How to Strategize Your Career Change
Table of Contents
- Making a Career Change
- 4 Tips to Make a Career Change
- Level Up on Your Skills
- 3 Ways to Learn New Skills
- Prepare for the Upheaval
- 3 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Career Change
- Wrapping It Up
Getting a job where you do what you’re passionate about is just like a dream. But even if you want to change your job, you either do not know how to get about it or how to face the challenges involved. Here are a few tips to help you make a career change if you’re not happy with your present job so you live your life without any miseries. ~ Ed.
Life is too short for you to be this miserable. At least, that’s what you say as you stumble out of bed and drag yourself to work in the mornings.
Another day, another dollar.
To say you dread going to work every day would be putting it mildly. But, you’ve got responsibilities and bills to pay, so you suck it up and trudge on.
Every once in a while though, you catch yourself daydreaming of the job you wish you had. You dream of a job that combines your passion and your strengths. A job where you feel fulfilled or satisfied. A job filled with people that seem more like friends than colleagues.
Just thinking about it makes you smile.
But before hope can spring in your heart, you push those thoughts away because now, with the world in chaos and the economy crashing, is without a doubt, the worst possible time for a career change.
If you’re looking for all the reasons not to step out of your comfort zone and make the career change your heart is beating for, you’ve got them down. You have responsibilities, people are dependent on you. Your bills aren’t going to pay themselves; they’ll probably just keep increasing. The world and the economy only seem to get more volatile and chaotic with each passing day.
There are a thousand and one reasons why you should stay exactly where you are.
Except your heart wants to do something else and you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try.
Making a Career Change
By far, leaving my well paying career job was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done in my life. While I don’t regret it for a minute, finding the courage to leave didn’t happen overnight. It was a process that took more than five years to complete. Leaving the known for the unknown is not something one should do without careful thought and planning.
While I agree that five years of thought and planning is excessive, I know the reason it took such a long time for me to make the jump was that I had to figure out everything on my own. Luckily for you, I’m willing to share the tips that I used so your switch can be faster and smoother.
4 Tips to Make a Career Change
Do extensive researches, browse through all online resources, and read personal interviews.
Research, Research, Research
This process requires intense fact-finding, learning, and discovery. You’ll need to dedicate time to learning about yourself (in case you have no idea where you want to go or what you want to do) and about what you want to do. Let’s say you want to get a higher degree in sports management. Should you do an in-person program or would it be better to do an online master’s in sports management? You’ll need to research the best way to transition into your new career, all the possible pitfalls that might arise, and the impact this change will have on your finances.
This step cannot be glossed over. It is so critical in addressing your fears that if you do not do it properly, the likelihood that you’ll abandon your career change is quite high. Or worse still, you’ll leap without making the proper preparations, then crash and burn.
However, if you do this step well, by the time you’re finished. You’ll have a realistic plan for the transition and the confidence to execute it.
The internet has brought access to information to us at the click of a button. There is nothing you want to learn or know that you can’t find, often for free, on the world wide web.
With online research, you can find out the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of your new career path. As a friend once told me, “just ask Google. Google knows all.”
Good online research will even advise you on the best way to transition to your new career, the best time to make the switch, and tips for handling the stress or the emotional impact of the transition.
With so much access to information today, there is no reason why anyone should make such a decision blindly.
If spending hours reading articles does not sound like a fun time, there are many different ways to get the information that you need.
YouTube videos bring you face to face with people who have walked the path you wish to walk. You’ll get firsthand information about their experience in your new career. If you’re lucky, you might even find a video of someone who is just entering the career path you’ve selected.
You can join them on the journey and get a realistic view of what a move to that industry would look like. They’ll tell you the tricks and the tips they used to get ahead.
Being able to see someone go through the actions helps you envision yourself doing the same thing.
Check through your network for someone who is doing what you want to do or who knows someone who is doing what you want to do.
In 2008, Microsoft conducted a study on electronic conversations among 180 million people all over the world. Though the study was limited to just their instant messenger customers, it revealed there are only six degrees of separation between two people, anywhere in the world.
This means the likelihood that someone in your network can link you up with a contact in your new field, is high. So, go through your list of friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances, and even people you know only casually and see if you can turn up someone with useful information on your new career path.
A personal interview will give you the chance to answer all the lingering questions you may have. It can also reveal critical areas that you never would have considered.
As an added benefit is, if the interview goes well you may have found a mentor to guide you in your new career path.
So work your network. You’ll be surprised by what you turn up.
Level Up on Your Skills
Your new career or job will likely require a new set of skills. During the research phase, finding out what type of training is required should be priority number one. Luckily, if money is an issue, many training programs are available online for free.
3 Ways to Learn New Skills
Join a training program, do an internship, and enroll in online courses.
Training programs help you build a network of people in your new field, which can come in handy when you start your job hunt. You get to interact with other learners and the trainer. Through classroom interaction you get to apply the theories you learn in class.
However, before you pay for any training, make sure the coach or organization is certified or experienced enough to provide it. If your new career path has a governing body, I advise that you go through them for recommendations on training.
One of the fastest ways to learn is by doing. An internship allows you to gain experience in your new industry while working in a role that can adjust to any mistakes that you may make.
But because this role is relatively junior, it requires a good dose of humility as some people view interns as gophers who conduct menial errands.
If you’re able to stick it out and prove yourself, not only will you gain valuable experience that you can put on your resume, you may even get retained where you’re doing your internship.
A good thing about the times in which we live is that people are more than happy to teach what they know for a reduced price or even for free. Many courses are available online for a wide array of skills, from dog grooming to coding to yoga to teaching to interior decorating.
Some of these courses are even quite good, so don’t assume that because they’re cheap or free they’re worthless. What you need to know is somewhere online. You just need to dedicate some time to find it.
Prepare for the Upheaval
While I don’t regret my career change for a second, it did require a major adjustment from me and my family members. Two major areas that will require adequate preparation are your mindset and your finances.
3 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Career Change
Prepare your mind, add to your savings, and find support.
Prepare Your Mind
Not everyone is going to understand your decision. Many will warn you against it. They’ll give you every reason why you should stay in the same spot that you’re in. Perhaps out of misguided love or outright jealousy, they will try to magnify your fears.
This is why I chose to keep my career change plans a secret until I was certain of my decision and my ability to stick with my convictions. If I had discussed my plans before I was mentally ready for the backlash, I never would have left.
A large part of your research phase should focus on getting information from people just like you who have done it before. It will help to build up your confidence because if they can do it, why can’t you.
Be careful what you expose your mind to. If you read about someone who tried to switch careers and failed, find out why and what lessons you can learn from him/her. Don’t just focus on their failure. Also, read about people who stepped out of their comfort zone and exceeded beyond their wildest imaginations. Success stories help to boost your morale.
Add to your Savings
If you’ve reached a mid to senior-level position in your current job, a career change will likely lead to salary reduction because you’re most likely going to start all over again. Building up your savings now will help cushion the effect of the reduction. A career change will be tasking enough without adding a lower standard of living to the mix.
Also, depending on which career path you want to take, you may need money for additional training.
Find someone who believes in you and believes in your dream. When you’re feeling discouraged or the fear is becoming overwhelming you can lean on them to support you as you go through the process.
Your support system should cheer you on and deliver a sound kick whenever you need it. When you conveniently forget your goals or procrastinate, they’ll remind you of where your journey is going.
This change is not going to be easy. It is possible to embark on it alone. But why make the journey harder than it needs to be? Find a support system that you can lean on when your strength fails you.
Wrapping It Up
You only live once. It’s your responsibility to live your life to the fullest, using all the skills you’ve developed or you were born with. Life is too short to live it being miserable every single day.
Embarking on a career change at whatever stage in life that you’re in can be a scary thought. But with research, careful planning, and support, that dream that you once thought was impossible will become a reality sooner rather than later.
Just take one tiny step every day.
Over to You
A friend once asked me if I had one year left to live, how would I spend it? Immediately, I responded that I would quit my job and do something else. She then asked me what was stopping from doing that right now.
Even as I responded to her question, I knew inside that I was just giving her hallow excuses.
So now, I’m asking you. If you had one year left to live, how would you spend it? Would you still be doing what you’re doing now? What’s stopping you from doing what you want to do now?
Disclaimer: Though the views expressed are of the author’s own, this article has been checked for its authenticity of information and resource links provided for a better and deeper understanding of the subject matter. However, you're suggested to make your diligent research and consult subject experts to decide what is best for you. If you spot any factual errors, spelling, or grammatical mistakes in the article, please report at [email protected] Thanks.