Career Change Tips

Mary Gormandy White
Career Possibilities

Are you thinking about changing careers? Whether you are just ready to do something different or if your life circumstances or the job market are dictating that it's time for you to pursue a different career, the idea of making a drastic change can seem a bit overwhelming. While changing careers can certainly be stressful, it's not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the career change you are facing.

Seven Career Change Tips

1. Self-Reflection

Spend some time reflecting on your career to this point. Think about what you have enjoyed about the work that you have done so far and consider what you would prefer not to continue doing as you move forward in the future. Make a list of the types of tasks that you would like to avoid in the next phase of your career as well as a list of the types of things that you want to be able to continue to do in your professional life. This information can help guide you as you start to narrow down your options as you change careers.

2. Make a List of Career Possibilities

Use the lists that you created when engaging in self-reflection to create a list of professions that you may want to pursue. Look closely at your lists for underlying themes. If helping other people seems to be what really matters to you, consider whether going into education, healthcare, social work or law enforcement might be a good option for you.

Simply consider the career fields that provide you with an opportunity to do what you really enjoy. For example, if working with your hands makes you happy, perhaps you should consider manufacturing, computer hardware installation and repair or facilities maintenance. If you are very detail oriented and enjoy office work, consider accounting, bookkeeping, payroll preparation or insurance.

3. Utilize the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Once you have identified a few professions that appeal to you, utilize the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, to learn more about what is involved in the various career fields. This searchable online publication allows you to look up information about virtually any occupation, providing you details on what the work is like, the education and certifications required to enter the field, expected demand for workers, average and median pay and more. What you learn from this publication can help you make a fully informed choice about whether or not moving into a particular profession is feasible for you.

4. Make a Choice

Once you have considered your preferences and evaluated your options, it is time to make a decision about what direction you should follow in the next phase of your career. Be sure to choose a career that you are likely to enjoy and that you are willing to spend time preparing to enter. You also want to make sure that the career you choose is in demand and provides sufficient pay for your needs.

Career Change Training

5. Career Change Preparation

After you have made your decision, it is time to begin taking steps toward preparing for your new career. If you need to go back to school, begin researching training programs and enroll in the one that is best suited for your current situation. If you don't need to earn a degree to change professions but would benefit from earning one or more professional certifications, begin the process of preparing to sit for the tests that you need to take.

It's also advisable to start gaining practical experience related to the type of work that you want to pursue as you move forward in your career. Look for opportunities at your current job to take on duties and assignments relevant to the direction that you want your career to take. Get involved with volunteer organizations and committees, offering to handle responsibilities relevant to your career change goals.

6. Start Networking

Make a point of starting to expand your professional network to include people who work in the profession that you want to enter or who have contacts within that field. Look for relevant professional organizations that will provide you with an opportunity to get to know people who are connected in the industry you want to enter and attend meetings, become a member and join one or more committees. This is a great way to begin establishing a positive reputation in the right circles and to find out about job openings in the field before they are made available to the general public.

7. Create a New Resume

Update your resume so that it is designed to position you as a viable candidate for jobs in the field that you want to pursue. While it's important to include your past experience, it's also essential to highlight those things that make you a viable candidate for employment in the field that you want to pursue. Once you have an appropriate resume, you'll be able to start applying for work in the new field you have chosen.

Moving forward with Your Career Change

Following the tips outlined here can help you get prepared to change careers. When you begin preparing for a career change, it's important to realize that it can require a significant amount of research, preparation and patience to accomplish your goals. Changing careers is something that you can accomplish, if you are patient and willing to put forth the effort required to succeed.

Career Change Tips