So you have reached a point in your career where you are ready for something new. The job you have just isn’t fulfilling or challenging enough, or you’re incredibly unhappy and need to find something that you’re happier doing. It’s time for a career change.
But how do you go about making the change? What sort of challenges will you face?
Making a career change is not easy, but you can do it.
You are Your Biggest Obstacle
You know yourself best. If you can look at your situation objectively and see the telltale signs - you dread going to work every day, you dislike many aspects of either your position or your organization - then you know you need to change it. There is always fear when trying something new or different. There’s the fear of a possible salary cut, not having support, of starting over again and having to work from the bottom up (especially if you’ve already put in quite a few years at your current organization or you are closer to retirement).
These fears are all stemmed from yourself. Only you can decide if you’re going to take the plunge and change careers. How important is it to you to do what makes you feel more fulfilled in an unfulfilling or dead-end job? Think about your desires in life - how do you want to feel when you wake up every morning? This is about your life, your health and relationships.
You’re Lost with Where To Go
Maybe you have figured out that you need to make a change, but your mind is a complete blank when it comes to where you’d like to go or what you’d like to be doing instead. Set aside some time to make lists of things like your strengths and passions, and research what sort of careers line up with those skills and abilities. Assess yourself and your situation, and what is best for you. You can also read some books or guides on how to choose your next career, or take some psychometric tests that will help you find your ideal industry.
Have a Solid Support System
One thing you should know when taking on a career change is not to go into it alone. Make sure you have a good support system in place, whether it be a spouse, family member, or close friend. It can even help to have a career or lifestyle coach to help you along. This can help with getting through your fears because your support will be there to cheer for you to take the leap and make the changes you need to. Not to mention, they can be there to help bounce ideas off of when you’re figuring out your next steps, or utilize to shadow if one of your friends or family has a career that you are interested in pursuing.
"Make sure you have a good support system in place, whether it be a spouse, family member, or close friend."
Do it on the Side, to Start
When you have figured out what career you want to go into, and what piques your interest, but you’re still too scared to jump right into it, then consider doing it on the side for a while. Many people choose to take on side gigs while still keeping their full-time employment to see where it takes them, and this could be a great option to get you started on your transition into a new career. It’s worth looking into possible side jobs or ways you can start.
Set Goals & Get Training
Be proactive and put your plan to change careers into motion. Start setting some goals of where you’d like to be at 3, 6, 12 months from now. Put a plan into place that you can follow so that you’re more likely to achieve it. Setting a timeline puts more pressure on you to get it done, and helps create the self-discipline that you will need to set yourself up for the change. If it helps, write down your goals and your action plan to getting them done. Put dates on your calendar of where you’d like to be in your job searching and interviewing by a certain time, so you can follow through.
It also helps if you take some training, especially if the field or industry you’re interested in going into requires more training. If you are truly ready to change career paths, it is important to take note of what requirements, licenses or certifications you might need to give you an edge on the competition.
Once you have taken the steps to start in your new career path, make sure you plan how you will handle the interview process. Chances are that the hiring manager(s) will want to know why you are making a career change and it is important to steer the conversation in a way that helps you to shine. Making the change doesn’t mean that you have to backtrack; just apply your knowledge, skills, and experience to a new area and lead you to feel more fulfilled and happy in your career.
Are you ready?!