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Tips to Making a Successful Career Change

At one time or another, most of us will make one, two or more career changes throughout their life. It may be very intimidating at first, but it could be completely necessary to keep yourself happy.

If you are considering a career change, you should first, identify the problems in your current career and be sure it is not something you can adjust. Before you decide to jump ship from your current job, talk to your boss. Author Stephen Warren said, "Progressive companies recognize that motivated employees are critical to their success. They may bend over backwards to assist you once they know your real interests and desires."

However, if nothing can be changed in your current career to make you happier, then it may be time to seek a new one. Here are eight tips to help you make a smoother career transition.

  1. Know what you want. Analyze your skills, experience and qualifications. What would best suit your personality, personal and professional needs? What skills do you have that are transferable? Note where your strengths are, where your weaknesses are and which responsibilities you enjoy.

  2. Prepare to take a dip in salary. Experts say that looking for a new career just to advance monetarily will not overcome the dissatisfaction you have had in your current job. Be prepared to backtrack. Keep in mind that you are investing in a new career. Think about the value of temporarily taking this salary cut. You will be happier in your career, and the happier you are, the more successful you will be.

  3. Research the field you are interested in. Read trade magazines, newspaper articles and do background research on the company for which you are most interested in working. Find out as much as you can and pay attention to your interest; does this still seem right for you?

  4. Start networking ASAP. Talk to anyone and everyone who knows about your prospective field. Ask them to list the key competencies in that line of work that enable them to be successful. Also, it is a good idea to join professional associations to meet people in the field and to gain some background in it. Networking is even more critical as it gives you a chance to present your skills set BEFORE you send your resume.

  5. Get in touch with prospective employers. Observe a company first. Even if they do not have any openings, they should remember your face and enthusiasm when one is available. This will give you chance to get a better feel for the field and also a chance for the company to get to know you.

  6. Volunteer, temp or take an interim position. This can introduce you to a number of career options as well as company styles, sizes and atmospheres. You might quickly be able to tell whether or not this is the right field for you before you make the solid commitment.

  7. What type of additional training do I need? How qualified are you? For skills you do not have, ask how you can build them. Is more education necessary? Are you willing to do this?

  8. Customize your resume. Make sure the transferable skills that the employer is seeking are clearly highlighted in your resume. Just because you do not have any experience in your prospective field, does not mean you do not have many of the necessary skills. Be sure to present yourself in a way that will prove to the company that you are qualified.

There are heaps of careers out there, but make sure you are creating realistic expectations for yourself. If you are making a decision based on someone you know who is very successful in his/her field, keep in mind that everyone has different skills and talents, plus the reason for his/her success may be because of simply a spike in the industry or for geographical reasons.

-Ann Everhart

ResumeDoctor.com provides resume-consulting services and free resume evaluations for job seekers in all industries at EvaluateResume

ResumeDoctor.com also offers specialized job market expertise and content to media and employers.

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