Several reasons could make you consider a career change.
You’re probably not satisfied with your current career, or you are exploring different interests that you want to pursue as a career. Maybe you want more flexible hours and more time for yourself. Or perhaps You want more money. All these and more are valid reasons to switch.
Switching careers, however, can be tricky if you don’t take some essential steps. These steps distinguish between a rocky career switch and a smooth sailing transition.
1. Evaluate yourself
The first step in making a career switch is taking an evaluation of yourself. You might want to start a journal for this.
Start with the easy questions. What are my interests? What are my hobbies? What makes me happy? Then ask the more challenging questions. What is it about my current job/career that I do not like? What would make me happy in a career? Write these questions and your answers down and deliberate on them.
Another evaluation you have to take is on your skills and interests. Think about skills that helped in making you successful in your current job and how you can hone those skills in any other career path you are considering
2. Decide on a career path
The second step is deciding on your new career. An important question to ask yourself is if you will be changing industries. It is possible to make a significant change but remain in the same industry.
When you make that decision, it’s time to start brainstorming careers. Research careers and industries that you would excel in with your skillset.
3. Create a plan of action
When you’ve made your decision, the next step is to create an action plan. You should write down all the steps that would make the career change as seamless and effective as possible for you. This is where you consider industry or career certifications, industry events, and organizations.
We would advise creating a 5-year plan, but you can put a timeline that best suits your goals.
Define your goals and milestones, then put in timelines to ensure you stay on track.
4. Prioritize Learning
This is especially crucial if you switch to a career with certifications or even a degree.
You will need to take professional courses relevant to your new role. These courses could be from a higher institution or a reputable online academy. You will also be required to sit for one or more examinations to become certified in that field.
Education can also come informally or in the form of experiential Learning. You could do this by taking internships or by job shadowing.
5. Rebrand and Network
The final step before applying for jobs is completely changing your professional branding.
This is mainly on social media and websites; start conversations on your social media about your new field, engage sensibly with the industry thought leaders on social media, and join communities and organizations that are related to the industry.
Industry events are also essential as these are where you can develop meaningful professional relationships that can give you access to prominent opportunities.
Tips for switching careers.
In addition to the steps above, some tips that you should take into consideration during your career switch include:
- Find a mentor. It never hurts to ask for advice from successful people in the new field you are switching to.
- Try moonlighting. You can start with your new field as a part-time job while still maintaining your initial job, then gradually switch to the new career. This helps to cushion any financial shocks.