Have you ever felt like you wanted something more from your professional life? Many people find themselves in a career they do not enjoy or derive any meaning from, and they want to switch to something more fulfilling. Other people may be stuck in jobs with too many hours, too little pay, or even positions that are too physical to sustain. Whatever your reason, if you’re considering a career change, keep the following seven things in mind before you act. And the first question to consider is:
1. What Are Your Priorities in a New Career?
People pursue professions for various reasons. For example, some people have inherent interests in education, construction, ecology, and politics. People with such long-standing interests in a field typically pursue such careers fully out of love and devotion. On the other hand, some people choose careers for more logical reasons such as job security and prospective salary.
No matter where you stand, as long as you know your priorities, you’ll be able to make a successful career change. So ask yourself, what is most important to you in a new career? Is it money, work environment, passion, or something else? When you know your priorities, you can be sure you’re joining a career that will be right for you.
2. Are You Willing to Start from Ground Zero?
Think about the first job you had. Whether you were 25 or 16 years old, you were likely at the bottom of the pecking order. This has nothing to do with your age, life experience, or education—if you’re new at something, you have to build up knowledge and experience.
Now, if you’re thinking about switching careers, be mindful that the same thing will occur. So even if you’re the CEO of a company or an owner of a business, if you’re switching to something completely new, be ready to start as a beginner and gain more knowledge and experience.
While this may seem unattractive to some, think about it as a new opportunity. After all, that’s precisely what it is. When you start a new career, you start at the bottom to develop a strong foundation in the basics of whatever profession it is. Then, you learn all you can as you work your way up the ladder.
3. Are You Ready for a Potential Delay in Work?
Switching to a new career can be extremely rewarding, yet it can also prove challenging. As you’re moving into a new profession, you may not have related experience. Thus, it could be challenging to find a job. Be ready to go without work for a few months or do work unrelated to that new career until you find that new dream job. Make sure you have enough savings to cover yourself and your family.
4. Does Your Current Job Translate to Your Desired Career?
If you know what field you want to move into, analyze the job and the skills necessary to excel in that profession. Consider everything important to you in this new position. What does the day-to-day look like in that job? Do you need strong organizational skills, people skills, technical skills, or something other? Does the company reflect the organizational culture you seek? Does this job provide opportunities to advance and grow?
As you look into this profession, make a list of the most important skills, and ask yourself which you possess and which you need to work on. If your current job overlaps well, that’s great! You’ll have much less studying and work to do. However, if the new job is entirely distinct, be prepared for the amount of work you’ll need to put in to develop those skills.
To do this, you can work with an organization to train you, you may go back to school to study and learn, or you can spend time on your own developing those skills. No matter the path you choose, be prepared for the time it may take to get where you need to be.
5. Have You Spoken with Professionals in Your Preferred Field?
People always talk about the benefit of having a strong network of professionals. However, if you’re well established in your career, you might not realize the utility of this network, or you’re not taking advantage of it in a way that benefits you. Those in well established careers have more contacts at their disposal than the average, so use them.
However, for those looking for new careers and may not be established, having good connections can go a long way in helping secure your future. So consider your previous and current professional contacts, friends, and family who may be able to assist you. There is power in word of mouth, and you’ll be surprised who knows each other and have their ear to the ground regarding opportunities.
If the profession you want to move to is unrelated to your current career, you’ll need to do your best to strengthen your network. To do this, you can use platforms like LinkedIn to reach out to professionals in your desired field. Look for people that you have a connection with, whether it’s a mutual friend, past coworker, or someone you went to university with.
6. Have You Updated Your Resume?
To get any job, you need to have a resume, CV, and often, a strong cover letter. Take a look at what you have now. You will likely need to update your resume to reflect the career you’re pursuing. Consider seeking the help of a professional resume writer or someone in the field to look at your resume. Having a solid resume can help give you the edge you need to find that first new job.
7. Are You Prepared for Interviews?
The last step in the process is interviewing. When was the last time you’ve had an interview? If it’s been a couple of years or more, you should practice several times before your first one. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your switch. Always be organized, relaxed, and confident during your interview.
The interviewer may ask you why you’re interested in this job, why you think it’s a good fit for you, why you chose their company; plus, several other questions. Make sure to have a well-practiced one to two-minute-long speech about your previous experience, current skills, and your goals. Interviews are your opportunity to shine and an opportunity to learn if the company is a good fit for you.
The Bottom Line
Moving into a new career can be challenging, but the difficulty of this process shouldn’t scare anyone off. On the contrary, quitting an unfulfilling career can turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ll make. As we grow individually, our desires and goals change, thereby reflecting the change in our careers.
It’s perfectly normal to reach a point where you are have experienced a career that has run its course or that no longer satisfies you. No one is destined to stay in one type of career. You get to choose how you want to fulfill your career needs and goals.
If you’re in a career you don’t like and want a new one, consider the above seven factors before you begin the transition!