When you started on your career path you were probably so excited to get going and grow into the person you knew you wanted to become … or at least who you thought you wanted to be. Fast forward to now and you are realizing that the career you chose is not what you expected it to be. Maybe it is time for a career change!
Switching careers might seem scary, difficult or hard to imagine. Here are some tips to help you move from wanting a career change to actually landing that new job.
Your career change road map
Changing careers is a process that can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. Here are the basic steps.
- Change your mindset.
- Find out what fulfils you.
- Do your homework.
- Interview someone in your ideal career.
- Become a shadow.
- Look for openings.
- Upgrade your skills.
If you currently have a job, you can take your time moving through each step below. This is ideal, as it gives you the time you need to make a good choice.
1. Change your mindset
Before you even think about changing careers, you must decide to shift your mindset. Switching careers will be easier if you have an upbeat attitude about what this could truly mean for you and your loved ones.
If all you are going to do is think about all the negative that could come from leaving your current job for one you absolutely love, then there is no point in looking. Having an open mind to all the possibilities that await you is the best foot you can start this journey on.
2. Find out what fulfils you
If you are going to take a big step like this, you might as well choose a career that will fulfil you. The last thing you want to do is relive this sequence all over again.
Spend some time thinking about what tasks and projects make you happy.
What could you see yourself doing every day that would bring you joy? What tasks never feel like work? What are you doing when you feel most alive?
Businesses and careers are created around every task or project one can think of. Your perfect career is out there. It’s up to you to find it.
3. Do your homework
Once you have narrowed down what fulfils you, do your research and find a career that aligns with what you love to do.
This can be as simple as Googling “jobs in x.” Interest inventories and personality tests can also help point you in the right direction.
For example, if you love helping people, look for a career in customer service. If you love being outdoors, look for a career where you spend most of your time outside. If you love to paint and enjoy art, look at working in an art museum. There is a career out there that aligns with what you love to do.
4. Interview someone in your ideal career
When you know which direction you might want to go, find someone who is already working in that career and ask if you can interview them. If you say “this will only take about 10 minutes,” most people will say yes.
Tell them you are thinking of moving into their line of work and would like to ask them some questions.
Show up on time with a list of questions in hand. Make sure to end the conversation with ‘is there anything that you would like to add about being a [insert career choice]?’ This way they have an opportunity to tell you things that you didn’t think of asking.
5. Become a shadow
Going through a career change is not a simple feat and it is not something you want to be doing over again. Making the right decision (the second or third time) is very important.
Ask someone working in your dream field if you could shadow them.
Whether for a few hours or a few days, this will help you gain a strong sense of if this career is what you thought it would be. You might need to ask a few people, as you could receive a couple “nos” before you get a “yes.”
6. Look for openings
After completing the above steps, research the opportunities in the career you’re targeting. You don’t want to spend time and money on a job that no one is hiring for.
- Research through online resources like Google to see if companies are looking to hire someone in the new career path that you’ve chosen.
- Look for job postings in your local paper.
- Visit headhunter websites to see if there are any postings.
Remember tip number five and ask the person you shadowed if their company is hiring.
7. Upgrade your skills
As you work through the steps, you might discover that your ideal career requires more education. If so, evaluate if the time and the financial investment are worth it.
You can relate the worth to:
a) Your happiness in the new career and
b) The income the new career will give you.
If you are completely satisfied with the answers to these questions, then it is time to go back to school.
8. Playing it safe
Before switching careers, make sure that you will be able to cover your household expenses and family needs during the transition (if any) and once you’ve started your new job. You don’t want to make a move you will regret.
You will likely need to put in hours on weeknights and weekends to make a successful switch.
This will mean taking time away from your loved ones. But your time will not be wasted, as you will be:
- Figuring out what fulfils you.
- Talking to others in jobs that interest you.
- Upskilling with certificate programs or webinars.
- Applying for jobs in your new field.
In the end, it will all be worth it because you will be happier and healthier.
Get started on your career change now
If you are unhappy in the career you are currently in, now is the time to think about making a change. It’s your life and you only get one. Why not make it a happy one?
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