Whether you are in a dead-end job or have a stable career that you hate, if you are considering a career change take these tips to heart before you take the leap.
1. Dig deeper to understand your motivations
A career change shouldn’t be taken lightly. Especially one that requires learning a new skill. So ask yourself questions to make sure that a new career is really what you are after. Are you looking for a change because you have potential that is being unfulfilled? Are you looking for a more stable or rewarding future?
2. Make a list of your wants vs needs
When deciding which direction to take, it’s important to consider all of your opportunities. Make a list of careers that interest you. Then make another with industry or job aspects that are must-have, and a list of wants. This will help you narrow down your options and set a clear target for your ideal career.
3. Do the math
Make sure you know what you are getting into. If you are taking time off for education, you need to be able to keep yourself afloat, or depend on friends/family. If you are looking into a paid program, do the math and ensure that it’s financially worth it.
4. Enlist the help of friends
It might be tempting to keep this to yourself if you are worried about failing. But in reality, it’s much better to share your career change aspirations with friends. Not only can they potentially give you advice and act as a sounding board for ideas, they might be able to keep an ear out for jobs or networking opportunities.
5. Write an elevator pitch
When you begin networking you are probably going to talk about yourself quite a bit more than you are used to. To help get yourself comfortable, write out a short pitch about yourself. It doesn’t need to be anything formal. It does need to have memorable “sound bites” that help get your story across. Think of the things you most want people to remember and focus on polishing those ideas.
6.Use social media wisely
Once you have a good idea of the types of jobs that interest you, it’s time to do some research using social media. Start by looking up people on LinkedIn with the job titles you want. Take a look at their experience, skills and how they talk about themselves. This can give you clues for areas you need to work on. Also, look for local networking events via Twitter and Meetup.
7. Start networking
Networking can help you widen your horizons and find a job much sooner. Meeting people in your new target industry and getting your name out there can also make the difference between you and another job candidate.
8. Find a mentor
Mentors help guide you in more ways than one. It is invaluable to be able to check in with a person who has already walked your path and can give advice or just listen to your frustrations.
9. Do something each day to get you closer to your goal
Whether this is learning a new skill or networking, maintain your momentum. It’s a lot easier to keep going when you establish good habits to begin with.
10. Be patient and persistent
Things don’t always happen on your ideal timeline. If things are taking longer than you thought, take a step back and reevaluate the work you have done. If you can’t be objective, reach out to people in your new network and try and get feedback. It might just be that you need to reset expectations for how long a career change can take. Or, you might be missing an important skill from your resume.
11. Stay inspired by reading stories about others who have succeeded
It can be easy to feel discouraged. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. One way to help instill positive affirmations in your mind is by reading success stories from other people. Hearing “it’s possible” can do wonders for your motivation. Treehouse has tons of great success stories you can check out.
Success doesn’t always come easy, but there is nothing more rewarding than having a goal, doing the research and working your way across the finish line. If you have changed careers, what advice would you add to this list?
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