Have you been toying with an idea of trying out a new career? You’re in the right place.
Professionals change careers for many different reasons. Your values or career goals may have changed. Or you discovered new interests that you would like to serve as the foundation for your professional life. Other common reasons why people change careers are more flexible work hours or higher pay.
But before you decide to change careers, it’s essential that you take the time to evaluate your present situation, explore various career options and choose a job that will bring you more satisfaction. Here are 9 tips to help you make that move and change your career.
1) Evaluate your current career
Your first step is to take a closer look at your current profession. Take your time in assessing your situation and write down all your reactions. You can keep a journal for that purpose. Look for recurring themes like the aspects of your current job you dislike or like.
Now consider the source of your satisfaction or lack thereof. It is related to the content of your work, the company culture, or your colleagues?
If the last two are the primary sources of your dissatisfaction, you should consider changing the workplace, not necessarily your entire career. However, if it’s the content of your work that bothers you, it’s time for a change.
2) Assess your skillset
If you been part of the workforce for some time now, you probably acquired many different skills that you might not even be aware of. Write down all your skills and start thinking about them in the context of other careers.
How many of your skills can be transferred to other lines of work? Which skills would you like to take with you to your next career? Which skills or experiences are you happy to leave?
Once you know what your skills are and what you would like to develop, you will be able to choose your next carrier easily.
3) Consider alternative careers
Now it’s time to brainstorm ideas for alternative careers. Research your career options and discuss the topic with your friends and family. It also pays to get in touch with your networking contacts – they might help you come up with ideas for a new career.
If you’re having difficulty at this point, it’s a good idea to meet with a career counselor who will provide you with professional advice.
Conduct a preliminary evaluation of different fields to identify several targets you will research in-depth. All it takes is Googling the jobs that interest you to find a wealth of information.
Once you pick a sector, you need to gain as much insider information as possible. And the best way to understand the internal culture of an industry is talking to an insider. Put your networking skills to use and spread your net wide.
Get in touch with anyone from junior to senior employees to understand how the industry works and whether career changers are accepted.
As an older job seeker, you had more time to get to know people and your network of professional contacts will be of great help in getting information.
If you find a position in a company where you would like to work, have a look around to check whether you know any insiders or people who could connect you with them.
Let them know that you are looking for a job in the sector and ask them whether they would be willing to help you out. Naturally, you should offer to return the favor once they give you a hand.
5) Shadow people
Shadowing professionals in your field of choice is the best way to learn the inner workings of the job. You spend a few hours or even a few days shadowing people who occupy positions that are of interest to you. Get in touch with them through your college career office – that’s where you will find alumni volunteers who may be willing to host job shadowers.
6) Try the job
Look for volunteer or freelance activities that are related to your chosen sector – these activities will enable you to see how it works on an everyday basis and test your interests.
For example, if you would like to switch your career to publishing, you could try getting in by editing a local newspaper or the newsletter for the association to which you belong.
7) Educate yourself
If your new dream career requires extra knowledge you don’t have, consider taking an evening course at your local college or university. You can also choose an online course.
You will spend some time on the seminars during weekdays or weekends, but in return, you will gain plenty of knowledge that will come in handy at your new job.
Look for other ways to develop skills that are requested in your dream career. For example, if grant writing is valued, you can offer to write a grant proposal. Does your company provide in-house training?
Sign up for classes that will help you polish your skill set to work a job you want.
8) Keep your resume short
It’s easy to let your resume become too long. You might be tempted to include every bit of professional information your CV, but just like any other job seekers, you should keep the document to one page or two pages at maximum.
Most employers aren’t interested in reading pages and pages of text so keep it concise and relevant to the role. Read the job description of the position you’re applying to carefully and identify the goals your employer wants you to work for. Then tie them to your work experience, and you’re done.
Capture your employer’s attention now and bring out the rest of your work experience, including your previous career, at the job interview stage.
9) Freshen your skills
It’s common for older job seekers to be dismissed as professionals who are likely to have antiquated skills – especially those that relate to technology. Stay current with technology. Keep up with the current trends and software changes.
Show that you’re tech-savvy by including your LinkedIn URL or your Twitter handle in your email signature line. Use LinkedIn to share content and remember to add the technology skills section on your resume if they are essential for your new career line.
Take these 9 steps, and you’ll be on your way to changing your career and working your dream job