Are you ready to make a career change? You are not alone. According to a survey by QuickBooks Times, only 22% of those surveyed said they would be happy working at their job for more than 10 years. However, making a career change is a big decision, so you shouldn’t take it lightly. Here are some helpful tips if you are looking to change your career path, including how to know it’s time to do so, the benefits and a step-by-step guide to change careers successfully.
When It’s Time to Change Careers
There are many reasons that could cause a mid-career professional to consider a career switch. Perhaps you feel a lack of fulfillment, or you no longer feel like there is room to grow. Others may lack work- life balance in their current position. All of these issues can lead to a lack of engagement. However, it’s also normal to experience ups and downs during your career. Especially with all the changes to the workforce due to COVID-19, don’t assume that some bad days mean you need a new career.
Analyze and think about the following questions to determine if it might be time for a career change:
— Do you consistently hate getting out of bed to go to work? This may be a persistent dread, wishing you could do anything else but go to work.
— Are your work relationships suffering? Are you regularly irritated with your boss or co-workers? Do you find yourself complaining all the time?
— Do you feel no sense of satisfaction from your job?
— Do you have a generally lazy attitude toward your tasks? This may include constant procrastination and a consistent lack of motivation.
The truth is that no professional should be unhappy in their career. If you find that you have consistently felt this way about your career for some time, it’s time to think about a career change.
The Benefits of a Career Change
Finding the right career for you will allow you to find fulfillment and happiness. This benefits you in both your professional life and personal life. Such a significant portion of our lives is spent at work. If you don’t truly enjoy that part of your life, those negative feelings can creep into your personal life as well.
Steps to Change Your Career Successfully
1. Discover what fulfillment looks like to you.
The first step to a successful career change is to discover what fulfillment looks like to you. This includes identifying your career values and your ideal work environment. Too many professionals skip over this step and end up in jobs that don’t align with their values, causing dissatisfaction. One exercise that can help you uncover your values is to identify a peak experience in your life and journal about what made it special to you.
2. Determine whether you need a career shift or a career change.
Another important step is to determine if you really need such a drastic change. You may find that you only need a career shift instead of a full career switch. To help you, create a list of what you don’t enjoy about your job and what the opposite of that would be. Could you perhaps find fulfillment in the same position but at a different organization? Would you feel happier in a different position at your current organization? Many mid-career professionals find that a career shift provides greater job satisfaction.
3. Research your target industry.
If you decide that it’s best for you to start a new career, researching the industry you are interested in is essential. One way to do so is by conducting informational interviews. They can provide you with some inside perspective about your new industry before making a career change. Is there someone in your network who works in the industry you are interested in? If not, could someone make an introduction for you? You can also reach out to your alumni association for assistance.
4. Ask the right questions during informational interviews.
During the informational interview, ask them about the skills needed to succeed in the industry. What do the next 10 years in this industry look like? What would an industry professional recommend to someone who wants to get started in this particular career path? These kinds of questions can provide you with needed insight for your next steps.
5. Determine what education or certifications you need.
You may determine that you need some additional education to qualify for your new industry. Do you simply need some experience or do you need an additional certification or degree? You can look into online classes or going to a local college as your circumstances permit. Your alumni association may be offering bootcamps or special classes for alumni, so reach out to find out what your options are.
6. Commit to your desired career change.
Decide how committed you are to making a career change. If you aren’t 100% committed to a career change, it won’t happen. To boost your commitment, set a schedule for your career change goals during the week. For example, schedule an hour or two each week in your calendar to spend on research, informational interviews and networking. Carve out time to take courses for any needed certifications or degrees. Set progressive goals for yourself and set deadlines if needed. You can also ask someone you trust to be your accountability partner to ensure you keep making progress with your career change.
Don’t look back in six months and wonder where the time went. By implementing these steps you can make a successful career change!
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