Changing Careers

7 Success Tips for Changing Careers

Changing careers?  Most of us will contemplate making a change at some point. It might be a conscious decision or the loss of a job might be the genesis of a change.  Weather forecasters can't reliably predict the weather three days from now. How is a 22-year old supposed to pick the right career for the next 40-plus years?
The thought of a new career path can be both exciting and daunting. The risk and reward can both be high. With an effective approach, the risk can be minimized and the reward maximized.
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For greater success, consider these tips when you want to change your career:

1. Be clear on why you want to change careers.

Clearly, you're dissatisfied with your current career, but why? Too many hours? Not satisfying? Salary too low for your field? You need to understand why you wish to change careers to ensure that your new path won't result in the same situation.
* Avoid fleeing a career and taking the first opportunity. Make a conscious decision about your future and move toward it.  Work with a coach who can help you understand some of your skills and abilities as well as your dreams.

2. Understanding what you want.

Research shows that people love general characteristics about their work. The actual job doesn't matter very much. Helping people, the ability to be creative, and autonomy are a few examples. There are multiple careers that can provide the job characteristics that you crave.
* Avoid believing that you must identify the perfect job. There are several options out there that would fit the bill nicely.  It's also important to realize that you will not be in the same position for the rest of your working life.  You will probably change direction a few times.

3. Think big but be realistic when changing careers.

Depending on your age and background, the time for playing professional baseball, becoming a neurosurgeon, or sitting on the Supreme Court may have passed. Not every possible career is a viable option.  However, you may be able to find something related to your interests.  A career coach can help you with assessments and review of your skills and desires.
* Setting goals that can never be reached leads to frustration and a lack of progress.  Take some time to look at options.

4. Determine the skills and education you need for your new career.

Do you need a new degree? Public speaking skills? Computer skills? What do you need in order to transition to the next level? Begin developing the necessary skills as quickly as possible.
If you don't need a university degree, don't go to school just to have the piece of paper.  It's important to know the educational level needed for the job you want.  Can you take a college diiploma?  a certificate program? learn on the job?  Take some time to find out before you end up with a huge student loan debt.

5. Avoid quitting until you have a new job.

You may not have the option, but if possible, wait until you have another position before you leave your current job. It's surprising how quickly a savings account can be depleted when you don't have an income.  Is your resume up to date?   It's important to have a resume for your job search.  Update it every time you take on a new role and make sure it is on your computer at home and not on the office computer.
* If you've lost your job unexpectedly, consider taking any job in the short-term until you've successfully made your career change. The best part-time job would be related to your new field.

6. Realize that you may have to start at the bottom when changing careers.

You may be a plant manager for a Fortune 500 company right now, but your first position as a computer programmer might put you back into a shared cubicle, working on non-essential projects. The bigger the change, the higher probability that you'll have to start back at the beginning.
Being prepared to start at the bottom gives you a chance to learn more about your new career as well as flex your skill sets as you move up the ladder.

7. Make connections in your desired field as soon as possible.

Do you know anyone in your prospective field? Can you do an internship or volunteer? Is there a part-time position available to get your feet wet? It's so easy to connect with people today, it shouldn't be too challenging to find someone you can talk to and begin networking. Are you utilizing Linked-in as a way to find out more about companies you would like to work for and some of the people who work there.   Do you know people who know people?
Think carefully before changing careers. Ideally, this will be the only time you'll need to change careers! However you may change your career 4 or 5 times before you retire.   Check out this article.
Determine what your current career is lacking and find a new career that ticks all your boxes. Understand that you may have to begin your new career at the very beginning. But if you choose wisely, you won't even mind.
P.S.  Need some help with your resume?   Pick up some Resume Tips here

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