It is no longer true that people stay in the same job they had in their twenties throughout their entire working lives. It is common for people to change their career paths. Sometimes this means taking a different track within the same company, but it can also mean working in a completely different industry. There are many reasons why people seek career changes. Some are seeking a better work-life balance, while others require better pay. Some are no longer passionate about the field they started out in and are seeking a fresh challenge. Whatever your reason for changing your career path, here are some steps to do so successfully.
Update Your Skills
If you are looking to change to a vastly different field, it stands to reason that you would need to learn some new skills. However, since technology is so integrated with almost every industry and keeps changing all the time, you may need to prioritize updating these skills because what you learned at the beginning of your career may no longer be applicable. If, for example, you do not know what is meant by the term hybrid cloud, you may need to take a refresher on technology.
Assess Your Interests
If you are making a career change, it should be to something that you are interested in. If you know you need a change but aren’t sure what to do, consider past roles in which you have been successful. This doesn’t necessarily mean past jobs only but projects and volunteer positions as well. You’re more likely to excel in work that is meaningful for you, so do some self-assessment to delineate your values.
Determine Skill Transferability
While you will almost certainly have to learn new skills and update existing ones for your new career, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make any use of the ones you already have. Consider the skills required for your current career and how they might transfer to the new one. This gives you an idea of where to concentrate your efforts in acquiring new skills. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment that you can take with you to job interviews. When prospective employers ask how your skills transfer to your new career path, you will be able to describe it in detail.
Ask for Help
Many people know that their current career is unsustainable and they need a change, but they aren’t sure what the next step should be. A career counselor is a professional specially trained to help people realize their potential and find a career they can really excel in. Setting up a meeting could prove to be very valuable. Of course, you can also always discuss your options with your family and friends. However, while they may have suggestions, they may not be able to offer advice on how to change to your desired career path. Also, they may try to influence you with their expectations, possibly without even knowing they are doing it. For these reasons, an objective opinion from a disinterested professional may be much more valuable.
Try It Out First
Having first-hand experience of the new career can help you determine whether you would like to commit to it. See if you can arrange to shadow someone who works in the new field. Better yet, if there are volunteer opportunities connected to your field, try to find time in your schedule to offer up your services. Not only does this give you an opportunity to gain career-related skills, but it also helps you to make contacts in the field that can be valuable when you are looking for your first paying job on your new career path.
Many people casually consider new careers only to stay where they are out of uncertainty and fear. A career change can be risky, and like most other worthwhile things in life, it takes hard work to achieve. However, don’t fall prey to the sunk-cost fallacy and stay in a position where you are not happy because of what you have already invested in it.