Switching careers can seem daunting, especially if you are venturing into a new field with little or no experience. The daily responsibilities of work and family may have you asking, “Where do I start?” If you feel the urge to take a step towards a different career, refer to the following tips for guidance. It may be the push you need to get you started.
Establish a sound reason for the shift in course.
If you find your current work environment unfulfilling, look closely at what specifically you would like to change. While in some cases, a total reset might be in order, there may be other instances where minor adjustments could result in a significant difference and better quality of work life without leaving the company. Before making a move, weigh the pros and cons for both staying and leaving your current position. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to alter your state of unrest.
Get your budget in order.
Have a strong financial plan to support your next steps if you decide to make a move. If further education or training is required, determine how you will pay for the expense. Are you willing and able to secure part-time employment to help supplement the family income during your studies? Research grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities.
Gather a healthy support system.
Surround yourself with a circle of accomplished mentors who will guide you and provide honest feedback. Relying on an outside perspective is helpful when you are trying to make objective decisions. For example, after consulting with a mentor in the financial industry, you may find you aren’t in a position to quit your job. Map out a strategy to help you achieve your goals, one step at a time.
Assess whether there will be adequate demand for your new job interest.
Instead of being quick to narrow in on a particular career, it is important to research how many local companies are hiring in your area. Reviewing this information can alert you to potential declines or steady growths in the industry. Having an up-to-date picture of your local job market will help provide clear direction regarding your professional path.
Evaluate your experience.
Before making the switch, compare your experience with what is required from the new job. Is there a sizable difference? If so, you will have to figure out how you can bridge the gap. In most instances, it will take a combination of further education, hands-on experience and business connections. Create a list of skills you need to develop as well as how you plan to progress.
Review the facts, not your fantasy.
A higher salary is an added benefit to any career change, but it shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision-making process. Balance your ambitions with the reality of the job by reaching out to industry professionals for an informational interview. This one-on-one conversation will give you the opportunity to ask pertinent questions, receive expert advice and explore your options.
For more career advice, read my article, 8 Steps to an Engaging Elevator Speech via the Huffington Post.