Steps on Making a Career Change

It is said that the average professional makes anywhere from 7 to 12 career changes in a lifetime – possibly even more. Our work situations change as well as our career goals, making a career transition at some point in our career lifetime likely to happen.  For anyone planning to make this transition, the process may feel like an enormous and overwhelming undertaking. Breaking the process down into manageable realistic steps will make it much easier for you. Here are a few tips to consider:

To get started, allow yourself meaningful focused reflection time to consider what you have enjoyed in your work situation(s) so far and what you would like to change going forward. Specifically, what skills do you enjoy using and would like to use in your next position? What type of work environment motivates and stimulates you? What are your personality strengths that you want to develop?

The next step in making a career change involves doing some initial research into career options that might be a better fit. You can start by using some on-line tools such as O*Net and the Vault career guides found on Handshake. These resources will help you to become acquainted with careers and industries that are compelling.  To improve your understanding of these options in more depth, it is very valuable to speak directly with professionals in your potentially chosen field by conducting informational interviews and learn about day-to-day tasks to gain perspective on what to expect. You can also check out career videos on Candid Career to hear professional perspectives.

In transitioning into a different career, be on the lookout for ways to enhance your newly identified skillsets and make new contacts. If you are currently working in a full-time position this can be tricky to maneuver. Here are a few ideas on how to navigate this. One way is to look for volunteer opportunities that allow you to transition into the new field, show your passion, let your new colleagues see your strengths and enthusiasm and make needed contacts. Another way to begin to transition might be to enroll in a class that will heighten your expertise or build your skills. In addition, you might look to do some free-lance work in your chosen area through contractual projects.

Be sure to set yourself a timeline so you can see your progression and keep track of what needs to happen next. Remember, this is a process and takes time and commitment. Do your follow up work and dedicate yourself to making this change, it will happen if you take the needed steps!

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