10 Steps to a Successful Career Change
Whether you're feeling burnt out in your current job or want to explore new opportunities, making a career switch can be daunting. Your networking skills, job applications, and interview approach can be a little rusty after being employed for so long. On top of that, navigating a new industry or field can be overwhelming, especially after learning so much in a different area. But with the proper steps, going through a career change can also present a world of opportunity for your career.
1. Create a Plan
When making a career change, starting with a plan is essential; otherwise, you can get caught up in the details of your new field. This plan should include timelines and internal deadlines for yourself, as well as goals you'd like to achieve. To make this process easier, start by identifying your "why": Why are you motivated to make this career change? What do you hope to achieve with this transition? Once you have a good understanding of your motivations, you can start researching different career options.
2. Do Research On Your New Career
If you're considering a career change, the first step is to do your research. You'll want to understand what the new field entails and what kind of work is involved, so you don't find yourself deep in an interview process without actually liking the career. Talking to people already working in the field, reading articles and books, and attending informational meetings can help guide your decision. Once you have a good understanding of what's involved, you can start working on your plan.
3. Identify Your Transferable Skills
When transitioning to a new career, it's crucial to focus on the transferable skills you have developed in your current role. These skills can be tailored to fit a new industry or position, and highlighting them in your job applications and interviews can help you stand out as a candidate. Common transferable skills can include:
- Communication: The ability to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing, is essential in any job.
- Problem-solving: Identifying and solving problems quickly is a valuable skill in any field, so having examples of times you exhibited this skill is vital.
- Time management: Managing your time effectively and getting organized is crucial in any job, especially when juggling multiple tasks or deadlines.
4. Invest In Your Own Development
No matter your reasons for changing careers, investing in your development is essential. Taking classes and workshops to improve your skills will make you more marketable to potential employers and give you the confidence you need to succeed in your new field. And if things don't go as planned, having the skills and knowledge to fall back on will help you get back on your feet quickly. So if you're thinking about making a career change, remember to invest in your own development first and foremost.
5. Update Your Resume and Online Profiles
Most people don't realize that their resume and online profile are often the first things potential employers will look at when considering them for a job. As such, it's important to make sure these documents are up-to-date and reflect the new career you're pursuing. Start by ensuring that your resume is keyword optimized and highlights your relevant skills and experience. Then, take some time to update your professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn, highlighting any projects or accomplishments relevant to your new field. These simple steps will help you put your best foot forward as you embark on your new career journey.
6. Network With People In Your Desired Field
Networking with people in your desired field is crucial in changing your career. It allows you to meet people already working in the field and get advice from them. You can learn about different job opportunities, the work environment, and what kind of training or education is required. Networking can also help you make connections with potential employers. If you are looking for a job in a specific company, meeting someone who works there can give you an inside look and what it takes to get hired.
7. Prepare For Your Interviews
You've landed your first interview in your new field — congratulations! The next step is to prepare for your interviews. Interviews can be daunting, but with some preparation, you can set yourself up for success. It's essential to take some time to research the company and the role you're interviewing for. This approach will help you to understand their culture and what they're looking for in a candidate. In addition, practicing common interview questions will help you to feel more confident and reduce the chance of being caught off guard during the interview. Finally, make sure you have a few questions of your own prepared. This practice will show that you're interested in the role and have done your research.
8. Negotiate a Salary That Reflects Your Worth
As you transition careers, it is crucial to negotiate a salary that reflects your worth. When changing fields, your previous salary is not necessarily indicative of your current earning potential. Do your research to find out the average salary for someone with your skills and experience in your new field. Use this information as a starting point when negotiating your salary. Be confident in your value, and be prepared to back up your ask with data.
9. Constantly Evaluate Your Career Change
It can be easy to get comfortable in a career, even if it's not the right fit. That's why it's critical to get into the habit of reflectively evaluating if you enjoy your job on a regular basis. This approach can help ensure that you're always in the right role, career, and company.
10. Create A Plan B
Going through the process of a career is no simple feat. Not only do you have to figure out what you want to do, but you also have to deal with the possibility that it might not work out. That's why it's so important to have a Plan B. Figure out your backup options before you make the switch. That way, if things don't work out, you'll know your next steps. Talk to people who have made similar changes and see what they would have done differently. Research your new field inside and out. The more prepared you are, the less likely it is that things will go wrong. And finally, remember that a career change is a big decision, so take your time and ensure you're 100% sure before you make the leap.
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