Considering making the switch to a new career?
There are many reasons why people choose to change careers. Maybe you’re looking for a new challenge, more career growth, better pay, or fewer hours, to name a few.
Regardless of your reason, a career change is a great decision. Here are 8 things to do if you are considering a major career change.
1. Understand Your Why
Before diving right into your job search, it’s important to understand why you are looking to change careers. What do you hope a new career has that the current one doesn’t?
While it may be tempting to believe that the grass is greener in a new career, that may not be the case. So why are you considering a new job?
Here are some of the reasons you may be looking to change careers:
- You want more room to grow
- You are planning to move to a different geographic location and need to change
- You want to work in a higher-paying field
- You want a constant salary against a commission
- You want to work more regular hours
- You need something with more flexibility
The reason you want to change careers doesn’t matter to anyone but you. Changing careers is challenging, so holding onto your “why” is the motivation you’ll need to keep going.
2. Take Stock of Your Skillset
Next, take an inventory of your current skills and experiences. How could they move into a new career?
Chances are that not all the skills you currently use are required in a new career. But many skills, such as project planning, communication, public speaking, and more, are in demand, no matter what career you choose.
This is also a good time to consider any additional credentials you may need to get where you want to be. Don’t forget to assess the time and money required to obtain such a credential.
3. Evaluate Potential Barriers
Career changes are common, but they are not always the most obvious things to potential employers. Chances are, no one gets it at first, so it’s up to you to connect the dots to land your first gig in your new career.
To do this, think about the questions a future employer will have about your experience. What won’t make sense to them? How can you bridge the gap for them?
Most importantly, barriers will occur. It is unavoidable. So don’t be put off when you come across one. You can anticipate some resistance to your career change and plan accordingly in advance.
4. Consider the Pay and Lifestyle
When envisioning a new career, it’s easy to see the future with pink glasses. You can imagine yourself working on your dream job, with hours of sleep and pay. While it is certainly not impossible to find all three of these characteristics in a new career, one often comes at the expense of the other.
For example, a corporate attorney can earn a hefty paycheck, but the billable hours can be incredible. On the other hand, a regular 9-5 may not pay as well, but the hours are much more enjoyable.
Finding a career with a balance is entirely possible, so be sure to wait for the right field that works for you and your lifestyle.
5. Get First or Second-Hand Experience
Next step: get experience in your new career of choice.
Ideally, you can set it up to follow someone in their new career. However, if you are currently working crazy hours, this might not be realistic. If that’s the case, a second-hand experience is certainly better than nothing.
For second-hand work experience, ask to meet with professionals in your new career. Ask them questions about what a day in life is like for them at work. You can even ask if they have any projects that they would be willing to let you volunteer for.
Experience is vital to making sure you love your new career before you leap. If you can gain experience of any kind, you will find that you will be much more confident executing your career twist.
6. Research Companies
Sure, a job in a new career might sound great, but before switching, it’s vital to know what kinds of companies you can expect to work for.
Are there job openings in your field in your area? Are the companies you would like to work with in the future? Do they pay well? Do they have solid reviews from other employees?
Doing your research before changing careers will ensure you have future job prospects. After all, what’s the point of changing careers if you can’t find a job in that field?
7. Consider the Timing
Is now a good time to change careers? Do you have the time and energy to devote to the learning curve of embarking on a new career?
Changing careers is a big commitment and will require more energy than you might initially imagine. Make sure the time is right for you and your family so that you can ensure their full support.
8. Start a Side Hustle
Lastly, if you’re not quite ready to dive headfirst into a new career, consider starting a side hustle.
A side hustle is a great way to learn new skills firsthand and try out a job before committing to making the switch full-time. For example, if you have considered moving into the field of teaching, it can be an additional tutor to familiarize yourself with before leaving your day job.
And in addition to experience, the hustle and bustle can give you access to a vast network of professionals in your field. Who knows? You may know someone who can open the door you need to enter a new career!