Have you been feeling like it’s time for a big change lately? Do you get the sense that your career is not the right fit for you? If you’re feeling frustrated, unchallenged and unfulfilled in your work, the time might be right for you to make a major career shift.
Profound transformations, both personal and professional, can happen in your twenties and thirties. It’s when you discover and develop new talents and interests of yours. When you have just finished college, you can’t possibly predict how life changes will impact your career-related values and needs 8 to 10 years from now. But When you get older, you feel more comfortable and confident with your own preferences. You may have discovered a sense of self and a sense of confidence that you didn’t have when you were younger. As a result, you may be ready to make career choices that you didn’t have the courage to embrace.
Changing professions, however, is not something to take lightly. They call for alot of thinking and consideration. So whether you want to get your dream job, achieve a better work-life balance or simply need the challenge; this career decision making advice will help you think through such midlife career shift. It’s important to take a serious look at the many possibilities and outcomes before you jump into a new career or field. Consider these 10 tips as you make a transition from your present career to your next. Let’s get started…
1- Be sure of your reasons.
Just because you’re unhappy in your current job isn’t a strong enough reason to make a total career break. Carefully analyze whether it is your actual career you dislike or whether your employer, supervisor, coworkers or office situation is the problem.
2- Find out what field would you like to work in.
So now you have to know what you are interested in. Science, medicine, government, accounting, media…. There are so many choices it can be overwhelming. Take your time to think it over to make sure you make the right choice this time.
3- Do your research.
Be sure to examine all possibilities before attempting a career jump. Talk to people in your network. Read career and job profiles. Meet with a career management professional. The more information with which you arm yourself beforehand, the more successful you will be. Learn about the industry. Get a feel for the field that interests you. Read industry journals, attend conferences, and talk to people in the profession about what they do. Learn whether your target industry has growth potential. Trade magazines and organizations have created web sites that offer searchable databases where job openings in many specific industries are listed. Start looking at these sites on a regular basis.
You need to know what qualifications are required for the field that interests you and also consider if you are willing to do what it takes. Entering a new industry might mean you need a certification or a license. Make sure you are willing to take these steps. Examine your qualifications. Do you have the necessary experience and education to be considered a qualified candidate in your desired career field? If not, you need to find a way to bridge the credentials gap. This might mean making your goal more long-term while you go back to school or receive additional training.
5- Have a clear plan.
The smartest move that you can make is to carefully map out an effective career-change strategy. This should include a detailed action plan that takes into consideration finances, research, education, and training. Keep in mind that a successful career change can take several months or longer to accomplish, so patience is key my friend.
6. Focus on your talents.
The No. 1 key is to build a career on your strengths. Consider your natural talents or abilities, or those things that come easily to you. Do you find it easy to persuade others? Do you have a passion for working with numbers? Do you communicate better through the written word than you do in person? Think of your personal traits and use them to steer you in the right direction.
When switching careers, you must pinpoint and highlight your transferable skills. These are the talents and experiences that can be used in many different careers and are not those things that are industry-specific. For example, if you have managerial experience, this is something that is useful in any industry. The same goes for communications savvy, computer know-how, writing proficiency and event planning. Some experience may seem to be industry-specific at first, but can be turned into a transferable skill. Just make sure you portray your background in a way that is attractive to any hiring manager.
8- Polish up your job-hunting skills.
It is especially important to update your job search skills and techniques before you get out there and start networking. Make sure you are using your time and resources as effectively as possible. Begin improving your professional friendships early and tend them regularly. Professional organizations and job industry trade associations are a good place to start. Many of them hold networking events and job fairs.
9- It’s time to pay your dues.
Don’t expect to begin at the same level of seniority in your new career that you held in your old one. It will take time to move up the ranks, but if you find a new career that you absolutely love, it will be worth it. You will be doing something that you love, so it is ok to start at a junior position and work your way up.
10- Keep your head up.
Don’t be discouraged if you face many set backs or if things do not go the way you had planned. Keep trying and give it your best and soon you will score your dream job. When you believe in yourself, everything is possible.
By Rania Salem