Deciding on a new career path is bold and challenging, especially if you have worked in one field for years. Research says that, on average, people change jobs up to fifteen times during their work-life trajectory.
We change jobs for many different reasons. Some people strike for a higher salary and more flexible hours. Others experience burnout or look for something that aligns with their newly discovered passion.
But before you jump into a brand new career path, take time to evaluate your current situation, skills, available career options, and steps you need to take to succeed. Ask yourself questions like: “Do I want a contract job?”, “Should I freelance?”, “Do I know the industry?”, “Do I need a refresher course?”
In this guide, you will find six steps you need to take if you want to change your current job and achieve excellent qualifications along the way.
Step 1: Think About Why
Most people who dream about a successful career change know that their current career path is no longer for them, but this is not enough. You need to know the exact reasons.
By evaluating what stands behind a “why making a career change is so important for me?” you will make sure that you won’t be stuck in an unsatisfying position yet again.
Think about why you want a change, the pros and cons, and how your new job is supposed to contribute to your life satisfaction.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Let’s be honest. When you finally decide to consider changing up your field of expertise, your life will be filled with excitement, but also with stress and a whole list of new demands.
Instead of looking at this experience through rose-colored glasses, try to be realistic with your financial backup and take your time to read the fine print on job offers.
Reach out to people in the industry and to those who have already accomplished a successful career change. They may give you a bit of professional advice and help you make a plan or write an outstanding cover letter.
Step 3: Assess Your Skills
An attractive job candidate should be skilled and qualified. Instead of listening to stories about how someone’s cousin miraculously got a position with zero to no qualifications, make a list of skills you will need to master before you go job-hunting.
Sometimes all you have to do is sign up for an online programming course or attend a few Excel classes, but specific career paths require licensure and extensive education.
Give yourself time to get the most from any course you take, and don’t cut corners. And before you go to class, carefully review the employment preferences and requirements. It may happen that what you consider an irrelevant skill is what your soon-to-be employer is looking for.
Step 4: Get Experience
This step is crucial. Even if you have extensive theoretical knowledge, it may be hard to find a job opportunity without previous industry experience. To test-drive your skills, try volunteering or apply for an intern position.
Your new salary won’t sweep you off your feet but think about it as a few months-long boot camp to a successful new job and an exceptional CV.
You can start by contacting your local organizations or hitting up your dream companies and offering a few unpaid services. If you make an outstanding performance, they might offer you a contract position.
In case, along the way, you decide that this new field is not for you, you can always quit and keep your newly acquired contact network (cultivate it just in case).
Step 5: Shift Your Brand
A professional, appealing, and put-together personal brand are what can guarantee you a successful job interview. The chances are that your competitors are veterans in the industry, so you will want to make sure that you are a standout when it comes to your CV, cover letter, and personal brand.
Perform a thorough investigation of the new field. Research who your targeted audience is and the core personal image factors to be an appealing and professional candidate.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to creative PR experts for personal branding advice. Including storytelling in your cover letter and making the design look trendy may seem unnecessary, but it’s what makes you stick out from the sea of boring and bland CVs.
Step 5: Apply for the New Position
After you take your time to assess your skills, perfect your personal brand and work on filling your CV, it’s time to file job applications.
Depending on the type and field specifications, it might take you a little longer to receive positive feedback, so don’t stress when your mailbox is silent for a few weeks.
Try to surround yourself with individuals who cheer for your success and avoid interaction with any naysayers. You deserve validation for your efforts and should settle for nothing less.
How To Convey a Successful Career Change?
Every age and reason is appropriate for a career change. Are you 35 and bored with your company? Or 40 and feel like burnout is unavoidable? Is the salary kind of low? If that’s the case, you should sit down, prepare the pros and cons list and take your time to go over all new job possibilities.
When evaluating your skills and opportunities, be aware of the present economic climate and the size (and requirements) of your new field. You may find out that you are a perfect candidate with the skills and experience you already have.
In the process, try to get involved with people who believe in you and share similar goals. You will be able to learn from them and get your name out in the industry. So find your mentors, ask the most straightforward questions, perfect your CV and take some risks!