How to Plan a Career Change
Choosing a career is never an easy choice, but following your purpose and passion is worth every effort that you put into planning a change in your career. With adequate planning, the switchover can be exciting, motivating, and rejuvenating instead of fraught with worry.
Consider the following strategies as you plan and implement your career change:
- Assess your motives. Unearth the reasons for your desire to change careers. Do you feel underappreciated, underpaid, overworked, or unsatisfied in your current position? If so, dig deeper to discern whether your current employer or the career field as a whole is at the route of your dissatisfaction.
- Take time to evaluate is what makes unhappy at work comes from external sources (your employer, industry, or college), or it has to do with your inner need to evolve and develop new skills that will equip you better not just for your job, but for the next level. Be honest and compassionate with yourself. Open your heart and mind to feedback from people that truly care about you and assess your options. Sometimes, the best solution comes from inside.
- If you discover that the source of your unhappiness is your employer, change employers rather than starting an entirely new career. It's much easier to get a job within your current career field than to get your foot in the door of a completely separate career field.
- If your issue is being underpaid or overworked, it may not be necessary to change employers. Have a talk with your manager and tell them how your current position is making you feel. If you're an asset to the company, you may be able to work out an agreement for a raise, promotion, or fewer working hours.
- Continue your education. If you're considering a drastic career change, such as going from being a mortgage loan officer to a career in the medical professions, clearly you'll need additional training and planning.
- Consult with an admissions advisor of a local college in order to discern whether any continued education is necessary. If so, discuss scheduling, whether it can be done online, tuition assistance, and so on.
- Search for job postings online which fit the career field you'd like to enter. Generally, the employer or recruiter will list the required education and experience necessary to be considered for the job.
- In some instances, a certificate may be enough to get your foot into the door of a new career field. For example, cosmetology, HVAC Installation and carpentry only require a one-year certificate in most states. If something like this is your passion, you may be able to accommodate a one-year time investment.
- Consider the possibility that additional training may be all that's necessary to improve your current career. Perhaps additional education will place you in line for a promotion or more challenging work.
- Take it slowly. Hang on to your current paycheck for as long as you can, preferably until you can secure a position with a new employer. Set up interviews while you're still employed and only quit your current position once you've found a job.
- When you're currently employed with another company, you have more bargaining power in terms of salary when considering a position with a new employer.
- Once you've secured a position, it is strongly recommended to give a two or three week notice to your current employer. The lengthy notice will further increase the chances of a good recommendation and it will prevent them from being surprised when someone calls to confirm a reference.
- Attend as many networking events as you can and reach out to people working in the field and industry of your interest. Understand the dynamics of that job market or organization, while growing your connections, you are going to need sooner or later.
Considering the state of the current economy, it may seem crazy to plan a career change. However, there are many jobs available for qualified candidates. If you aren't content in your current position, life is too short to continue to spend eight hours per day miserably.
As long as you plan carefully to ensure your family's and personal security, you'd be well served seeking employment in a career field that will enhance your quality of life.