How to Change Careers

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September 9, 2020
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min read

Whether you're just starting out or have been working in a job for years, it is normal to start to think that your current career path might not be what you want. Very few people start and end their working lives doing the same job or in the same field of work.

Even though changing careers is commonplace, it can be difficult to know where to start. A change of career is a big decision and it doesn't simply happen overnight. The following article will run through some of the most important considerations to make before making a career change and how to do so successfully.

Research your Chosen Career

The most important thing you can do before making a career change is to inform yourself. Research every facet of your proposed career and work life, and get yourself clued up on all the important facts.

Before diving in headfirst, you'll want to know what sort of salary you can expect to earn, what you could expect to do on a daily basis, what your career progression might look like, what job availability in your area is like, and whether you are qualified, among other things.

There is plenty to find out and a lot of research to be done before you can make a decision as big as this. When your careers change, it will take time to figure things out, but the more you know and the better informed you are, the better the chance you have of making a successful change in career.

Are you Qualified?

As touched upon above, before starting your new career, you will need to make sure you are qualified. Your new career may be in a completely different field from your current one and you may lack the necessary qualifications to get your dream job.

This might mean you are starting from lower down the ladder than you had first anticipated or that you need to take time out to earn your qualifications when you change career.

Aside from qualifications, many jobs require a certain degree of relevant experience. If you lack this experience, you may not be able to make up for it in other ways and may need to reconsider your new career. Starting from scratch might not be for everyone, especially if you cannot afford a pay cut.

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Jobs in Your Area

Another consideration you will need to take before making a career change is whether you can find employment. This may go without saying, but it is worth highlighting. Just because you are fully qualified and have experience does not guarantee you will find work, especially in your local area.

Find out how competitive the job market is in your chosen field and whether finding a job within your vicinity would be viable. You do not want to quit your current job only to find that your new career is not viable for one reason or another.

If there aren't any jobs in your area for your prospective career, consider how badly you want it. If your heart is set on it and everything else accommodates it, consider commuting further or even moving to make sure you can secure the job you want. Of course, a decision as big as this shouldn't be taken lightly, so think very carefully about how much this job would mean to you and your work life.

Rewrite your Resume

A career change also means a change in resume. For some, this will only be a minor adjustment, but for others, this might be a total overhaul. If your resume doesn't fit the job you are after, then it needs changing.

Any new skills, relevant experience, and qualifications needs to go on your resume in place of irrelevant information from your last career. With this, any cover letter you write will change and you will have to keep this in mind when applying for a new job.

Before beginning your job search, one of the first things you should do is to make sure your resume is up to date and ready. If you haven't looked at your resume in a long time, it's time to revisit it.

Use your Contacts

Finding employment is rarely easy and it is all the more difficult when changing careers. One way in which it can be made simpler is to use your contacts.

Ask people who may know something about your new career if they have any advice. Friends and family may be able to point you in the right direction or have some expertise in the field. Colleagues at your current work may have previously worked in the industry and might be able to help with your career move.

If you do not know anyone who could help with your career change, reach out online. LinkedIn is a great platform to find like-minded people perhaps going through a similar change or professionals who may have already had a successful career change. Do not hesitate to get in contact with them and ask as many questions as possible.

In Summary

A career change is a big decision to make and should not be taken lightly. Do not leave your current job without a full plan of action, up to date application documents and a thorough job search.

Ideally, you want everything in place to start your new career before you take any necessary steps. Do as much research as possible and make sure you are well-informed before making such a large commitment. If you follow each and every one of the steps listed above, you will no doubt increase your chances of a smooth, stress-free career change.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first steps to take when considering a career change?

The first steps include self-assessment to understand your interests, values, and skills, researching new fields, and networking with professionals in those areas. It's important to set realistic goals and create a plan that outlines the steps you need to take, such as additional training or education.

How can I gain experience in a new field before fully committing to a career change?

You can gain experience by volunteering, taking on part-time work, or pursuing internships in your desired field. Additionally, you might consider freelance projects or shadowing professionals to get a hands-on understanding of the new career.

What should I consider when updating my resume for a career change?

Focus on transferable skills that are relevant to the new industry, and consider a functional or combination resume format to highlight these abilities. Tailor your resume to each job application, emphasizing how your background equips you to excel in the new career path.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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