How to Successfully Change Careers
How does it happen? Perhaps you just begin to lose interest. Perhaps you find something that interests you more. Perhaps your company is downsizing. These are just some of the numerous reasons people find themselves on that precipitous cliff looking back on their career just as the dirt begins to crumble beneath them.
Are you facing that career change plunge? Do you wish you were? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is change careers. Then use this 10-step plan, and you will be on much more sure footing — and on a path toward career change success. Finally, remember that career change is a natural life progression; most studies show that the average job-seeker will change careers (not jobs) several times over the course of his or her lifetime.
The 10-Step Plan to Career Change:
1: Assessment of Likes and Dislikes. A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company. So, identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step; however, you will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes.
2: Researching New Careers. Once you’ve discovered (or rediscovered) your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers that center around your passions. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit unsure or insecure — it’s a natural part of the career change process.
3: Transferable Skills. Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills (such as communications, leadership, planning, and others) that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career.
4: Training and Education. You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly. If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab.
5: Networking. One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking abilities. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.
6: Gaining Experience. Remember that, in a sense, you are starting your career again from square one. Obtaining a part-time job or volunteering in your new career field not only can solidify your decision, but give you much needed experience in your new career.
7: Find a Mentor. Changing careers is a major life decision that can get overwhelming at times. Find a mentor who can help you through the rough patches.
8: Changing In or Out. Some people change careers, but never change employers. Unfortunately, only the very progressive employers recognize that once happy employees can be happy and productive again – in a different capacity.
9: Job-Hunting Basics. If it’s been a while since you’ve had to use your job-hunting tools and skills, now is the time for a refresher course. Consider spending some time with one or more of our tutorials. Key tools include:
- guide to researching companies
- resume resources
- cover letter resources
- interviewing resources
- salary negotiation resources
10: Be Flexible. You’ll need to be flexible about nearly everything – from your employment status to relocation and salary. Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change – and don’t let these things get you down.
Famous people who changed careers
Check out the list below for some examples of those who found success after a career change!
- Harry Truman became president of the United States in 1945, but only after his business selling silk shirts bankrupted him.
- Ellen DeGeneres switched from a career as a paralegal to one in comedy.
- Tony Blair, Britain’s longest serving prime minister begrudgingly turned to politics after his career as a rock band promoter went awry.
- J.K. Rowling was a secretary for Amnesty International before her constant day dreaming saw her get fired, giving her the time to write Harry Potter and become one of the richest women in the world.
- Madonna was a career waitress until she was fired for pouring donut jelly on a customer, leading to one of the most influential musical careers of the 20th Century.
- Before Giorgio Armani became a wildly successful clothing designer, he worked as a medic for the Italian army.
- Albert Einstein started off as a patents clerk, dreamed of being a teacher and ended up transforming the fields of science and mathematics.
- Harry Potter writer fired from her secretarial job