Determining and finding your dream job can be a difficult task. It takes a lot of time and effort, and sometimes we realize that what we thought was our perfect job is actually not. This often requires switching a career path – and that in itself is an entire new challenge. However, it is a doable challenge if done right. Here are 6 tips on how you can successfully make a career change.
1. Identify Your Reasons for Wanting a Change
A good question to ask yourself before and during your switching process is “how will this change help me be happier?” When it comes to it, job satisfaction is important for living a happier life. There can be one or more reasons for wanting to switch—some of which include wanting to make your dreams possible, current job-dissatisfaction, wanting to learn more, or a need for change.
Whatever your reasons are, they should help you be happier. We spend half or more than half of our days at work, so it is important to be happy with what you do there to be happy generally. Research shows that job-satisfaction plays a role in a person’s overall satisfaction in life. What happens in the workplace affects how you feel outside of it, so be wary of that when you make your decision.
2. Don’t Base a Career Change Only on Money
This is a rather clichéd statement but money isn’t everything. Don’t choose a new career path solely on an increase in your monthly wages. Finances are a concern for most of us, but if you’re able to make ends meet with ease at your current job, more money in a new career won’t necessarily mean that your life will be better. Think about it – is it really worth getting more money for a job that you know you will be miserable doing? In most cases, it is not.
If your finances are sufficient but you still want a career change, then base your decision on your goals and interests, your opportunities to grow as a professional and a civilian, and your overall level of happiness instead. You are more likely to live a more fulfilling life if you don’t solely think about money. Susan Adams, a senior editor on education and business at Forbes, discusses how more money doesn’t equate to more happiness at work.
3. Research Everything You Can about the Industry
Before you make your decision about redirecting your career path, know exactly what you’re getting into. Learn everything that you can about the field and how you can fit into the industry. Learn about what it consists of and how it operates. Read journals on the industry, join industry-related groups, and follow experts in the field on social media.
There are blogs on just about everything – read up on the industry and engage with others working in it. Attend a conference related to the industry if you have the opportunity to, so that you can get up-close with people who know what working in this industry is like.
Make a list of both the positives and negatives of working in that field for you. What you feel like you won’t like about working in that industry shouldn’t be a cause for concern. If it is, it may be wise to reconsider the career change. Read job descriptions in online job portals and talk to career counselors to get a good feel of both the good and bad of your potential new job. There should be no limit to how much you know about the industry.
4. Believe in Your Ability to Succeed
Deciding to switch careers can be a daunting task. It requires a lot of work to make the transition, and there is always a possibility for failure. It’s normal to feel like you won’t be able to do the required tasks well in your new jobs because you’re out of your comfort zone. However, in that moment, you have to trust your skills and think positively about your ability to succeed.
The founder and organizer for the 2017 Women’s March on NYC, Katherine Siemionko, also dealt with naysayers when it came to organizing the march. She quit her job for this project and succeeded even after the negativity she got from others around her. Her example is inspiring, and you should try and do the same for yourself.
5. Make Connections and Build Your Network
After you have decided to switch, start getting to know people from the industry. Your connections are important for determining how far you can get in your career. That is why you must begin building your network by getting in touch with people from the industry.
It will be more difficult to do that with influential people in the industry, but make an effort to do so nevertheless. Your connections can help get you hired at an organization and keep you satisfied there too. Research shows that there is a correlation between networking, job-satisfaction, and better increase-rates of monthly wages.
Attend conferences, interact with people from the industry on social media, and engage in content they may share to get to know more people. Develop good relationships with more people so that more people can recognize your abilities and vouch for you if the time comes.
6. Be Prepared with How to Answer Questions on Your Career Change
Recruiters will almost always question why you sought a change in your career. Have a well-thought and reflective answer to that question. Don’t give a vague answer that shows uncertainty in your thought processes.
Give recruiters details and solid reasons for your case. This will make it evident that you put in a lot of thought into this decision. Your answer should be sensible, understandable, and relatable. Also keep your answer consistent; don’t give different reasons to different people. This will damage the credibility of your thought process.
A successful change in your career is dependent on the amount of effort you put in to make the transition smooth. Failures may come, but it is important to get back up and try harder the next time.