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October 22, 2021
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Taking a new job in your current career is equal parts excitement and apprehension. You’re confident in your experience and your skills, but you’re starting over someplace new.
Changing careers, though, can be filled with more apprehension than excitement. You’re not just starting over someplace new. You’re also starting your career over!
If you’re considering a major change in your career path, follow these eight career change tips and best practices to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
Maybe your career change happened suddenly as an “aha” moment. Or, you’ve spent time considering your current career path and have consciously decided now is the time to find something you are passionate about or always wanted to do.
No matter why you’re contemplating switching things up, it is a best practice for changing careers to embrace the decision. Start by creating a career change action plan and setting job search goals to take your career change from dream to reality.
Making a career change doesn’t require creating an entirely new work history. However, it does require a careful and thoughtful analysis of your skills and experience to help you explain to employers how what you’ve gained in your old career path will help you in your new one.
Figure out what your transferable skills are and highlight those on your resume. Soft skills like problem-solving, communication, and adaptability are highly sought-after skills by employers. Include examples of when you used these skills and how they benefited your employer. This will help the hiring manager understand how you’ve got the skills to do the job no matter your work history.
Looking at your resume, you may feel like you don’t have enough skills or experience to change careers—yet. But there are several ways you can build new skills and gain experience as a career changer. This includes:
Your cover letter is, in many ways, an extension of your resume. It’s one more opportunity (and page!) to explain why you’re perfect for the role. Take advantage of the extra real estate to explain why you’re changing careers and how your existing skillset has prepared you for and will transfer to the new role.
In a long-standing career, your brand has naturally grown and turned into something you know inside and out. When you are starting over and making a career change, you must reinvent your brand and learn to share it with others. Create an elevator pitch that explains who you are and why you’re changing careers.
Networking is one of the most successful ways to get your brand known and to find new opportunities. Just because you are in the process of changing careers, though, doesn’t mean you have to start networking completely from scratch.
Reach out to your current connections to see if they have any advice or anyone they could introduce you to. Get involved in groups in your new career field. And, check out social media for what’s interesting and new at companies you want to work for.
For many, the decision to change careers doesn’t come easily, especially when you feel that you already have a secure job in place. If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a certain career or industry, consider testing a few different roles out first. Pick up a flexible part-time or freelance job, or give volunteering a go to get a feel for the type of work you are interested in.
The interview is every job seeker’s 15 minutes of fame; it is your time to shine. As a career changer, you may feel vulnerable, but it is important to be confident about your new path. Be prepared to answer questions about your career change, as well as your knowledge of typical job duties.
Also, don’t be afraid to offer to demonstrate your skills on a trial task or opportunity. And ask great questions during your interview! This will demonstrate not only your confidence but also your ability to get the job done.
Just as we have different stages in life, so do careers, and it’s not uncommon for workers to change careers several times. In fact, the average person will change careers five to seven times!
So, if you’re contemplating a career change, know that you’re not alone. And, if you follow these career change tips best practices for changing professions, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and easy transition to something new.
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