HOW TO CHANGE CAREERS (Step-by-Step Guide)
Photo by Mia Moessinger
You’re not required to love your first (or second, or third) career. It is becoming more common for people to radically shift directions in their professional life as they realize that they deserve more than just a paycheck from their job. You don’t need to settle for anything less than a career that thrills you.
If you’re ready to switch careers, we’ll walk you through what you need to know to do it.
8 SIGNS THAT YOU NEED A CAREER CHANGE
Not sure if a career change is right for you? Here are some reasons it may be time to switch direction.
1. You’re Not Passionate
You go to work, you do your job, but you’re not inspired by your role. You look at your current career as a chore, not a pleasure. You lack motivation, but you know that’s because you simply don’t care about the kind of work you do.
2. You Feel Imprisoned
When you envision yourself working in this same career for the long term, you are filled with dread. Every minute of the day you feel like you’re in a cage. You itch to escape.
3. You Feel Envious of Others
You go out with friends and listen to their work stories. Maybe some of them work in a field that excites you. Maybe you’re jealous because they seem so much happier than you are. Either way, you wish you had chosen a different path than the one you’re on.
4. You’re Underpaid
Whether you love or hate your career is irrelevant because the fact remains: You’re underpaid. You research the market to see how much you could make in your current career and you’re not pleased with the results. You’re not sure you could make enough to compensate for the effort you put into your work.
5. You Don’t Have a Good Work-Life Balance
You don’t see your friends, family, or partner nearly enough. You can’t remember the last time you treated yourself to something nice because you’re always working. You’re struggling up the corporate ladder, but your personal life suffers because of it.
6. Your Health is on the Decline
You don’t have time for the gym, you eat whatever junk is quick and easy and the stressful work environment causes you to lose sleep, which results in exhaustion, illness, and irritability. You’re worn out and you know it.
7. You Have No Connection with Your Co-Workers
You haven’t been able to form a community in your office. You don’t resonate with your co-workers and you spend a lot of time alone. The effect is draining as you feel isolated and lonely.
8. You’re Reading This Guide
Odds are if you’ve chosen to peruse this article, you already want to change careers. You just may not know how. Luckily, the next section covers ways to transition out of your current career and into the career you desire.
THINGS NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT A CAREER CHANGE
It’s not all easy, and it’s not all hard. Be prepared for what’s to come with these career shift “hidden facts.”
You’ll Experience Doubt
It’s hard to change. It’s harder when the change requires you step outside your comfort zone. You may doubt yourself at times, which is why it’s so important to commit to yourself before you begin the journey in earnest. Your initial resolve will carry you through moments of uncertainty.
You’ll Get Pushback
Some people won’t understand what you’re doing. That’s okay – they don’t need to. All that matters is that you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You’ll also have plenty of people who support you, too. Stick with the ones who stick with you and let the critics and pessimists stay behind.
Mistakes Will Happen
To expect yourself to be perfect as you enter into a new industry is unfair. You’re not going to know everything and that’s okay. You’ll learn.
You’ll Be So Proud of Yourself
While the road may be long and hard, you’ll be fulfilled at the end of it. You’ll be happier and healthier, and you won’t look back.
TIPS ON HOW TO CHANGE YOUR CAREER
If you went through the list above and identified with multiple reasons to leave, then you know it’s time to make a change. Commit to yourself that you will transition to a new career that you actually want to have and get ready to do the work to get there. These tips will help you on your way.
1. Assess Yourself
You’ve made the decision to switch careers, but you’re not sure what career you want instead. Make a list of what you know how to do, what you love to do, what you’ve already done, and what you want to achieve. What stands out? See what items give you that feeling of excitement when you read them. That will help guide you into potential career choices.
2. Explore Options
After you’ve made and evaluated your list, there should be some potential career ideas present. Take time to investigate some of your top choices to see if they’re a good fit in reality, or just in your mind. Interview people in the field, take a class, search online and narrow down your list to the potential new careers that excite you the most.
3. Choose a Direction
Eventually, you will have to pick a path and go for it. If you’ve made your lists and done your homework, you should have a solid idea for where you want to go. Don’t move forward with the next steps until you do.
4. Write an Action Plan
Once you’re clear on what you want, map out how you’re going to get there. Do you need additional training? Which companies in specific do you want to target? Who do you need to contact and what do you need to have in place before you go after your new career? How do you need to market yourself to ensure that potential employers can see that your past experience and your skills translate into exactly what they need?
5. Make Connections (and Leverage the Ones You Have)
You’ll need to expand your network to include those who are in the field you want to be in. Work through Linkedin, ask members of your current network who they know that could be of help and attend functions that will allow you to meet people in line with where you want to go.
2 MAJOR PIECES OF ADVICE YOU NEED TO KNOW
These two tips are so essential to a positive transition that they needed a section all to themselves.
Save Your Cash
Don’t use money as a reason to stay where you’re unhappy. Rather, include it as a part of your plan to move forward. Budget your finances wisely so that you are in a position to make a radical jump if necessary. The more financially stable you are the more freedom you have to make a move in another direction.
Ask for Help
If you’re going to make a change, you’ll need some help. Find someone to mentor you who is where you want to be. It’s not helpful to ask for guidance from someone who has never walked the road you want to go down.
You can go it alone, but it will take longer, and you’ll make far more mistakes than if you gather resources from those who have already taken the journey you’ve just begun.
To change your career isn’t always an easy task but it is absolutely possible. You spend the majority of your day at work – you deserve to be in a role that inspires you. Implement these tips, follow the guidelines presented and gather good people around you to help you on your way. Before you know it, you’ll be in a new career and the only thing you’ll be wondering is: Why didn’t I make the change sooner?
NEED HELP WITH CHANGING YOUR CAREER?
We want to help you get the job of your dreams. Check out our online course “How to Land Your Next Job.” It’s full of wisdom, action steps and information you need to know to make the change you desire. In no time you’ll be on your way to a new career and a happier, healthier you.