether you have a decade of work experience or not. And since job hunting is often incompatible with being a full-time employee, you’ll have to quit your current position sooner than you might think.
Apart from that, if you need training and you can’t combine it with keeping your current job, you’ll have to sustain yourself while you go through it.
How wide does your financial safety net have to be? A good rule of thumb is to assume that it’ll take you three to six months to get employed. You should add the time for training and/or certification if needed.
Upgrade Your Skillset
If you’re looking to change your career trajectory dramatically, you’ll need some retraining. And it may be challenging: it’ll probably take up to a year of your time, at best, and it’s likely to cost you handsomely. In other words, you’ll have to invest in your career.
The good news is there are numerous learning paths you can choose from:
- Go back to college;
- Sign up for an online course;
- Enroll in a boot camp;
- Find a vocational training opportunity;
- Go to a trade school;
- Learn on your own.
Make New Connections
The “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” rule works across every industry. So, if you plan to start anew in another field, connections in the said field are among the best career resources you can ever hold.
So, get to networking. (Yes, even if you’re an introvert.) Attend online and in-person professional events; mingle with people there. Go on social media and engage in conversations about the field. Don’t forget to ask about the common hiring process and requirements!
Rewrite Your Resume
Having a great resume is a must if you want to get more interviews and, therefore, increase your chances to land a job. But how do you craft a winning resume? Here are a few tips:
- Focus on your accomplishments when you describe your work experience;
- Put relevant knowledge and skills up and front;
- Add your portfolio (if applicable);
- Get professional help from novoresume reviews if needed.
Keep in mind: before any recruiter’s eyes can even land on your resume, it has to go through the ATS system first. This software will scan your job application and either pass it on to the hiring manager or reject it automatically. So, make sure you have a bot-beating resume!
Do you want to know the secret to succeeding at all of this? It’s not standing out among other applications or retraining (although that matters, too). The secret ingredients are two P’s: planning and persistence.
Planning is vital for not losing track of your goal and your path to achieving it. It’s a way to break this intimidatingly huge task into smaller, actionable steps, too. (Remember to remain flexible and adapt your plans on an as-needed basis, however.)
Persistence is essential since it’s a long road that you’re about to start. It’ll take a while before you even land an interview for the first time! But as long as you keep grinding, you will eventually secure the job you’ve set out to get.