If you’re thinking about making a career change, you’re not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American changes jobs nearly 11 times by the time they reach the age of 40. People change careers for a host of reasons. Their interests change, their skills evolve, their industry experiences cutbacks, they may be looking for more money or they may seek more opportunities for advancement. If you’re thinking about making a change, follow this advice to find the career you’ve always wanted.
“Living your passion will produce a greater sense of personal reward! Making the transition means you may need to take a pay cut and supplement your income with a side gig! Best of luck to you.” says Sharon Tsao, CMO, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.
Conduct A Self-Assessment
Career changes are big steps, so it’s important to think about what you want for your future. Spend time thinking about what you like and dislike about your current job, employer and industry. Is your discontent with your career – or with the place you’re working?
Research Your Alternatives
If you’re going to take the leap, it is wise to have a plan in place. Learn everything you can about your desired new job title and learn the types of skills and experience required to break into the field. Identify gaps you may need to close and determine whether you have to take classes, earn a degree, or build your skills and knowledge before embarking on a search. Then, develop a plan to close those gaps.
Dip Your Toes In The Water
You typically need experience to land a job, but you don’t need a great deal of experience to volunteer in new fields. Identify volunteer and freelance activities related to your target career and invest in those to test your interest.
You can also set up some job shadowing days with professionals in your target field to see what it is they do all day long. If you are a recent grad, your college career office is a great resource for setting up job shadowing.
Test Through Contract or Temporary Work
Another great way to start earning valuable experience in a new field is to leverage contract jobs and temporary work. These assignments allow you to earn money and learn more about the career you’re interested in pursuing. They create a lower barrier-to-entry, and if you do a great job on an assignment, you could parlay the experience into a full-time job. At a minimum, you’ll walk away with valuable experience for your resume and with industry contacts.
Work With A Recruiter
Recruiters are a great resource for career-changers. They can help you assess your situation and understand the current job market. They will be honest with you about what you need to do in order to make a change, and if you have transferable skills today, they can help you find short-term or permanent roles in the industry.