Are you thinking of changing careers? Hold your horses and think it over carefully. Career change is a natural life progression, yet it isn’t something you just plunge into. A career change needs much thought, time and careful planning. If what you really want is to change careers, follow this 10-step guide to help you transition into a new path towards career success.
Step #1: Make sure you have the right reasons for changing careers.
Some people think that they need a career change because they don’t like what they’re doing, their work environment or their boss. Change may be right for them, but not necessarily a career change. Your reasons for changing careers should include occupational advancement, self-development, increasing your earning power and following your passion.
Step #2: Assess your likes and dislikes.
Listing down your dislikes is easy, but take time to think about the things that you like and how you want your life to be. Answers to questions like what you like to do at work, at home and in your spare time can help you know the direction you’ll want to take for your career change. Think also of what energizes you, what is your passion and how do you see yourself 5, 10, 20 or 30 years from now.
Step #3: Research new careers.
Once you’ve determined your passion and the activities that energize you, research on the possible careers that center around those themes. Then thoroughly investigate the new field you’re planning to change to. Is your desired field viable? Is the product or service it provides in demand or lucrative? Is it long-term or something that could become obsolete? What does it take to become successful in this field? Find all that you can before you resolve to enter the new field.
Step #4: Solicit advice from resource people.
Ask for the input and advice of people from your desired field or industry. Set a definite goal for the meeting and think of the important questions you want to ask them before actually meeting them. These people are often the ones who can tell you the requirements, advantages and disadvantages of going into their field.
Step #5: Test the waters.
Give the new job a little dry run. Testing the waters can help you solidify your decision about changing careers. Volunteer in your new field to gain some experience. Or better yet, get a part-time job in your new field so you can experience the pace at which the job moves, get a first-hand experience on the workload, and a chance to see the industry from the inside.
Step #6: Determine if you’ll need further studies or additional training.
You may find that you need to broaden your knowledge and update your skills to get into your desired industry. Take it slowly; see if you can transfer some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. If you need to take up further studies or training, determine how long it will take to be competent in your new career.
Step #7: Network.
Your networking capabilities will be one of the keys to your career change. People in your network, such as family, friends, and past colleagues, could give you job leads and information about a particular company. They can also introduce you to other people who may be working in your desired field.
Step #8: Identify the best places to work in your desired industry.
Research and find out which companies or organizations are thriving. Which ones seem to have the most progressive business models? Since you’re already making a change, aim as high as possible and try to work with the best people and the best company.
Step #9: Develop a full career plan with S.M.A.R.T. objectives.
A successful career change requires time and commitment. Develop a plan for yourself with a specific time frame and with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals. Include milestones that you can measure and deadlines, and adhere to the plan as much as possible. Be patient; do not rush or skip any important step.
Step #10: Be flexible.
You’ll have to be flexible with anything, from your employment status to salary and relocation. Expect setbacks and change, but don’t let this bring you down. Stay positive and focus on the end goal, which is engaging in a new career that you truly love.