A career change can be considered to be similar to a break journey, a journey in which you halt at various places before you reach your final destination.
Making a career change is no way a negative thing. As a matter of fact, most recruiters, these days, are aware that about more than half of their current employees are looking for other jobs. Hence, they are prepared accordingly to make changes on board. However, it is crucial to know the gravity of this action in your career; you cannot work according to your own whims and fancies. You cannot just keep jumping boards; it only captures you in the wrong light.
If you are looking for a productive and successful career change, avoid being hasty; take your time, consider certain things, and then decide whether you need this change at all or not. Thus, making a decision forms the first step in the deliberation process.
The primary reason one wishes to make a career change is that he/she is not happy with the kind of employment currently. You could be upset with the behavior of your boss, your colleagues, or even with the work ethics at the workplace. There are also chances that you have eventually realized that this, not the kind of work you desired to do in the first place. Thus, before taking any other action towards this, analyze the level of contentment you have with this present form of employment. Also, I must add, it is essential to understand whether it is worth making the change or not. If, after this deliberation, you think it is important to make the shift, then go ahead.
Following this, you will need to judge, assess, and ascertain your skills once more. I say ‘once more’ because surely you must have done so before getting this current job. Why do you need to do it again? That’s because you may have acquired new skills or ethics over the years. And to facilitate this process, several self-assessment tools are available on the internet. Review the skills that you have already put to use in the past years and verify if they have been optimally utilized. The online self-assessment tools give you an insight into the kind of occupations that are available suited to your skillset, this is done with the help of the answers that you provide in the questionnaires of these tests.
Once you have got the result of the tests, it becomes clear as to which industries your skills are suited to. Taking a cue from this, make a list of all the industries that suit your competence and also those in which you are interested. This is simply to streamline your job search. Carefully start eliminating the ones that you feel are less likely to provide you a job and shortlist a few that appeal to be the strongest. If you are not sure of the accuracy of your gut feeling, the best thing to do is either seek the help of a career consultant; alternatively, take opinions from your friends and family before coming to a conclusion.
Next, start exploring the availability of these handful occupations. Do a comparative study of the jobs to get an idea of the ones you could finalize on to carry out in-depth research. Check out the job descriptions for each of these jobs; you will be surprised to the kind of knowledge you will get through these for the positions being offered.
Though more than one industry or job profile may allure you, yet it is crucial that you stick to one. The more options you keep for yourself, the more chances are for you to get confused. Hence, keep it simple and focus on just a single job, because gradually you will realize how much time you have to dedicate to become familiar with the new industry. Having more than one to concentrate on, will dwindle you from being successful.
A change in the normal flow of life is more often than not pretty daunting, especially when it is your professional life, innumerable challenges suddenly seem to crop up. While it is fine to jump ships, yet make sure that the ships are close to each other. What I mean to say is, let the change that you make be similar to the present job you are doing. For instance, if you are a content writer and wish to change careers, then taking up a position as a designer in another industry will be a mammoth task for you, owing to the kind of preparation you need to perform the job efficiently. My suggestion is, therefore, take up a similar task, say that of a technical writer and then slowly move on to designing after having gained some more knowledge on the subject. Taking one change at a time is better.
The best and most sure way of accumulating information about varied industries is by conducting informational interviews. It is also a great way of developing your rapport with someone inside the industry; you never know which contact might come in handy for your profession in the future. The college alumni, LinkedIn, etc. are the places where you can easily get in touch with such people. And yet again comes the time when you have to gear up your networking.
Shadowing a person who is already working in the same field that interests you, gives you the opportunity to get a first-hand experience. Shadowing is nothing but tagging along with a person while he/she is on work. Through this, you not only get to know the job profile you are looking towards getting employed in, but also the kind of challenges you might face and how you would handle them. But for this, you will need the permission of the person you wish to shadow.
If shadowing seems to be difficult to perform, you could choose to volunteer in the target fields, or even train yourself for the desired position. If needed, get formal classes for the same; no matter what you do, your aim ought to be educated in a particular subject as much as you can.
You have already checked for your skills; however, even after that, you find that certain skills that would be required for the intended industry are lacking, start working on those. Teach them if you don’t possess them at all, and if you do own them, then take measures to develop them. This up-gradation of skills will prove to be extremely helpful in your career change.
Relying solely on the applications that you put in will not suffice. Approach people directly and, if necessary, drop in your resume personally. Bring your networking into play here; your referrals serve as an excellent base for the authentication of your abilities. Therefore, ask for references.
Making a career change is indeed a vast process, and one that brings about tremendous alterations in one’s life; hence, remember the proverb ‘Haste makes waste’ at all times during this change.
At this point in your career change, when you have almost decided and are advancing into the industry of your choice, you ought to set several short term goals for your professional life. These will precisely culminate in the realization of your ultimate professional dream. A time span of 1-5 years should be set for the accomplishment of these small goals. A career action plan, thus, needs to be penned down, for you to be clear-sighted and goal-oriented. This will be like your roadmap on the journey to a destination; hence, do not forget to point out the dangers or hurdles that are probably going to crop up. It will help you be on your guard and thereby empower you to stay longer on the journey. Being able to prioritize your activities should be an inevitable outcome of the creation of this career plan, which again will help you stay on the right track professionally.
Now that you are all geared up, the last thing left for you to do is to keep yourself motivated at all times. Be open to rejection, as well as to learn from your mistakes. When you have reached this particular mental status, then you can go ahead and take the plunge into bidding adieu to your present form of employment.
Hence, that is how you have to discern in the first place, whether you need a change of career; and when you have decided the above, try out the given methods to make sure that the switch you are attempting is a successful one.
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