There are many reasons that you could be considering a career change. It might be that the opportunities in your current field are dwindling or it could be that you have reached the pinnacle of your field and you are looking for a new challenge.
Still, others begin to look for a new job to seek better potential income, a better work environment or the ability to work remotely from any place in the world. All of these are valid reasons to begin planning for and executing your job change. It might feel intimidating at first but using a few tips on how to manage a career change can make the process much easier.
Create Your Plan
Hopefully, no one wakes up one morning and just decides to quit their job and go look for a new one in a completely different field. That is a fast track to failure. But if you invest some time in creating a plan for your transition to a new career, then you have a much better opportunity for success and a much lower stress level during the process. Many career changes are in an attempt to follow your heart; you want to get a job and career that you love. If this is the case then be sure that you fully investigate the job that you are choosing. Know if there is any training or formal education that you will need to acquire and also know if you will be starting in a learning position first and then advancing to your dream job. This plan will help you to stay on course to reach your goal and also help you to estimate the time it will take to make the transition.
Connect With the Industry
As you are discovering the new world of your future career, you will be meeting people in the field. This is a great opportunity to make connections in the industry and grow your professional network. If you are very fortunate you will even find a few professionals who might serve as mentors for you. Having a person within the industry and field can be a big help in learning what your future job will really entail. In addition, these people can suggest online forums that relate to the new field and professional groups or organizations in the area that you could join. Again, this will acquaint you with potential employers, coworkers while also letting you introduce yourself as a new colleague.
Formal training or education can assist you in landing most jobs. And if you are going into a completely new field, training or classes would be your only experience. So seek out any opportunity to take online classes, attend seminars or gain any type of training that you can. Your past work experience and jobs will speak to your work ethic but additional education or training in your new field will show potential owners that you are invested in learning a new business.
As you get more comfortable with your knowledge base and feel that you are getting ready to make the move to your new profession, begin to put the word out that you will be seeking a job. This is a good time to brush up your resume to include any training you have sought out for this new career and any on the job training that you might have completed such as volunteer work or interning. You will also want to create a professional profile on any appropriate industry forums, job boards or professional sites. Also, let the members of your professional network know that you are ready to seek employment in your new career.
Test the Waters
Not everyone is in a financially strong enough position to give up a steady job with a good income to start over on a new career path. Many times, the wages associated with entry level jobs are not enough to live on. But if you are really serious about making this transition then you need to be willing to ease into your new career slowly while you still keep your old job to pay the bills. This can mean working in a freelance capacity at night and on the weekends, taking a part time job in your new vocation or simply being willing to work two jobs until your new career can provide financial security.
Be Able to Accept Your Mistakes
The old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” can sound very trite but it is also very true. You need to be willing to accept the fact that you might have made a mistake or even made a poor choice. You might find that after a few classes or a few weekends working as a volunteer, this new career path is not what you expected. And that is not the end of the world. You made a plan and tried something new, and this time it didn’t work out. But that doesn’t mean that this is the only time that you can try to change careers or that this was the wrong thing for you to do. It just means that you need to keep working that old job and continue to explore other options.
Always Be Professional
The only real mistake that you can make is being unprofessional and burning a bridge. Never insult your old company, boss or job. You might need a reference or even a job in the future. And if you left in a professional manner then you have that option. Giving notice and being honest is important. It is ok to say that you have other aspirations and want to follow a dream. But always be sure to be appreciative of the job that you did have and respectful of the company and people that you worked with. In many cases you will not offend anyone and you might even gain some respect for having the nerve to chase a dream. Knowing how to manage a career change can make the process exciting and easy.