Maintaining a job and moving your career forward require sincerity and dedication in today’s world of cut-throat competition. After years of hard work and discipline, a person gains proficiency in tasks performed by them, and thus earns respect at their workplace.
Therefore, changing jobs seems like a very bold move as you have to make a fresh start by understanding your responsibilities and adapting to a new workplace environment. As starting a new job is so tough, you can understand how tough or complicated starting a new career can be.
So, a decision to change careers is not only critical but also risky. You need to ensure that your decision is based on facts and logic instead of impulsiveness and unrealistic expectations. Now, a career change or a career shift is the step taken by thousands of people across the USA and other parts of the world every year. Many individuals realize after spending years of education and employment in a particular field that their passion or interest lies in a different area.
Reasons for Considering a Career Change
The reason for changing or switching careers varies from person to person depending on their present job, future goals, financial conditions, and other factors. Some people feel an artistic push that compels them to forego their well-settled job and follow their dreams. Some people make a career shift for balancing personal and professional life. Better financial prospects, fame, and relocation also become reasons for a career change in many cases.
When you get thoughts about leaving your present job to pursue your ambitions, you should ask yourself that whether these thoughts are conveying any useful insights about your desires or are they stemming from the monotony of your life. It’s important to understand that feeling disappointed in yourself in a common phenomenon, and so, a huge decision of changing careers should not be taken due to that.
If you don’t feel motivated or excited enough while thinking about going to the office or improving your performance, you should find the cause behind it. Make yourself free from routine activities, calm your mind, and sit down at the most peaceful corner in your home. Take a diary and make a list of pros and cons related to your current job and career. If the list of cons is longer than the list of pros, then maybe you are on the right track, i.e., thinking about a career switch.
However, in some cases, more cons don’t necessarily mean changing careers is an ideal way to proceed. Along with tangible aspects, like a list of pros and cons, you should also pay heed to intangible aspects, like your feelings. You need to listen to your heart to get the right answer. Once you have done retrospection and self-evaluation, you can arrive at a conclusion.
Formula to Determine the Right Career Path
If all the analysis you have conducted till now has made you reached the conclusion that changing careers is the best option for you, then you begin your new journey with zeal. First and foremost, you should get a clear idea of the career path you want to walk down. You cannot commit the mistake of choosing the wrong career path as it will make you go back to square one.
You need to determine the right career path by taking into account various factors, such as qualification, skills, areas of passion and interest, and scope for growth. Don’t make any rash decision to fulfill your dreams or get rid of your current job.
Spend some time with yourself to assess your expectations from life for making your career transition process as smooth and fast as possible. You can use online tools or offline techniques which involve writing down your goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Thus, you will be able to select the career path or field that will help you grow professionally and personally.
Tips for Searching for a Job on Changing Careers
Carry out a Significant Research
No field is the same for the people working in it as everyone creates their own journey by tapping into their potential and making the most out of the opportunities available for them. If you have chosen a job role or position for acquiring, you should work your way toward it.
But if you are unclear about the exact job role or position and have just selected the field, you need to dig deeper into your vision. For example, a person employed as a financial analyst decides to enter the information technology (IT) field. In this case, he or she should carry out research using the books and the Internet to find out the activity he wishes to pursue as the IT field comprises a broad variety of job roles or positions.
Once you get clarity on the type of job you want to undertake, learn in detail about it with the help of your existing knowledge and experts in your desired field. Now, it’s not necessary that the result of this step is ‘job’ in every case. Many people adopt the route of entrepreneurship while changing careers.
Consult your Professional & Social Groups
The process of making a career switch can overwhelm you due to the challenges that you might face along the way. You will always feel a lack of time for focusing on a career change as you need to handle responsibilities in your current job as well. Moreover, you might even feel scared thinking that colleagues or boss will come to know about your intentions.
So, you should share your thoughts and feelings as well as your progress in the journey of a career switch with the people you trust. You can confide in your family members, friends, ex-colleagues, or even ex-employers to feel less burdened. If your colleagues or manager have supportive nature, you can tell them as well.
Discussing your goals and problems with others will benefit you in more than one way. If anyone you talk to works or knows someone who works in the field you want to enter, you can get useful advice. You will obtain firsthand knowledge of the field or industry. You can even seek the help of a professional career coach or life coach.
Ascertain whether You Need any Qualification
More often than not, career switches come across a hurdle of fulfilling the requirement of possessing additional qualification, accreditation, or license to begin a career in the new industry or field. For example, an HVAC technician who wants to work as a nutritionist will have to obtain a mandatory certificate, diploma, or degree in health and nutrition.
As soon as you decide a career path to tread, you should enquire from reliable sources the knowledge and skills you need for the same. You can get enrolled in part-time or online classes for equipping yourself with the necessary skills to perform duties in your new job.
You can approach the professors who had taught you in your college to know the perfect way of making yourself qualified and ready for your desired career. You should stay updated with the latest developments and trends in the industry you wish to enter. Activities, like reading newspapers, joining online forums and social media groups, and attending seminars will help you.
Build your Resume and Cover Letter
We know that you must have read and heard about the importance of building a customized resume and cover letter to stand apart from the competitors. So, we will not elaborate on this point. But at the same time, this point cannot be neglected.
A properly formatted resume can increase your chances of receiving an interview call highly. A cover letter addressed directly to the hiring manager or concerned person in the organization is like icing on the cake. You should invest a sufficient amount of time in making your resume and cover letter. If you want, you can get the services of professional resume writing.
Include the targeted keywords in your application materials every time you apply for a job. Make sure that the information mentioned in your resume can be scanned by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and fetched by a resume parser. If you are applying for a position related to academics or research, you should submit a CV (Curriculum Vitae) instead of a resume.
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Find Vacancies and Apply to them
Look for vacancies that suit your goals with the help of offline and online sources, namely newspapers, employment portals, company websites, niche job boards, social media pages, and more. While you might hit a jackpot by submitting a mundane online job application form, you should not forget the importance of taking strategic steps on a daily basis.
Connect with people who can not only assist you in your job search process but also in your journey of becoming a better version of yourself. Networking has been proven as a powerful tool for finding a job across industries for both inexperienced and experienced people as well as career switchers. Make an online profile on LinkedIn and other networking sites.
Participate in offline and online events related to your choice of field, including workshops, exhibitions, webinars, and many more. If possible, send a job application through a physical post as unlike an email, it cannot go unnoticed. Find out if you can get someone to refer you for a job in their company. Speak to the alumni members of the college in which you completed under graduation and/or graduation.
Earn Experience and Attend Interviews
Individuals who change their careers, usually, apply for entry level jobs. However, it becomes difficult for many people to find or land an appropriate entry level job. Some jobs or companies demand experience even if it’s for a few months. To cater to such demands, you can accept freelancing, internship, and volunteering opportunities available in the industry.
If you are aiming to become a website designer or an android application developer, you can complete a project by freelancing for clients. Even if you don’t get the chance to freelance, you can create a website or an application based on your own concept to showcase your skills.
Now, it might take a while before your job applications reach the stage of personal interviews. So, till then, you should try to convince employers, hiring managers, and recruiters for arranging an informational interview. Your network of people can help you vastly in this matter. During this interview, you can show your talent and personality.
Some Additional Tips
- Start the process of changing your career when your mind is not occupied with other priorities. Use a weekend or take a few days off from work.
- Make sure that you lay emphasis on your aspirations and determination to walk down a new career path instead of past experiences in your resume.
- Maintain a diary for noting down the details regarding the actions you take every day for a career switch, for example, the number of job applications submitted.
- Every few days, analyze the steps you have completed in the process to understand where and how you need to improve for securing a favorable job offer.
- Don’t lose hope after getting rejected or not receiving any response from the employer. Steer clear of negative thoughts and emotions to stay positive at all times.
- Never leave a job before receiving an offer letter for a new job otherwise, you will end up showing career gaps in your resume.
When it comes to changing career or job, you should practice rationally and practically. You should consider yourself blessed to have understood that you need a career switch and to possess the capability to make your dreams come true. But you should not ignore certain points like financial constraints and personal responsibilities. Adopt a holistic approach to take a decision that can benefit you in both the short run and long run.