Changing careers is a daunting decision and many people avoid making it because they don’t know where to start. If you have been letting fear rule you, then this article is for you. These steps will guide you during your career change so that you are sure of your decision.
Identify Your Motivations
When deciding to make a career change, you have to be completely sure you are making the decision for the right reasons. You have to identify your motivations for wanting to leave your current career. Plus, you also have to know what motivates you to get up every morning if your current job isn’t cutting it.
Sometimes we feel like we want to quit and that we hate our jobs, but there can be multiple reasons for this. It can be that the work environment is awful or that you don’t feel the company takes advantage of your abilities.
So, make sure the reason is that you really don’t like the career and that you feel like maybe your current career doesn’t allow you to have the lifestyle you desire. That’s the other part—what are your goals in life and what do you expect to get from your new career? Do you expect:
- To make more money?
- To have more free time to spend with family and friends?
- To have more freedom to work from anywhere?
- To be your own boss?
If you know exactly what you want, you can later figure out which career paths will allow you to have that.
Make a List of Possible Careers
The next step is to make a list of potential careers that will adapt to your strengths, motivations, and life goals. You already should have identified what are your motivations so you can include two or three careers for those.
For example, maybe one of your motivations is to have the freedom to work from anywhere. So, being a digital marketer or technical writer is a good career option with a lot of openings for remote positions. These aren’t the only careers that will allow you to work from anywhere, but you get the idea.
Then you should also be aware of what your strengths are. If you correctly identify your strong personality traits you can then add another few careers that make use of those strengths. If you don’t know, you can take a career quiz that will give you insight into your personality.
Now, you should have a list of at least five careers that could potentially be the better choice. At this point is when you start researching in-depth everything you can think of about each of the careers. That way you will know exactly what you are getting yourself into before making the decision.
You should research about:
- What is the number of job openings and how it has changed in the last few years?
- What are the average yearly salaries for each one, especially for entry-level positions?
- What is the expected growth for the next decade?
- What qualifications do you need and how much will it cost to get them?
- Do you have any transferable skills for each career?
- How difficult it is to enter the industry?
- What is it actually like to work as a professional in each career?
Much of this research you can do by a simple Google search. But to know things like what it’s like to work as a professional in the area you could contact people on LinkedIn and ask to have informational interviews with them.
In these interviews, you can get all the information on what will be a normal day for the career you are considering. If you have an answer to all of these questions, you will be able to make an informed decision.
Plan How to Retrain
At this point, you should already have a decision on which career path you want to pursue and know if you need to get extra qualifications. The most expensive and long way to retrain yourself will be to go back to university. This may be a requirement for some careers, in which case you won’t be able to avoid it.
But if having a degree isn’t mandatory, you can explore other options to get the needed skills. For example, you could find an online course that will teach you the skill, or, if it is a technical career, you could explore the option of a coding bootcamp.
Having a bachelor’s degree has become less of a requirement for many careers in the last few years, as long as you have equivalent years of experience; consider this when planning how you will retrain yourself.
Plan the Budget
The biggest expenses you will have will be on retraining yourself. Even the cheapest options like coding bootcamps cost at least a few thousand dollars. Plus, you will have to be able to support yourself while you get the necessary qualifications and find a new job.
Plan how you will get the money to afford all this. Maybe you will study part-time and work the rest of the time. Maybe you have savings you can fall on, or you could even ask for a loan.
Many coding bootcamps, for example, offer income-sharing agreements where you start paying the course after you find your first job. They also offer loans with comfortable monthly payments. Either option will do, as long as you know what you are agreeing to and have a plan before quitting your current career.
Build a Network
Finally, you should start building a network in the new industry you choose. You will be entering a completely new job market and the chances are that your old network won’t be able to help you much. You can do this by starting participating in the sector’s platforms; many times there are different communities for professionals to interact.
You can also start attending events and meetups that will give you an opportunity to make yourself known. And who knows? You could be finding an internship opportunity with a great company.
Don’t worry anymore and start taking action. The sooner you start the transition, the sooner you will find yourself in a new career with a job that makes you happy. You can first identify your motivations, then make a list of possible careers, research everything about each one, plan how you will retrain and how you will afford it, and start building a new network.