If you are considering making a career change, you're not alone. Almost everyone considers a change at one time or another. The further along you are in your career, the scarier a change can feel. There is one thing you can do to guarantee the greatest rate of success. Take action!
For most, a career change is merely a dream or a passing thought on a bad day. Rarely does someone decide to proceed and turn their dream into reality. Many different things cause us to freeze up and not move forward.
- Fear of failure, judgement, the unknown
- Lack of knowledge on how to make a change
- Shortage in self-confidence (the "I can't")
- Over analysis paralysis
- Unsure what they want to do
- Lack support from friends and family
What if you don't want it to be merely a dream?! How do you move past these big things and make it happen? You create an action plan. Simple things you can do that take the fear and emotion out of it. Easy things to prepare you and inspire progress. If it all boils down to action, how do you know what actions you should take?
Actions To Take For A Successful Career Change
As with any life change, it takes reflection and research. Scrutinize everything about your current role and why you want to leave. You need to understand why you are motivated to make the change and how much of a change you want (job change, company change, complete career change). The steps you take will ensure you are committed and making the best decision for you.
#1 - Know Your Why
When people hear you are considering a career change, they want to know why. If you are going to be successful, you need to know your why! Your why is your single greatest motivator. Why do you want to leave what you are doing? Why have you chosen this new field as your field of choice?
You must be very clear so you can communicate your why and make people believe it. This is the first step in convincing the world to take a chance on you.
#2 - Prepare Yourself For Skepticism
Friends and family only want what is best for you. Their idea of best and yours may be very different. Theirs is likely rooted in a need for security or a lack of understanding. A career change can look like a big risk. Plus, they don't understand your why.
Don't take what they have to say personally. Know it comes from a good place. If you still feel this is the right move for you, keep going! They will come around when they see you are serious.
#3 - Dive Into Your Field of Choice
We will call this the research phase. Before you pull the trigger on a change, you want to make sure the choice you've made is the right fit. There are a multitude of things you can DO in this area (DO = take action).
- Read - Know what is going on in the industry.
- Identify who you know - It's a small world. Someone knows someone in your industry of choice.
- Request introductions - make connections and ask for advice. Networking is key!
- Schedule information sessions to learn and gain perspective. Do a job shadow.
- Can you pick up volunteer, part-time, or freelance work in your field of choice?
- Are there classes you can take or free online courses and webinars?
#4 - Don't Ignore Financials
Oftentimes a career change means taking a step back to take a step forward. This can mean a change in salary, possibly a temporary decrease. Do some research on current local salary ranges for your chosen field. Not every change requires a step down, but you need to know what you can manage. Make a budget. Be realistic about what you are willing to sacrifice to make the change.
#5 - Know How To Market Yourself
Identify your transferrable skills. While you may not have the experience, you do still bring something to the table. Likely more than you think.
Start looking at job postings. Think about what it takes for someone to be successful in that role. What similar experiences have you had? That's what you need to focus on and market. Your resume and any applications you submit must hone in on that value.
#6 - Put Yourself Out There
Stay in touch with anyone you have met in the industry. Look at job opportunities within their organizations. A referral from a current employee can go a long way in getting you an interview! Start applying for positions that appeal to you and may be a good starting point. The worst thing that can happen is you don't get a call or you don't get the job. It's all a learning experience.
#7 - Don't Give Up
You are so brave! While this process may feel like failure, it is not! The most important thing is you keep trying. Continue to improve yourself and do the steps above to gain exposure and experience. Your hard work and dedication will eventually pay off.
As you prepare for any interviews, take time to practice and prepare your responses. Touch on the things you want to make sure they hear during the interview. Learn how to take control and lead the recruiter in the direction that shows you are a great candidate for their job.