For many people today, changing careers is not all that uncommon. Remaining in a set career for thirty or forty years used to be the accepted norm, but nowadays making four or five career changes is yesterday’s news.
So, how do you go about changing your career when you’re ready to move on to something new? Whether you’re moving on because you’ve been forced to or because you want to, it’s important to recognize that there are some risks involved.
For the average American, leaving or losing a job can mean serious financial trouble. If you’re planning on changing careers, you need to be prepared to make some cutbacks on spending. You may need to have some sort of supplemental income for a while, such as unemployment benefits or savings.
Once you’re set on finding a new career, consider the following things:
1. Likes and dislikes
2. Possible new careers
3. Transferable skills
4. Training and Education
5. Networking ability
The single greatest challenge you may face is the utter lack of experience in your new field(s) of interest. Do your best to find a way to gain some—whether it’s through a part-time position or volunteering, you’ll significantly increase your chances of being noticed and hired.
If you can, find a mentor to help you through the career change. This will not only give you some extra support, but will also expand networking abilities and could possibly garner more visibility in the profession.
Finally, be aware of the current job-hunting basics. Update your résumé, cover letter, and interviewing skills. Find resources on how to negotiate salary and research the companies you are interested in. Flexibility during the entire process will be key. Set some goals for yourself, but be willing to adapt and change these goals if necessary.