Dumb Little Man

How To Change Careers Without Losing Your Mind

workerYou hate your job. The economic outlook in your field is grim. You’ve moved and there are no openings in your area of expertise. You’re still too young to retire though. Whatever the reason for considering a new line of employment, knowing how to make a career change can seem like a daunting task.

Break the thought process down into bite-sized chunks, weigh the benefits and consequences and tap into a new line of work with these ten tips.

What’s Your Motive?

Check the reasons why you want to change careers. Is it money? More time with family? The prestige of a new career? Understanding your mindset will guide your decision-making process. If it’s more free time you seek, a labor-intensive field may not be the best choice. If it’s higher wages, you may need to invest in more education or skill training to be marketable.

Those Who’ve Boldly Gone Before.

Seek career change advice from leaders in your prospective field and from those who’ve successfully changed their line of work in similar circumstances. People who’ve “been there, done that” can give you the pros and cons of a career move. Ask potential employers what they’re looking for in their employees and what the job market looks like for your choice.

Go Where the Numbers Lead.

Your dream job of writing a book may seem like a nice change of pace from the corner cubicle, but can you make a living on it right away? What kind of employees is the job market running low on in your area? Are you willing to further your education to obtain the skills needed to match the current market demand? Jobs in fields like social work, physical therapy and computer science are secure options. Here are some numbers to consider:
– The number of openings in an area of work I’m interested in.
– The number of education dollars needed to meet the job requirements.
– The number of months or years this education will cost me.
– The number of dollars I’ll bring home in a month.
– The number of similarly skilled people competing for the same job.

Count the cost of the wages, education, time, and the market before making a move. Then, write that novel in your spare time.

Different, but the Same.

If you’re in a hurry for a brand new career due to a loss of current employment or a move, consider work in a parallel field. If your previous career was a paramedic, consider working as a clerk in an emergency room for a short time while you get your bearings. If you’re a librarian seeking new employment, consider using those skills as a research coordinator or archive specialist. Working with the skill set you already have helps to ease the transition into new employment and boosts your confidence right off the bat.

Resume Builders

If you’ve worked only in one area of expertise, and you’re seeking a job outside of that area, your resume may seem a bit light for the new position. Be sure to include some of these areas on your resume and show future employers you mean business.
– Hobbies related to your field of interest.
– Workshops and online education completed.
– Volunteer or freelance work you’ve completed in the prospective field.

The Time Factor.

Education and the learning curve for new skills may be the biggest time constraint on how to change your career. It may be wise to gain that education and training online or through a distance-learning program while you work your current job. For example, if you’re thinking of getting into real estate, consider obtaining your license to work in your spare time or on weekends while you work your “day job.” You won’t lose your current income and can save months of time by working and attending class. Educational providers have excellent advice on how to switch careers and can aid in the transition process.

Stay Locally Connected

Be an active member of your community. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can play a big role in securing a career change. Brushing shoulders with people in the community can lead to connections and a possible job in the future. If you want to know how to become a real estate agent, get to know the agents in your community. If you’ve just moved, or are planning to move, make a list of questions for the agent you’ve chosen to work with—then take her to dinner for her time.

Saying Goodbye.

Leaving a career or job after a long time can be difficult. Stay in touch with the people you’ve worked with and stay connected to any leads they may have for future employment. Leave your current work in good standing if at all possible, with at least a two-week notice. Your future employer will most likely check references, and you want to have a good one from the last job you worked. Pay any debts to that employer before you go and clean out your area to leave a good last impression. Saying goodbye can be hard, and a major life change like a career switch can be mentally exhausting. Continue to foster the positive relationships you developed at your current job and the transition will be easier.

Patience, My Dear.

Flexibility and patience are the keys to success for a career change, especially after working for years in a totally different field. There will be a learning curve for skills. There will be unknown factors you didn’t see coming and new people to interact with.

The Perfectionism Trap.

Don’t use the excuse of waiting for the perfect time, perfect job or perfect other circumstance. It won’t happen. Once you make your decision, take actionable steps to secure your new line of work. Write down step-by-step goals and don’t let anyone steal your motivation for a brighter future.

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