Making the decision to jump from one career path to another is much easier than taking the necessary steps to actually do it. Having invested time and effort into a particular field and then shifting to something entirely different takes a lot of thought, preparation, and confidence.
If you have recently started to think about leaving your current job behind in order to pursue a new dream, here is a step-by-step guide to help you start that exciting journey.
Step One: Understand Your Reasons for Wanting a Change
When you know precisely why you want to change careers, you will be better placed to make wise decisions about your next move.
Ask yourself exactly what it is about your current position that doesn’t satisfy you and what you hope to gain from starting afresh in a different professional field.
If the main reason you dislike your current job is the colleagues or management, consider whether or not you truly want to change industry or perhaps would simply prefer a similar role in another company with other coworkers.
If you are still interested in the work itself and feel that you are making the most of your talents, try looking for a different role elsewhere within the same field. If this isn’t the case, changing your career path might be right for you.
Step Two: Imagine Your Ideal Future
What do you picture when you imagine your ideal future? Do you want to have a certain lifestyle and income?
Do you want to enjoy your work and feel fulfilled? Identify the ways that your current career path is keeping you from achieving this ideal future and examine the points that you can change. Would you prefer not to commute to work? Do you need more time for family and friends?
These are important considerations to bear in mind when changing career since you don’t want to sacrifice them and discover yourself in a similarly restrictive position at a new job. The whole point is to improve your life with a change of career, not to hold you back.
Step Three: Decide Your New Path
If you have been thinking about a career change for a while, chances are you already have an alternative path in mind. You may also have a vague notion of the industry or field you want to move to but not a specific role.
Your choices are not limited by your current skillset but by how willing you are to put your efforts into retraining and weathering the difficulties that come with a big life decision. Decide what your new priorities will be and how you will manage finding yourself at a lower level than where you are now.
Step Four: Research Possible Routes
Once you have a better idea of the types of roles you want and which ones will lead you to the future you dream of, it’s time to start researching the various routes you can take to get there.
You may find that the skills and qualifications you already have will be applicable in your new career even if it is very different from your previous one. Take the time to research the various paths you can take to get your foot in the door, as there is rarely a single entry point.
It’s important to be patient and accept the occasional setback, as this is to be expected when making such a big decision. Don’t let new information discourage you without good reason.
Step Five: Gain Relevant Qualifications
What qualifications will you need to make yourself an attractive applicant for the roles you want to apply for? In some cases, depending on how different your previous roles have been compared to the ones you are hoping for, you may need to start your education from a very early point.
Read job postings to find out what employers want when looking for candidates to fill the roles you’re applying to. For example, if you want to change career and work in nursing, would it be sensible for you to find an accelerated BSN program online to increase your professional appeal?
Put yourself in the mindset of a potential employer and think of ways you can add to your list of qualifications in such a way as to make yourself stand out. Even volunteering and night classes can make your application more robust, so be creative when thinking of how to develop your skills.
Step Six: Talk to People in the Field
A great way to prepare for your new career path is to speak with people who already work within the industry. Ask them what experiences they have had and what advice they would give to someone starting as a newcomer.
Learn how to network effectively and build valuable connections with other professionals. The more information you have, the better.
Step Seven: Enhance Your Applications
After putting in all the hard work it takes to retrain, research, and adjust your life in order to pursue your new career goals, it would be a shame to throw it all away by failing to create an attractive and convincing application.
Don’t send the same cover letter and resumé to every prospective employer; instead, truly absorb the information in their job postings and consider how you can respond appropriately.
This extra effort is more likely to produce results than simply firing off template resumés to employers who can easily sense when an applicant hasn’t read the job posting thoroughly.
Step Eight: Become a Skilled Interviewee
If you have been in your current career for a long time, you may have forgotten what it’s like to be interviewed for a new role.
Even if you are highly qualified and capable of meeting the expectations of a new employer in a new field, if you can’t come across this way in an interview setting, then you are unlikely to land the job. Perfect your interview skills and convince interviewers that you are the best candidate for the role.
Hopefully, this guide will help you start your new career path and inspire you to achieve your full potential.