8 Tips for Making a Successful Career Change
Whether you’re changing careers out of choice or necessity, the idea of a career change can seem daunting. With research and preparation, however, finding a new career path doesn’t have to be difficult. By evaluating your current job satisfaction, assessing your interests and skills, and researching educational opportunities, you will be on your way to a rewarding new career. Below are eight career change tips that will ensure a fulfilling career path.
1. Evaluate your current job satisfaction If you are considering a career change, first you must evaluate your current job satisfaction. Keep daily notes regarding your satisfaction or dissatisfaction at your current job and determine if there is a recurring theme. Which aspects of your current job do you like or dislike? Is your dissatisfaction with your current job related to your job duties, the company culture, or the people you work with? Once you decide what you like or don’t like about your current job, it will be easier to determine which career will be right for you.
2. Assess your interests and skills In order to choose the right career, you need to assess your interests and skills. Review past successful roles – whether at a job, a volunteer organization, or professional group. In which type of roles did you excel? You may also want to take a career personality test to determine the type of job that is right for you based on your personality and interests.
3. Make a list of career alternatives Determine your core values and strengths by talking to the people who know you best: family, friends, networking contacts, former co-workers, etc. Ask for advice regarding potential career paths you are considering, and be open to feedback. The people closest to you might be able to provide valuable input regarding potential career choices.
4. Research the fields that interest you The only way you can know for sure if a potential new career path is right for you is to research it. Find out what type of educational background your new career requires, as well as job duties that are involved. Determine if you have any transferable skills from your current career that can be applied to the new career path you want to pursue.
5. Look for ways to develop new skills Look for ways you can develop new skills in your current job. For example, if you currently work as a web designer and you want to pursue a career in marketing, offer to assist with writing content for the company website or provide your ideas for improving your company’s marketing campaign.
6. Investigate educational opportunities If your new field requires a specific type of degree, consider taking classes while you’re at your current job. You may even want to consider contacting professional groups in your targeted field for suggestions. In some cases, you may still be able to obtain an entry level job in your field of interest while you are working on your degree. Accelerated degree programs can help you complete the career transition faster and should be considered.
7. Network The most effective way to discover new career opportunities is to start connecting with people who are already doing what you want to do. Be creative in your approach to contacting people who are influential in your chosen industry.
8. Be willing to start over In most cases, a career change means you have to go back to square one. It can mean less money, less seniority, fewer benefits, and having to prove yourself all over again. If you’re not willing to make these types of sacrifices, you may want to reconsider your decision. Keep in mind that opportunities will increase as you grow in your new field. If the new career promises a great sense of fulfillment in the long run, a little sacrifice now might be worth it.
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For someone who is considering making a career change, the process of shifting paths of life can often times be quite challenging. If you are thinking of doing this, a great way to ensure that the change goes smoothly and that you find success in your new career is through networking.
Tips for Networking
When changing careers, it is important to expand your network by seeking out events and opportunities to introduce yourself to other professionals, especially those who currently work in the field of your new desired career. Below are a few tips for networking effectively.
There are many ways you can network by making new contacts, but one of best ways is by using social media platforms to build a database of individuals in various fields. For example, LinkedIn is a media source used specifically for networking, and currently has over 467 million members, making it a great way to connect with lots of professionals that can help expand your new career potential. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/274050/quarterly-numbers-of-linkedin-members/)
Maintain Existing Connections
Some individuals decide to change careers because of built up anger toward bosses or coworkers, and end up burning bridges with a “good riddance” attitude. When transitioning to a new career, it is strongly advised to maintain the positive relationships with previous coworkers or bosses, since you never know what connection will benefit you in the future.
Develop a Professional Introduction
As you attend events or interviews and meet with others in your industry of choice, the first impression you make can play a huge role in how others perceive you and whether or not you are seen as confident and capable of working with them. To make a solid first impression through a professional introduction, include your name, what you have to offer, and the next steps you plan to take in your career. This will give others the idea that you have a strategy and an outline for your occupation, and will portray confidence that you are willing and able to work hard for and with others.
Do Your Research
Whether you are attending a networking event or walking into a job interview, one very important tip is to know what to expect. For networking events, take the initiative to look into who will be at the event so that you can form a plan for who to interact with upon arrival. For job interviews, research extensively about the company beforehand. Noting specific details about a business during the interview demonstrates that you are thoroughly interested, and willing to put in the effort even before there is an expectation.
In addition to networking successfully, changing careers may also require you to earn further education in your new field. Fremont University understands the stress of transitioning jobs, so we offer a variety of degrees and certifications that take only 15 months to complete, some of which can be completed entirely online! Contact us today to learn more and begin your path to a successful career change.