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Are you thinking of starting a new career? You are not alone. People change careers for many reasons, such as to learn new skills, make more money, and find a healthy work environment, among lots of other reasons.
In fact, thousands of employees quit every year to begin new jobs. So if you’re thinking of finally exploring the dream you’ve kept on the back burner for decades don’t be afraid. While a career change can seem frightening at first, it comes with many advantages, especially if you do it using the seven-step format we talk about below.
1. Don’t Leap. Jot Down Your Goals for Your New Career
Changing your career doesn’t mean simply quitting one job to start another. That’s a great way to end up drifting and disillusioned. Instead of leaping without thinking, sit down and think. Identify the reasons why you want to change your career.
Knowing why you want to change your career change can make your new career better. Here are some things you should ask yourself when thinking of changing your career:
- What is the reason behind your career change?
- Why do you feel tired of your current career?
- What goals do you have for the future?
- Are you leaving because of compensation problems?
- Do you think you can easily transition to your new career?
These questions will help you determine the goals you need to pay attention to when transitioning to a new career.
For instance, if you realize you’re being underpaid in your current job and want to change careers because you know you can make more money, you should put compensation at the top of your career change goals.
2. Note Your Current Skills and Experience
Once you know why you’re changing your career and how your reasons will affect your future goals, you need to list every skill you have.
Noting down your skill set might seem counterproductive. However, it will help you realize the skills you can use in your future career. For instance, if you were responsible for creating paystubs, managing payroll, and books as a project manager and want to become a certified accountant, your experience will come in handy.
Moreover, also find out whether you already have experience in the new career you’ve chosen. Let’s continue with the previous example. If you’ve already moonlighted as an accountant while working as a project manager, you could say that you already have experience as an accountant.
Similarly, if you worked as a content lead but worked on UI and UX and are now becoming a UI/UX designer, you could leverage your previous experience.
3. Expand Your Skill Set
Once you’ve uncovered the skills you currently have, think about expanding your skill set. If you decide to move to marketing from finance, you’ll need to learn everything about marketing from the ground up.
But if you’ve decided to move from marketing to a management role in the same field, you could easily build upon your skills. For example, if you were a team lead, you could use your experience directing teams and apply it to a new managerial job.
You might even begin to see that you could just as easily start your own business and work for yourself, thereby giving yourself a new career with unlimited potential.
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However, if you don’t have the requisite knowledge for the industry you’re transitioning to, take some self-paced courses and online opportunities to learn more about your new career.
4. Find Job Opportunities in Your New Career
Once you’ve developed enough skills to actually understand what people are talking about in your new industry, you can begin searching for job opportunities. Searching for them doesn’t mean you need to apply right now, however.
All you need to do is find out what recruiters want from candidates in your industry. Are they calling for specific experience, such as with specialized software? Do they want their candidates to be well-rounded, or do they prefer they do one thing brilliantly?
You can find the answers to these questions by reading job descriptions, following recruiters on LinkedIn and other forums, and listening to conversations in HR communities.
5. Learn About Different Careers
Once you know what kinds of job opportunities and responsibilities there are in your industry, start learning about the different careers in your new industry. For instance, if you’ve shifted from UI/UX to marketing, what role do you want to work in?
Do you want to work as a campaign planner, SEO manager, content team lead, editor, marketing strategist, or Google Ads manager? What do you want to specialize in?
You can learn which careers suit you best by searching for day-in-the-life insights, reading blogs by people actually working in the jobs you want, and participating in discussions in LinkedIn communities.
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6. Start Networking
Once you’ve narrowed down your new career, start networking with people in that industry. To do that, create a profile on LinkedIn and begin posting about your experience and what you want to learn.
Reach out to recruiters, follow industry leaders, and soak up every bit of information like a sponge. Don’t sit on the sidelines when networking. Actively chat with people already working in your new industry. Ask them about their experiences.
Also, don’t be afraid to cold message company recruiters. Ask them about their company and whether there are any job opportunities for you. If they reply in the negative, don’t be disheartened. Keep coming back and constantly checking with recruiters, especially if they work for a company you know you would like to work for.
7. Begin Applying for Jobs Aligned with Your New Career
Once you’ve shown to all and sundry that you want to apply for jobs in the new industry, use your new connections to shake out opportunities suited to you. Remember how we said you should constantly check in with recruiters?
Well, your constant check-ins will have built a bond between you and the recruiter. As a result, when you ask them if their company has any jobs available for you, they might recommend you. Similarly, people you talked with on social platforms may also reach out to you for services.
Once that happens, you’ll be able to make a living working in your new industry. Just whip up a career change resume, and you’re good to go.
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Changing your career is one of the most terrifying things you can do, but if you do it correctly, you can reap the benefits twice-fold. However, keep in mind that becoming too excited about quitting your old job before it’s time to make your move can cause problems.
Therefore, when you decide to change your career, be careful. Take a look at your savings and expenses, then evaluate whether or not you could go a few months without a job before starting the above seven steps.
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