Committing to change careers isn’t an easy decision, especially when your career clock is ticking.
But the reality is that most of us will embark on a varied career path, whether we consciously decide to make a change or not. In fact, Americans on average only spend 4.2 years with a single employer.
This means young workers today will have many different jobs with varied organizations over the years.
So, whether you’re in your 20s or your 50s, successfully making a career change comes down to thorough planning and research. Here are some of the key steps to take to put you on a new career path.
Consider your career options
Even though you’ve already made the decision to leave your current field, you shouldn’t take a leap without knowing the landscape you’re dealing with. Carefully consider what you want to achieve from a new career, what your values are, and what professional pursuits you derive the most satisfaction from.
Take a look at job listings to pinpoint roles that are in line with your goals and would utilize your current skill set and experience in some capacity.
Assess your transferrable skills, values, and interests
While you may not have on-the-job experience in your new chosen career field, it’s worth considering what relevant skills and experience you do have to offer. Some of them may be transferrable and will make you more appealing to potential employers in the industry.
Even if you don’t have specific applicable training, soft skills like problem-solving and the ability to communicate effectively are desired in many industries. They can go a long way to helping you get your foot in the door of a new field.
Your values and interests matter, so ensure that they fit in with the career you’re aiming for, then highlight these attributes as clearly as you can in both your applications and interviews.
If you find that there are major gaps in your skill set or essential skills required in your new sector, consider pursuing further training or education to give you the credentials you need to make a move.
Speak the language of your new industry
Look at job postings and company websites in the sector you want to transition into to see the keywords and phrasing they use. When you go on to apply for jobs and attend interviews, speaking the employer’s language will show that you’ve done your research and that you already have an understanding of the sector.
Be prepared to make a lateral career move
If you’re serious about making a career change, it’s important to understand that you may not enter your new path at the same rung of the corporate ladder you currently sit on. You may even need to take a step back in terms of seniority. Think about what the repercussions of making this move could be (like taking a pay cut, for example) and the life adjustments you could make to facilitate a smoother transition.
Considering a career change? Start by checking out our latest jobs.