How to Change Careers

Are you stuck in a job that simply isn’t you? Are you ready for a change, but have no idea where to start or what else you could possibly do? There are many different reasons that could cause you to seek out a career change.

Maybe your values and goals have changed and evolved over time, maybe you have developed new interests in life that you would like to introduce into your working world, or maybe you just want a more flexible schedule to a higher income.  

Before you jump into this decision, it is important to sit down and evaluate your current situation and explore your various career options to find the best one for you.  

Finding a New Career  

If you already know what you want to shift into, then that is great. However, it is not so easy of a decision for most people. Before you begin applying willy-nilly, it is helpful to determine a general scope of what you would like to be doing. Whether you want to make a minor adjustment or a drastic 180, it is easy to be overwhelmed with options.  

It is time to get your mind out of that cloudy mess of uncertainty and an endless void of different unopened doors. Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself in order to narrow down your options and get your mind searching for what you truly want from life:

  1. What has always been something that you have been interested in and that you have always wanted to be able to do?
  2. If you could trade jobs with one of your friends, who would you choose and why?
  3. If you could go back to school, what would you major in and why?
  4. If you had the right skill set and educational requirements, what would you try and why?
  5. If your current boss or supervisor would allow you to, what would you do more of?
  6. If you had to put in some time “working” on whatever you wanted on a weekend, what would it be?
  7. What do you want to be known for when you retire?   

Once you are finished going through all of these, take a moment to look over your answers. You might see that there are clearly defined patterns, such as everything you wrote has something to do with playing a sport or designing the intricate interiors of homes. Having even a general scope of interests in mind will help you to focus on a path and what you need to attain to change careers.      

How to Change Careers  

It is too easy to cruise through life while on auto-pilot, never taking the time to determine what you honestly want in a career. However, people aren’t known to thrive by mindlessly wandering to a particular job or industry; they succeed by exploring their likes, motivations, strengths, and dislikes. When it comes down to it, following these simple steps will help you through the process of changing careers:

Don’t Second Guess Yourself  

Take a step away from the line of thinking of what you “should” be doing with your life and perform an honest evaluation of yourself. When you make the decision to take the leap outside of your comfort zone of employment, you may be faced with the unsettling feeling of fear. At these times, you may feel self-doubt and start to wonder if things are as bad as you’re imagining, or if it is all in your head.  

Because you have invested so much into your current path, it is easy to feel like changing your ways now would be a waste of time. This is when it is important to remember the cost of not changing your ways by remaining with a job that depletes you mentally and physically.

Instead of dwelling on the past and what you will be giving up, focus on obtaining a path that will challenge you and make you feel fulfilled and happy. If this vision feels, sounds, and looks better, move your sights to this new trajectory.

Check Out Your Job Options  

Start doing some research after you have assessed your values, interests, and skills. There are plenty of free tools online to help give you some insight into some possible jobs that suit your interests and that are in demand.

Conduct a preliminary job search to identify a couple targets that sound particularly interesting to you for further research. Simply Googling some of the careers that sound like viable options can present you with a plethora of information, such as average salaries, workloads, and general overviews of what responsibilities they consist of.

Act and Follow Through

While the process of researching potential jobs and clarifying your strengths and weaknesses is important, these steps are worthless unless you are able to follow through. It is time to actually do something about your situation instead of just sulking in your present misery. The antidote to self-doubt is action.  

Look for micro-learning chances that are low risk yet allow you to exercise the skills that you do have. This can be as small as finding an organization you are interested in joining and following them on social media. By doing this, you can reach out to someone who has a career path that you admire and keep in touch with them to learn and grow yourself. Networking is a skill that is crucial to have, especially when you are looking to break into a new market. Networking will help you market yourself. As you do so, make sure you have an updated resume and cover letter that you are handing out.

Expand Your Skills  

No one is ever done learning. So, why not take a class? Any educational opportunity that comes along is worth investigating, and this could help bridge your new field with your former background. A local community college will offer plenty of helpful evening courses and even online courses. Attending seminars and getting in contact with professional groups is another great way to jump start your career change. 

The Bottom Line

The takeaway from all this is that it is possible and within reach for you to change careers, no matter what age or stage of professional life you may be at. By determining your interests, researching your options, and following through, you’ll be able to set realistic goals for yourself and finally make the shift into the career you’ve always dreamed of. 

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