7 Essential Tips for Changing Careers   

Ginger Abbot

Aug 3, 2022
career shift

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Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life can feel like a big decision. Sometimes you may start a career and think that it’s not the right path for you. Changing careers can feel scary. However, it’s important to follow your passions. Here are seven tips to help you make a successful transition. 

1. Determine Your Interests

The first step in changing careers is figuring out what’s next. Make a list of what you like and don’t like in your current job. For example, maybe you enjoyed collaborating with others. You also want to create a list of your passions. 

Think about what excites you to get out of bed every morning. Another way to think about your passions is by asking yourself what you like to do outside of work. Also, consider the things you spend time reading about. Once you have this list, do some research and figure out what jobs align with your passions. 

2. Figure Out Your Dream Career

While you might not find your exact dream, it’s still good to have goals. Examine your list of pros and cons about your current job to get started. Also, think about your ideal work environment. Do you prefer lots of creative work or more structured projects? 

Also, consider the type of management you want. Do you want your boss to be more hands-on? Writing down this information can give you an excellent jumping-off point. 

3. Prepare Your Finances 

Keep in mind changing careers comes with a temporary pay cut. You may need to go back to school to earn a different degree or take part-time jobs. So, you want to be able to cover your living expenses. 

One step is to write down all your monthly expenses and see where you can cut back. Suppose you enjoy eating out. Then consider cooking at home a few nights a week. Also, try a few side-gigs to make some extra cash. 

For example, you could walk a neighbor’s dog or rent out a spare bedroom. In addition to saving and hustling, research the salary for your new position. Then practice living off it before starting your new career.

4. Research the Career

After you decide what you want to do, it’s time to do some research. Learn about what the career entails. Find job descriptions on sites like Indeed to get an idea of the daily responsibilities. 

You also want to find people who have worked in the field to give you some advice. Start with people in your network and then expand out. Linkedin is a great resource to connect with professionals in your dream career. You can also read industry-specific blogs or join Facebook groups. 

Along with the role, learn more about salary ranges and market demand. You want to find a field that you enjoy, but that’s also growing. For example, industrial engineers and marketing managers are currently in demand. Research if there are any specific certifications or licenses you will need. Keep in mind these often come with professional exams. So, you want to plan time for studying. 

5. Update Your Resume and Enhance Your Skills

When changing careers, you want to update your resume. Consider what skills are relevant to your new job. You may already have some transferable skills. Suppose you lead a team project at your previous job. This demonstrates leadership skills and can transfer to your new role. 

If there are traits you’re missing, then it’s an excellent time to enhance your resume. Consider taking online classes or even getting a second degree. For example, learning coding or data analysis gives you an edge over your competition. 

6. Get Experience

Once you have done the background research, you want to get some hands-on experience. Being in the actual job setting can help you determine if you like the career. Job shadowing and internships are excellent ways to learn more about the job. These experiences give you a chance to ask questions and pick up a mentor. 

They’re also an excellent way to get your foot in the door. You can find these opportunities through your connections or by attending networking events. Also, joining a professional organization can help you meet new people. 

Another thing you can do is become a volunteer. Even if you aren’t directly working in the field, it can still give you connections. Plus, volunteering can look good on your resume. 

7. Lay Out a Plan

To be successful in your career change, you need to start putting things into motion. Use your background research to come up with actionable steps. For example, do you need to take a particular class? You also want to tie up any loose ends at your previous job. 

Be sure to write down these goals and assign them dates. You want to create SMART goals, which are measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. To make a goal measurable, quantify it. For example, is there a specific salary you want to make at your new job? You can even set reminders on your phone to stay organized. 

Having steps to work towards can help you stay on track. Make sure you are regularly monitoring your progress.

How to Successfully Change Careers

Changing careers can feel a little stressful at first. However, it can also be very exciting. Follow these tips for a smooth transition into your dream job. 

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