Thinking about switching careers and making a change? You’re not the only one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.2 million workers transferred from one occupational group to another in a year.
People switch jobs for a number of reasons. Maybe your life goals have changed, or you want to work for a company that shares your values. For some people, making more money or working flexible hours are the main motivators.
Before you quit your day job, however, it helps to make a plan.
Keep reading to discover the seven steps for smoothly switching careers. With these tips, you can choose a career that’s more satisfying without finding yourself unemployed.
Discover your dream job with these seven tips!
1. Assess Your Interests
The first step to switching careers is assessing where you are today. Consider your current job. What do you enjoy about it?
What’s motivating you to leave?
Understanding your current job situation can help you find a career that matches your preferences. For example, you might enjoy an open company culture, but not the long hours. As you evaluate your current job, there are a few steps you can take before changing careers.
- Noting your accomplishments
- Learning new programs, systems, or skills
- Broadening your network (step out of your cubicle!)
- Connecting with coworkers on social media (especially LinkedIn)
- Maintaining a good relationship with your supervisor (leave on good terms)
- Do a great job
- Ensuring people know when you’re doing the heavy lifting
These tips can help bolster your resume before you leave. This process will also give you a chance to assess your interests and skill set.
Take a look at previous roles you’ve had over the years. Which do you consider most successful? You can also add any volunteer work, projects, or side jobs to the list.
Highlight the items that interested and engaged you the most. Studying these projects can help you determine which activities and skills you preferred.
What about core values? Which companies have you worked for that aligned with your personal values?
After assessing your interests, you’re one step closer to switching careers!
2. Refresh Your Resume
Take the items you highlighted above and review your resume. Do they align?
When changing careers, it’s often best to start from scratch. A fresh resume will help you reflect on your past jobs and experiences. Review your history to get a better idea of your future.
Starting a new resume before a career change will also help you design a resume for that career. After all, you want to highlight previous roles and skills that best suit the job you want to start.
For example, a graphic designer and an accountant will likely have completely different resumes. While a graphic designer would highlight “creativity” among their talents, an accountant would probably focus on analytical thinking.
Feel free to check example resumes online. Study examples that cover a number of industries. Which skills stand out to you (and match your work from the step above)?
This process can give you a better idea of which career path to pursue.
3. Consider Alternatives
Once you have a better idea of your skills and preferences, start brainstorming! Research online by studying different career options available.
You can also speak to friends, family members, and people in your network. Let them know you’re trying to find a new career. Discuss your preferred values and skills and see if they can help you brainstorm.
You can also visit a career counselor for additional help and guidance.
4. Reach Out
By age 35, 25% of young employees will have worked five jobs. Chances are, your co-workers and peers have traveled a few different career paths in their time. Before switching careers yourself, reach out to these people.
What can you learn from their experiences? Consider setting up informational interviews to learn as much as you can.
Your network can include people you’ve met professionally and personally. Let these people know you’re changing careers. Ask for their advice or inquiry about potential openings that might know about.
Tapping into your network might help you find your dream job without sending out hundreds of applications.
Make sure your resume is updated and ready to share before you start sending it out!
5. Learn & Improve
You likely won’t end up switching careers overnight. That’s okay. In the meantime, start learning! Improving your current skill set and knowledgebase can help you stand out among different job applicants.
Look for free online classes, seminars, conferences, or training events in your area.
Instead of obsessing over your career change, this will help you remain productive and proactive.
Who knows; you might meet someone at one of these conferences who can help you with your career change.
You might also need new certifications, which can help your resume stand out from other applicants’. For example, before becoming a certified financial risk manager, you’ll need to pass both FRM levels first. You can check your FRM eligibility if you’re interested.
6. See If You Can Shadow
If you’re exploring a field you’re unfamiliar with, it can help to shadow a professional in that field. This is a chance to observe their work firsthand and learn more about the industry.
You can spend anywhere between a few hours to a few days shadowing people.
Again, reaching out to your network can prove instrumental in your career change. You might know someone who can help set up this shadowing opportunity for you.
7. Give It a Try
If you can, give the new career a test drive. Looking for volunteering or freelance opportunities that are related to your new field.
After shadowing a professional in the industry, see if they know of any opportunities.
Otherwise, keep learning and upgrading your skills!
It’s Time for a Change: 7 Tips for Switching Careers Smoothly
It’s time to make a change! With these seven tips, you’ll find switching careers is easy! All it takes is a little research and the confidence you’ll succeed.
Explore our opportunities today to find the job of your dreams!