Share this article:
Changing Your Career
You want to try a new occupation or perhaps you have to change careers out of necessity due to a layoff or lack of demand for your particular job skills. Regardless of the reason, the approach to changing a career is the same. Taking up a new type of work can be very exciting and rewarding, but it can also be a daunting proposition to many people. You will probably pay some kind of financial price in changing careers but you have to weigh the long-terms benefits. If you are no longer motivated or enthused with your work, the price you pay will be worth it to find a career that invigorates you again. The important thing is to give yourself enough time to make a smart decision.
The following are some areas of consideration and action items you need to make in order to make a successful transition.
- Identify what you consider most important in your work. What motivates you and what do you enjoy? Do you work best independently or in a team environment?
- Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle are you looking for. Is it working in an office or maybe you want to be able to telecommute because it will give you more time for your personal life and family.
- Make a list of all of your personal and professional strengths. Ask yourself what, if any, of these could be transferable to another career. Look at your daily tasks as skill sets to determine which could be applied to a different field of work
- Consider assessment testing and personality testing for a better understanding of your strengths, likes and preferences.
- Compile a list of areas where your current job is lacking. Perhaps you can speak to your employers and some of them can be addressed, if not you have the basis of criteria for a new job.
- Attend job fairs and network at trade shows and business open houses.
- Once you have decided roughly the area you want to head in, determine what educational requirements and skills you will need in your new career.
- Determine educational requirements, chat with university department heads and ask the student placement rate.
- If pursuing more training, start with a few courses to see if you enjoy the subject
- Perhaps you will need to do an evening class at your local technical school, community college or a part time university degree. Start with a few courses to see if you like the subject matter, as you are probably still in work these will have to be carried out in the evenings or at weekend.
- Ideally you should try to get some work experience, but you will probably not be able to fit this in with your work hours. Consider taking some annual leave and spend a week shadowing someone who does the job you think you might like.
- Before switching, volunteer, seek part-time work or an internship in your new field.
- Realize that the salary you may be offered in a new job is not what you are used to. Because of your lack of experience you will not have a lot of room to negotiate. Get your foot in the door and then prove yourself.
- Working with a mentor can be extremely beneficial.