How to Change Your Career Path
Are you looking for the safest way to change your career path?
It is never an easy decision.
When you consider the sacrifices you made throughout your time in your career, sometimes you wonder if you are making the right choice. It is also understandable to have this fear of changing your career, what if it doesn’t work out?
There is no better time than now to discover the best steps to make this change. No matter your age or experience, your career change will work out just fine when you follow the right guide.
Why Changing Your Career Path Might Be a Good Idea
You started your current career for the wrong reasons
Sometimes “life happens” and we have to roll with the punches. This is why you may have fallen into your current career path when you did. Not just you but many others are looking for a change in career paths because they entered it for the wrong reasons. Although it is difficult to define what the right or wrong reasons for starting a career are, time reveals everything. For example, the desperation to get a job may have made you choose your current career. Likewise, the prospect and appeal that the job promised might have influenced you. Any of these are understandable reasons why changing your career path might be a good idea.
You have achieved your goals in your current career
Not everyone jumps headfirst into the career pool, some venture into a career path with a concrete plan. Yet, even when you had the best reasons for starting your current career, a change is never off the table. One of the most reasonable and respectable reasons for changing your career is when you have achieved your set goals. If the time comes when you reach the goals you had planned or targeted beforehand, moving on would be a celebration. For this reason, it pays to have set goals before entering a new career. It helps to know when to stop and allow others to shine.
You are no longer growing
Serious and ambitious professionals always examine themselves. This examination would help them determine whether they are growing in their career or not. Thus, when you suspect that you are no longer growing, moving on is a welcome development. There are various ways to monitor your growth. Firstly, when you compare former opportunities, results, and working conditions and discover zero changes, you’re stagnant. Secondly, when you remain on the same salary or without a promotion, then you have to move. Sometimes it’s not your fault that you are stagnant professionally. Yet, it would be your fault if you discovered that you were stagnant and remained there.
You see no future for the career
Some people love what they do, while some do it for the money. Starting your career is usually one of the most gratifying steps you could ever take. However, a plethora of factors may affect the career path and cut the honeymoon short between you and your career. One of such unfortunate events is when the career faces extinction. Some of the careers thriving today will either not be sustainable or completely extinct. This is when you start to look elsewhere as there is no longer a future in the career for you. If this ever happens, no one in their right mind would question your decision to move on from your career path.
You have outgrown your current career
Is it possible to outgrow a career path? Fortunately, (or unfortunately) it is. As the world keeps changing so are people evolving. You could wake up one day and find out that you are not a good match for your current career anymore. The most common cause of outgrowing your career is aging. Age is a major factor in some industries, especially entertainment, modeling, and sports. These are career paths that are easy to fall in love with. However, when you start aging, the company might need to replace you with someone younger. Also, you might come to the conclusion by yourself and decide to call it quits no matter how much it hurts. By deciding to change to a more “age-appropriate career”, you would be doing yourself some good.
You need better opportunities to earn
The passion for your career should be the premier reason for venturing into it. However, making ends meet is the primary reason for working in the first place. Thus, when the career path you are currently is not giving you the necessary opportunities you need to make money, leaving is understandable. What you cannot have in your current career can be gotten elsewhere. Moreover, if you have sufficient skills to get you into a much higher earning career, you may take it. In the end, there is no use in having skills that afford you opportunities and not use them.
Steps to changing your career path
Do one last soul searching
Most of the people who change careers are either approaching or are middle-aged professionals. This implies that they must have spent many years on their current career paths. Thus, leaving is not always easy. Even for younger professionals, changing careers is not what you should do overnight. For this reason, you should dig deeper and see one last time if you must make the change.
You may start by putting some points in writing. What you feel about the process and your concerns should be noted. Also, look inward to see if your values and skills still fit the career. Lastly, consider how relevant your position in the career is. If you do not get honest, positive answers, then you have every cause to move on.
Define the reasons for the change
After convincing yourself that a career change is the best option for your professional journey, get factual. Emotions aside, you need to have concrete reasons for wanting to change your career path. These reasons will come in handy when things don’t go your way in your new career. They will help you retrace your steps and focus on what’s most important to you.
Define the various reasons why you must make the change. If age is a factor, then note it. Money, time with your family, better opportunities, and the opportunity to showcase your skills are valid reasons for making a change. When you note the reasons that pertain to you, they will guide you in making a smart career decision the next time. Thus, when you see the same reasons for changing your career in the next one, you’ll know that’s not the best option.
Do some research on the new career choice
At this stage, you have completed the first step of reassuring yourself of the rationality of changing your career. Next, you must do some career searching. Changing your career at this stage affords you the power to decide your future. Start by looking within the industry you currently work in. See if there are career paths that appeal to you and tick all the right boxes for you.
Finding a career within a known industry helps to adjust more quickly. However, if you intend to look outside your current industry, you may. Do some research on the new career choice you want. Find out if it has the answers you are looking for in a new career. Lastly, be sure that it is a good fit for you.
As long as you are doing business or working for someone else, you will always need to network. The power of networking can never be underestimated, especially when you decide to change your career. Don’t wait until you have all the skills and academic qualifications for the new career before you start networking. The moment you are convinced that you want to change your career, start focusing on networking.
Find people in the new career you want to start. From employees in companies to business owners in the career path, anyone can help you. Not only do you need the network for getting a job in the new career, but you also need them for information. Pay more attention to and show up when people in your new career path gather.
Make realistic plans
Starting a new career is a big deal. There would likely be some people who do not agree with your decision. Thus, it would be ideal to make plans before you start your new career to avoid them say, “I told you so.” When you make these plans for your new career, make sure they are realistic.
How you intend to approach the change, your adjustment tactic, and expectations must be attainable. Although setting the bar high is encouraged, it pays to be realistic. Set goals that would be achievable for a reasonable period. Also, take notes of the targets you set for yourself and acknowledge them once you start meeting them.
Gather the needed skills for the new career
The skills required for the new career might be different from the former one. Thus, you must invest in acquiring skills relevant to the new career. Both your former and new career paths can have a few similar required skillsets. However, you must do more research into knowing and learning the skill that will help you excel at the new career path.
Besides skillsets, education is important. If you are eyeing a career path outside your current industry, the academic qualification might be different. Find out what qualifications you need, learn what you need to, and get equipped for the new career.
Update your resume
Always remember to include your resume when making an important career decision. Your current resume would contain information that refers to the former career path. Thus, you need to update it to be relevant to the new career path. From the moment you make up your mind about changing your career path, start planning a new resume. Do your research on the widely accepted resume style in the new career path. Next, mirror the new resume after the widely accepted style. As you start learning and developing your skills for the new career path, you may begin to write your new resume.
Start job hunting
Once you have started acquiring the needed skills and qualifications for the new career, you may start job hunting. Try taking on jobs that will help you learn more about the career first. Use your connections to find good jobs. Also, talk to virtually everyone you know and make sure they support you in getting a job. Search for jobs on job sites and also have some peculiar organizations in mind that you would like to join. As long as you keep looking and keep acquiring relevant skills, you will find somewhere favorable.
Monitor and assess your progress
Getting a new job in a new career path is great but the work doesn’t end there. Since you would love to remain on that career path for a long time, you ought to monitor your progress. Take note of how you are doing and what opportunities are available to you. Also, see how the new career path fits you and how much you have improved.
Likewise, assess your progress in your new career. Examine the quality of your output and see if you are making progress or lagging. Also, check to see if you are in the same position after a few months or years. Try to find out what the cause of your stagnancy is if you are not progressing. Then, improve the situation. However, if you find out that you are indeed making progress, find better ways to continue doing so.
Changing your career is not always easy but it could be one of the best choices you would ever make. Seek professional help when changing your career if you find it confusing. The most important aspect of making a career change is having a solid plan. As long as the plan is realistic, you will make progress. Lastly, monitor your performances in the new career and see where you can make improvements.