How to Make a Career Change
The average person changes careers 5-7 times in their working life. With an increasing number of career choices, much of the workforce even changes careers or jobs every 12 months.
You might be influenced to change careers by any number of things. You might be seeking higher pay, better perks, career advancement options, or a better work-life balance. It might have to do with a stressful work environment or a relocation. Or maybe you’ve been impacted by a layoff, outsourcing, an economic crisis, or a bad boss. Maybe the job is just a bad fit.
Moreover, with COVID-19 disturbing our daily lives over the course of the past year and impacting so many industries, more people than ever are being forced to make career changes and look for new jobs. While it may seem like a bad moment to start a job hunt, waiting will only make the transition more difficult.
Are you one of the people that are yearning for a change? Have economic conditions forced you to look for a new job? Do you feel unprepared for this new, constantly changing job market?
Changing careers isn’t as difficult as you think. Here are the career change steps that will get you there.
Where to Start and What to Focus On
The most difficult part of making a career change is taking action. About 80 % of people are not happy with where they are in their career and ask themselves if they should do something about it. And they ask themselves that... for years. Don’t keep questioning; start doing something about it.
Sit down with a pen and paper and start brainstorming. What are you qualified for? What are you passionate about?
Take some time to make a list of what you would like to do, what qualifications and skills are needed for the job, and which of those you already possess. Cross-reference them and see if you could be the right fit for the position.
For example: Has becoming an English teacher always been your dream? Think about how proficient you are in English. Do you enjoy teaching? What qualifications and certifications do you already have? It is important to make an informed decision about what you are doing. In the end, it is about your job and your life, so it’s important to give this some real thought.
Next, explore what fields are expanding, what companies are growing, and who the key employers are. Find out what kind of talent are they looking for and what personality type suits the position. Where can you find all of this information?
Start reading newspapers, business press, employment websites, and most importantly, start talking to people that you know in positions that you would like to start working in.
“Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They’re attached to people. If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for a person.”
- Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
People can be your most valuable resource. They can serve as guidance and give you the advice you need to get ahead. They will be the ones directing you to open positions and opening doors to new opportunities.
Connect with professional groups online and in person. They can help you learn about the industry and provide you with the necessary connections.
Making the Shift
Don’t get discouraged by the process. Your circumstances and other various outside factors will affect your experience finding a new job. It is a fact that you are not going to land every job you apply for. No one does!
The entire process of shifting a career can take a few months to a few years. You might also be lucky and find the position you want quickly. Either way, try to stay positive and focused. Celebrate every success and learn how to accept rejection as part of the process.
Here are a few things you should do to make the process of obtaining a new job easier:
Learn the Industry
Look for ways to get experience in the industry. Are there any internships or apprenticeships available? You can utilize social media sites like LinkedIn, read reports, and check job postings to learn the terminology and jargon for the role you’re interested in.
Enroll in courses or check if there are any specific certifications needed for the job. Are there any computer programs you need to brush up on? Having the skills and knowing the lingo will make you stand out in the crowd.
Build a Resume
Don’t procrastinate. Set goals.
Give yourself a deadline for writing a resume. Tie your old work experience with the new job. Highlight all the applicable skills and similarities between the companies/positions. Most importantly, let the new employer know who you are and what you can bring to the organization.
Prepare for the interviews. For every job, there are specific things employers want to know before they hire you. With a bit of research, you will know just what they are. Think of answers for the potential interview questions, including the one: Why did you decide to change your career?
Plan for the Future
Once you have a new job, don’t stop there. What’s next?
Prepare for the job you are about to take. Work hard to build your credibility and consider how you can further your career from this point on. Attend workshops, maintain your skills and your network, and monitor the marketplace. You never know when you will have to make the change again.
Take Time for Yourself
Let’s face it. Looking for a job can be stressful and exhausting. You are constantly sending resumes, looking at job postings, and going on interviews. Always being plugged in makes it hard to let your mind rest.
When you are in the midst of an exhausting job search, you still have to make time for yourself. After all, you are doing this to make yourself happier. For a day, or a weekend, turn off your phone and put away your computer. Give yourself permission to get away.
When you return to the digital world, you'll feel renewed and ready to dive back into the job search.
If you’re seriously considering a career change, there’s no better time to take action than right away. Follow the tips above to get yourself started.
In many cases, learning or improving your English language aptitude can be a good place to start building your skills. If you’re interested in learning more, try out a free class by clicking the link below.