A career changeover can be an exciting path to pursue, but it can also be an intimidating feat. After all, if you’re planning on switching to an entirely different industry, or you’re still trying to figure out what you might want your next career path to be, you may have a lot of questions and uncertainties. You’ll be starting from scratch and from the ground up, so it’s only understandable to feel that way. But if you know deep down that it’s time to make a change, then a career changeover can be the best decision you’ll ever make. With hard work, dedication, and the right training, you’ll be thriving in your new career in no time.
The following tips can help professionals considering a career changeover. They are classified as three general stages that precede the action: self-assessment, exploration, and preparation.
1. Determine What You Like (and Don’t Like) About Your Current Job
It is an exciting, yet unnerving moment when you recognize that your career is no longer as stimulating as it once was. As you come to terms with the need to seek a new career path, it is prudent to consider what parts of your current career path weren’t for you, while also identifying what aspects of your job you did enjoy.
This encourages you to carefully consider your current career and decide whether a lateral change within the company could be more fitting than a complete career changeover. If it is time to move on, this self-reflection will enable you to custom-build a position that will better meet your career needs in the future.
2. Assess Your Interests, and Personal Values
As you find what you’ve enjoyed about your current career, particular career niches will come to mind that might suit these interests. While some are a spur of the moment consideration, others will be solid leads for your future careers.
This is also the perfect time to consider your personal values and what you are willing to sacrifice to reach your new goals. Making a list of possible vocations to research later will help you to stay organized and focused on your objectives.
It’s important to pick a career path that is intriguing to you based on your interests. People change, and it’s okay if your interests have changed, too. This may or may not be a reason as to why you’ve decided to change career paths. Regardless, you’ll want to be sure that the next career you pursue is in an industry you’re passionate about.
3. Transferrable Skills
When people change professions, there are concerns about their ability to learn the ropes for a completely different sector. Many skills are transferable to other careers, especially when you consider generalized education credentials. However, if you are planning on a completely new career path, learning the basics is a necessity. If you know some of the fundamentals, advancing your skills can be a good way to land your first job in a new industry. Enrolling in the online training course that best aligns with the new industry you’d like to work in is the perfect first step.
For instance, someone who has spent years working as a Human Resources Manager has a host of transferrable skills for government consultation work: facilitation skills, conflict resolution skills, hiring policies experience, etc. It is easy to pigeonhole the work you have done but now is the time to consider the ways your specialties make you valuable wherever you go.
4. Go Over All Options
If you’re eager to make a major career change, it can be tempting to rush through the process so that you can get started in your new role as quickly as possible. But before committing to a new career path, be sure to take the time to carefully consider and research all options. Make a list of the pros and cons of each career path that interests you, including available opportunities, average salary, required credentials, advancement opportunities, and other important considerations.
It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s a necessary step in ensuring that you select the career path that’s best for you. Try to get your list narrowed down to no more than three possibilities and then go from there.
5. Experience It for Yourself
One of the best ways to decide whether a certain role is best for you is to experience it for yourself, if possible. Seek out volunteer opportunities and internships that are related to the career or industry you want to pursue to get a more realistic idea of what your new career would look like. If it’s not possible to get any experience first hand, find out if you personally know someone who works in the industry you’re striving to work in. Ask them all about it — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Getting feedback from others gives you an unfiltered glimpse to truly learn more about a specific profession, which can help you narrow down your final choices
6. Creating a S.M.A.R.T. Action Plan
Creating an action plan helps to organize your thoughts and provides a checklist as you move forward. Specifically, the S.M.A.R.T. action plan offers a specific checklist of items to ask yourself whenever you are faced with a big decision. When it comes to a career changeover, go through the different items of the S.M.A.R.T. method, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. When it comes to switching careers, it doesn’t necessarily have to be specific, but it should be measurable, achievable, and realistic. If it’s time-bound, it can add stress to the change but doesn’t necessarily mean it should be discarded. However, it is just important to note if you are under any time restrictions and adhere to any deadlines.
If you have an extensive professional network, you may have already reached out for advice and support. If you haven’t, now is the time to do so. Networking is a great way to learn more about the industry you’re interested in, including potential opportunities and open entry-level positions.
8. Training and Education
During your research you should have found education and training requirements for your new career, and now is the time to navigate through them. If your current career is able to offer any of the needed preparation you should take advantage of it.
Not only will it aid you in your new career, but it will enhance the work that you are already doing. If that is not an option, then you will need to spread out and seek those services elsewhere. Do not overburden yourself during this process. Remember that becoming a specialist in your field took time and be ready to put the same amount of effort into this phase while maintaining your current job.
One of the most important parts of your new career change is to enroll in an accredited online program that focuses on the industry you’re interested in working in. Not only can the right program provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your new role, but with a focused certification, you can stand out amongst other candidates that may have more generalized credentials or no formal training at all.
9. Job Search
You should start applying for jobs when you are about three to six months away from completing the training or education that is required for your new career. There are numerous reasons to do so:
- Finding a job can be time-consuming, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will find what you are seeking.
- Interviewing in a new career niche will take some practice, as you may not be as familiar with the questions due to being new to the industry.
- Practice is important. This will help you identify any gaps in your experience or comprehension of the industry, and in turn, help you become more knowledgeable in the new area you’re pursuing.
- This will expand your network of professional support in your new field.
10. Gaining Experience
While you are job-searching, you may come across opportunities to volunteer or work part-time. Do your best to make the time to commit to at least one new opening in your field, regardless of pay, because the experience and networking is priceless.
A combination of on-the-job experience, specialized training, and transferable skills will take you far during your quest for a new career. As you transition from your old career to your new one, these steps should help you along the way. Preparing yourself for the change is the biggest hurdle, so make sure that you plan well and stick close to your goals to ensure your success.
For more ideas on how to execute a successful career changeover, you should research online training options to understand what options you might be interested in pursuing. We offer dozens of free online courses through our SkillUp program that give you the opportunity to explore your options without making a significant investment. Check it out today!