Want to make a career change, but feel stuck? You aren't alone. Many people try and fail to make the career change they really want. There are ways to get your career change back on track. Here are the top tips from our team of career change experts that are proven to kickstart your career change.
Define Your Goals
To stick to anything, you need to know why you want to make the change. This means that you need to define your goals in the career change. To do this, think about the following:
- Long-term or short-term. Is this a forever career change or something that gets you on a forever career path?
- What you get. Think about the things that you get as a result of the change. Are these material items that you really want? Or, are they improved quality of life? Or both? Whatever it is that you will get can make the change worth your time.
- Where You Want to Be. Think about where you would like to be in terms of the type of organization and what they do.
- Who. The types of people that you want to be around and who they serve can make it easier to find the right types of organizations and to walk away from the wrong ones.
Taking the time to define your goals will make the career change more focused. It will also help you to determine what matters and will keep the process less overwhelming.
Research Your Options
Take the time to do some research. Talk to friends, family, and mentors who might have experience in the field you’re interested in or who might know someone who does. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn as much as you can.
Not know anyone in the field? Do your research online to find out as much as you can. The best places to research the new field or industry include:
- Job Boards. Look at what companies are hiring and what they need people to do. Read those qualifications to find out where you can fit in and where you have gaps.
- Top Employer Lists. Every major city has one. Look at this list to find out who in your area is well-liked and why.
- Financial Reports. Stability matters when making a career change to ensure that it sticks. Look at financial publications, public earnings statements, and other financial resources to determine if there are any concerns with the targeted organizations or industry.
- LinkedIn. This is the top professional networking site online, so mine the site to find people to connect with, follow influencers, and follow companies in the industry that you want to land.
Digging in to find out the real story about the places you want to work or the industry that you want to join can make a huge difference in your career change. It can also help you to focus your efforts on what is possible rather than being stuck.
Create a plan with a timeline of what you will do and when. This will make a huge difference in keeping you on track with your career change. It will also help you to understand what can be done and what must be done in the process.
Write out your plan to change your career. Make sure to include SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-Based) goals. This will ensure that you know exactly what you should do rather than allowing you to be bogged down with what you could be doing.
As you go, make sure to track your progress. This will help you to stay focused and keep your goals on track.
Seek out Support
Changing careers can be time-consuming and challenging. Most people cannot do it alone. It’s important to reach out for support. Effective ways to build your team to keep your career change moving forward include:
- Look for mentors. Mentors are people who have gone before you and understand what it takes to make a career change successful. It’s much easier to learn from someone who has done it than from someone who is in the same boat as you.
- Join groups. Connect with people who are interested in the same industry as you. Look for associations, support groups, and forums where you can get advice or just gain insight into what is happening in the field.
- Connect with recruiters. Many external recruiters specialize in connecting people in a field or profession. Reach out to as many recruiters as you can to build your network and open doors to the places you want to go.
- Friends and Family. People you already know would love to help in your career change. This can be as simple as asking for input on your plan or asking for an introduction to people they know. Remember, the person doesn't have to be in your desired field or industry to know someone that it is.
The more support you have, the easier it will be to make your career change successful. Reach out for help and take the time to build relationships that can become powerful resources later on.
Build Your Network
LinkedIn published a 5-year study in 2022 that people were 2x more likely to land a job with help of their weaker connections rather than their strongest relationships. The takeaway from this study is that building your network can make the biggest impact on your career change and that anyone can matter in that process.
Ways to grow your network to make a career change include:
- Go to Events. Most organizations have returned to in-person events. Use that as an opportunity to go and learn while connecting with people that do what you want to do.
- Send LinkedIn invites. Research people in the field that you want to be and send out invitations to connect.
- Start a conversation. Talk to your new connections periodically to learn about what they do and how it is going. These honest moments can help you learn quite a bit while also staying top of mind with your network.
Building a strong network will give you a better understanding of the industry as well as connections who may be able to help you land a job. This also takes time and that effort won't pay off overnight. So make sure to stay consistent with your networking and incorporate it into your career change plan at each step.
Update Your Resume
You will need to take a fresh review of your resume to make sure that it is reflective of someone in the field that you want to be in. This means removing the jargon from your prior industry and focusing on the future.
Your past experiences will matter, but in a different way as you work towards your desired path. So make sure that your resume reflects what you want to do and not what you have done in the past.
You will also need to include a new set of keywords on your resume to get through the HR part of your job search. You need to include the keywords and phrases of your new profession on your resume, but it needs to be an honest reflection of what you can do and have done.
Many people working on a career change benefit from working with a professional resume writer. Companies like The Contingent Plan know exactly what keywords the applicant tracking systems are looking for and how to craft the perfect achievement bullets.
Get Training or Certification if Needed
Depending on the field you're interested in, additional training or certification may be required before landing a job. Do your research to see if this is the case and then take the necessary steps to get started.
Often, simply completing an online course or two can make a big difference when applying for jobs. Furthering your education shows employers that you're serious about making the switch and are willing to put in the extra effort required.
Try it Out
One of the best ways to learn about a potential new career is to get some experience in the field. If possible, shadow someone who already works in the field or look for internships or volunteer opportunities where you can start to gain the skills and knowledge needed for the job. Often, getting first-hand experience is the best way to know if a particular career is right for you—or if it's not quite what you imagined.
Seek out Professional Help
Sometimes, making a major change in your career can be daunting, which is why seeking out professional help from a qualified career coach or counselor can be so beneficial. A professional can help assess your skills and interests and offer guidance on which direction might be best for you. They can also provide support and accountability as you work toward making your career change happen.
Making a career change is possible with the right plan, resources, and dedication. Use these tips as you navigate this process and remember that it will take time and hard work to achieve success. Good luck!
Want help to make your career change goal a reality? Submit your information below to claim a free consultation with the career change experts at The Contingent Plan to find out if we can help.