Is a new career in your future? Utilize these techniques to make the big switch.
As time goes on in your career, change is inevitable — and it's common for this change to come from a personal urge to take a leap of faith and start down a new career path. And what better time than right now to start putting these feelings of change into action?
But wait — how do you make the big career change exactly? Here are our top tips for making a career change you need to know.
Figure out your why
When it comes to making any major changes — especially when it comes to your career — you need to ask yourself some very important “Why?” questions. Why do you want to leave your current job? Why are you thinking of making a career change? What do you really want to be doing and why? Will this career change make your life better?
Maybe you are already in touch with your purpose or maybe you've never thought about it, but connecting with your “why” can keep you going when the going gets tough. It will also prevent you from ending up in a job that you hate and having to start all over again. Either way, understanding what you want to achieve will lead to a successful career transition.
Use your imagination and think about the what
Once you've answered the “Why?” questions, you need to think about the “What?”. This means before you take any steps at all, you have to imagine yourself in a new position. What does your new job role look like? What does it NOT look like? What will you do there? What will you be paid? How will you feel in this new role? Flesh out your vision as much as possible and let it guide you as you start your career transition.
Do your research
Signing up for job boards and applying to jobs is one way to look for work, but you also need to do your own homework. Based on what you want your new career to look like, figure out what companies out there match your values and are doing the work you want to be doing. What qualifications are required from candidates for those roles and companies? Look at your experience so far. What transferable skills when changing careers do you have that fit the role? What gaps do you see?
It is possible that you may need more experience in the field. Whether it's taking online courses, earning a new certification, or even going back to school to attain the right skills, you need to see what is feasible for you. Do you have the time for this extra work? Before you jump all in, think through what makes the most sense for you in terms of time, money, and need.
Make an action plan
When thinking through your action plan, make sure you answer these two questions first: “What is your ultimate goal?” and “What is your ideal timeline?”
Once you have your answers, set goals for yourself and break down your plan into achievable milestones — acquiring skills, meeting people who can help you break into your new industry, settling things at your old job, etc. This might sound intimidating, but it doesn't have to be! To make these goals easier to accomplish, create daily or weekly objectives to complete. As you check things off your list, you will find that achieving these small goals leads to you achieving your bigger goals until you successfully change careers. But first, you need to make your action plan.
Prepare your resume
On top of creating an action plan, you also want to make sure your resume is ready for the big leap into a new career. This is your primary marketing material after all; it needs to reflect your latest accomplishments in a way that highlights your suitability for the next great role. A great resume for career change is critical, so do not do this step halfway. Make sure you are updating your resume with all of your relevant, quantifiable achievements while also angling it toward the career you want — not the career you had.
Not sure how to do this — or frankly feeling overwhelmed? Don't sweat it. Instead, rely on a professional resume writer to help. A professional writer knows what you need to include on your resume when making a career transition so that you stand out in all the right ways and successfully move into your new field of work.
Update your personal brand
Everyone has a personal brand that they create and cultivate as they move through their careers. It's highly specific to you, what you do, and what you can offer professionally. This means that as you navigate through your career change, you need to update your brand to reflect the new field you're trying to break into.
Make it obvious. Change the language on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and even social media profiles to show that you're transitioning into this new industry, why you are doing so, and why you are the candidate people should be hiring. You need to sell your brand to prospective employers — especially when you are up against professionals who have years of experience in the field. Show them why you are the logical — if not standout — candidate for the job.
Need a little extra help defining your brand? Luckily, we have a personal branding checklist that will help you get your brand into tip-top shape.
Put yourself out there
You can't successfully change careers without meeting new people, putting yourself out there, and yes, networking. Once you've identified the companies where you'd like to work and ascertained that you have the skills required for your new job, reach out to friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or people who work in this field to introduce yourself, learn more, and possibly even meet for an informational interview. Use LinkedIn or other professional networking associations to determine who you know at your target company (or if anyone can introduce you to someone there) and reach out. It's a good idea to craft an email explaining who you are, what you want to do, and what information you are looking for. Also, make sure to use appropriate networking etiquette and reciprocate where possible.
There's no reason why you can't find yourself making a career change right now; the secret to getting there is to plan, prepare, and then go for it.
Ready to make the big leap, but not sure if your resume is? Check with our free resume critique today!