9 Tips for Making A Successful Career Change
Life happens, things change, and sometimes you need to make a career change as well. More recently, we’ve experienced the Great Resignation due to factors in every industry that have made it unsustainable to continue working. The work culture has also shifted, and many are experiencing burnout.
Work from home, remote work, and Zoom meetings have taken over instead. Many workers are looking for jobs that allow that work from home flexibility, work-life balance, a reduced commute, and still get good pay.
No matter what is happening in the world, the need for change is sometimes personal. People change careers for many reasons, but making a career change is not easy. It takes effort, self-awareness, patience, and sometimes a little guidance to know the options and best moves.
When To Consider A Career Change
A successful career change first requires that we consider several factors before making any drastic moves.
- What is your current salary? Are changes occurring at your current job that is not sustainable with your lifestyle needs? Are you able to re-negotiate your contract in your current position?
- Which employee benefits do you currently have? What else are you looking for?
- What is dissatisfying you the most in your current work? Is this problem the same at other companies and locations?
The above questions address your current situation. If any of the answers are unfavorable to you and your lifestyle or are misaligned with the direction you’d like to go, then it’s time to consider a career change.
On that note, ask yourself:
- Are you looking to make a career change where you do the same job but somewhere else? Or are you looking to make a lateral move and change industries?
- What is the demand for your field of work? Where are the jobs currently available located? What are the trends?
These questions address where you’d like to go and if you’re willing to go where the jobs are.
In addition, take into account the following:
- Do you have other career interests?
- Is there a side business or job you can take on during this time to gain exposure and experience while considering the options?
- Is there an opportunity for you to learn new skills?
If you are in a position where a career change is desired and doable but don’t know where to go from your current position, then take opportunities to figure out your other interests. Learn new skills and take the time to network. This way, you can build up your resume, refine your skillset, and hopefully learn about career pathways you didn’t know about before.
Tips To Make A Career Change Successfully
Here are a few tips to consider when planning career moves.
1. Be Open To Every Option & Opportunity
Events from the last few years have taught us that nothing is certain in this world. There is no 100 percent secure job in the country. So, you must explore all the options and keep an open mind about the possibilities.
Find out what kind of job opportunities are available. Some jobs may be entirely new for you and seem out of reach. Don’t let that stop you or get in the way of your career goals; apply for those jobs anyway. Anything is possible, and you don’t know what may come your way unless you try for it.
2. Do Your Research
Before sending your resume anywhere, do your research. What are the current and ex-employees saying about a company? Were they forced to quit their jobs during the pandemic? What’s the policy on work-from-home and available support?
What is the company culture overall? What is the employee turnover rate? Did the company provide help to employees at the height of the pandemic? What are the pay and benefits?
Another way to gain some industry insights is to speak with a recruiter. Keep in mind, though, that they may have ulterior motives for sending you to a particular
3. Discuss With People You Trust
A career change is a big deal. Smart career moves can help to make your financial life stable. A wrong career move can make your financial life unstable. So, before making any final decision, you should discuss your ideas with people you trust. Tell them why you are thinking about a career change. Discuss what you are planning to do.
Perhaps, your friends or mentor can give you insight or provide another perspective on various things to consider during a job hunt, which you may not have thought of before.
4. Grow Your Network
Go out and build your network. Call your friends and let them know you are looking for a job or a career change. Get in touch with your old colleagues and ask them to let you know about new job opportunities. Spread the word. Lookup contacts on LinkedIn and see if there are mutual connections that you can reach out to. Help may come from any direction.
On that note, be sure to create a LinkedIn profile. Across many industries, employers use LinkedIn to search for candidates and to vet them. On the flip side, if you’re searching for opportunities, you can find jobs and apply through the website.
5. Update Your Resume
If you take on side jobs while in your current position or have learned new skills where you are now, you need to update your resume. You may also need to tailor your resume to fit the jobs you are applying for. In the same way, adjust and change your cover letter to reflect what an employer is looking for and what you potentially bring to the table.
6. Take Control Of Your Emotions
Making a change of any kind can be unsettling and stressful. Take each day one at a time, so you are not overwhelmed with anxiety and negative thoughts.
A great way to get a handle on everything is to take a step back whenever you feel overwhelmed or anxious. Take a minute to be objective about yourself; take stock of your skills, re-read your resume and cover letter, and remind yourself of the work experience you already have. Talk to people who know what you’re going through and ask for their objective feedback. All of this can help you re-settle and re-focus.
7. Review Your Skills & Qualifications
Look at the job descriptions listed in various job portals. Find out what kind of skill set and qualifications are needed for the jobs available. Do you have the required skills and capabilities? If not, then consider doing a free online course to brush up on or develop new skills that would give you an edge over other applicants.
Upgrading your skills and qualifications also helps make you a more desirable applicant and gives you room to negotiate a higher salary.
8. Be Ready to Start Over
You may have to start from zero when you start at a new position. You will be working with new people, a new setup, and a new learning curve to adapt to.
Even if the job is better and pays more, be prepared to be the new guy who may have to work a bit harder in the beginning to prove your worth.
9. Prepare For A Job Interview
Hopefully, all your hard work and research pay off quickly, and you get called for interviews!
While winning an interview is an entire article of discussion in its own right, here are some highlights to consider when prepping.
- Dress to impress – if the interview in person, you have to look the part you want. Look into company guidelines for attire and their policies. Even if you work from home, making a good first impression is important!
- Make eye contact – you don’t want to be a stalker and stare someone down, but make eye contact periodically while speaking and listening. It also shows that you are confident.
- Ask questions – just like researching the job market, look into the companies you are interviewing with. Ask questions during the meeting. You will appear prepared and professional and boost the impression you make.
- Be on time – in fact, try to be early. You don’t want to keep an interviewer waiting; it creates strikes against you!
Where To Start Your Job Search
Aside from the trustworthy option of networking and looking into companies that you may be specifically interested in, check out these job search websites.
- Monster Jobs
- Ladders (for experienced leaders)
- FlexJobs (good for remote work)
- Angellist (for startup jobs)
When you are looking for a career change, analyze the pros and cons of each option you discover. List your strengths and weaknesses. Discuss them with your friends. Likewise, the paycheck also matters. Understand your salary breakdown, benefits, and if the pay will be enough to cover your family expenses, reduce debts, and boost your emergency funds?
No matter what, keep an open mind and take advantage of opportunities you run into. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. You just have to make the best of it and make the best decision with your current information.
Don’t be afraid to take the plunge when you find something that works. Also, don’t hesitate to apply to accept a position that is new or foreign to you. Doing something new, different, and challenging your comfort zone will only help you in the long run!