Thinking of Making a Career Change? | Surprising Resources That Will Help Guide YouMar 25, 2021
So, you’re thinking of making a career change?
Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a long time, or maybe the pandemic has you re-considering your career path. There are a multitude of reasons why people consider changing careers. According to a recent Joblist survey, here are the most common:
Finances or better pay - 47%
Too stressful - 39%
Better work-life balance - 37%
Wanted a new challenge - 25%
No longer passionate about industry/ field - 23%
Boredom - 22%
Whatever your reason for wanting to make a switch, we have some helpful tips to get you started on your path to making a successful career change.
Making a Career Change During Uncertain Times
While the weakened economy does present unique challenges, a successful career change is still possible. Before jumping in, there are some important things to consider when making a career change.
It’s critical to understand why you are thinking of a career change and to ensure you are doing so for the right reasons. Could it be that the current climate and situation is causing you to feel down, unproductive or burn out? Feeling unhappy could have more to do with your specific role, manager, or company.
It may also be that your industry was greatly impacted by the pandemic, making a career change necessary.
Evaluating the Current Career Environment
Just as important as getting clear on your why is to take into consideration those industries hit hardest by the current environment. If your industry of interest was impacted by the pandemic - now is probably not the best time to make that transition. It’s important to consult with a career expert on the industries that are either more resilient or are more likely to grow as we emerge and recover from the current economic situation.
Lastly, determine if you have the financial resources to support making a career change. If you were to lose income or have a reduction in salary - could you adjust your expenses or rely on your savings? You may find that building up your savings for a few months is necessary before fully committing to making a career change.
Questions You May be Asking
While there is not one set roadmap when making a career change, introspection and some helpful (and surprising!) resources will help uncover answers to some important questions you may be asking.
What do I want my job or career to look like?
What is the path going to look like?
How to discover the best career for me?
One of the most important first steps of a career transition is identifying your interests, values, skills and identifying what motivates you - family time, money, artistic expression, flexibility, etc.
Working one-on-one with a career coach can help you uncover these personal insights, explore career options and provide you with a clear strategy for a successful career change.
There are also self-assessment tests that can help you identify and learn more about your interests, strengths, work motivations and possible career options.
- Personality Test -This assessment uses the Myers & Briggs model and gives you insight into your optimal career choice, personal relationships and insights into why you do the things you do. The actual test is free, but there is a fee to unlock certain tools.
- CareerOneStop Interest Assessment - By answering 30 questions, you will obtain a list of careers that may be a good fit for your interests.
- CliftonStrengths - This assessment measures your talents, natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, and categorizes them into the 34 CliftonStrengths. You can uncover your Top 5 CliftonStrenghts, for $20. CliftonStrengths is commonly used by organizations as a professional development tool for leaders, managers, and teams.
These self-assessment tests offer a great start to gaining insight on potential career options. Next, you should work on building your personal community and network.
Build a Personal Community and Network
Building a support team may just be your greatest resource!
Find a friend or mentor in the field that you are considering. Or ask trusted friends and family if they know anyone in your field of interest.
Take time to talk to your mentor about the requirements for the job and room for advancement. If you can job shadow them - even better! Don’t hesitate in asking what part of their job they hate or find challenging. Why? You need to ensure you’re going into this knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Consider finding a career coach to add to your support team. Remember - making a career change is more of a journey than a destination.
A professional career coach can provide perspective and break-down that journey into manageable milestones. They can help you uncover hidden strengths, map out a plan and hold you accountable. They will also work with you as you shift your professional brand - so you can authentically connect with your new target audience.
“I had the pleasure of working with Career Organic through a transitional time in my career. They did a fantastic job uncovering and assessing my skills, identifying my ambitions, and creating a clear plan of action.” - Lisa Burgess
Utilize LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn offers more than a job search tool. If you’re thinking about changing careers, LinkedIn can be a powerful resource for building relationships, expanding your knowledge, and connecting with other professionals in your industry of interest.
LinkedIn groups offer a place for professionals in the same field to share industry insights and experiences. It’s also a great resource when exploring career industries.
Join LinkedIn Groups related to your desired career to get a pulse on what people are saying and how they feel about the service or industry you're considering. You can search for groups by entering a name or keyword in the Search bar at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
Once you feel comfortable, start a conversation and start building valuable connections with industry experts.
Join Professional Associations
A new community of colleagues awaits you! Remember how we mentioned the importance of building your network? Professional organizations are the perfect place to find mentors in the industry that you’re interested in.
In fact, we aren't just offering this advice, we practice it! Career Organic has formed great partnerships with various professional associations such as, American Marketing Association (AMA), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and their student chapter, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
These primarily nonprofit organizations exist for almost every industry and career field. Most national organizations have local chapters where you can attend meetings and/or luncheons as a guest. Plus, professional associations offer a range of benefits and services. Some of them include:
- Networking events
- Workshops and webinars
- Local events
- Regional and national conferences
- Expand your network
- Legislation and policy updates
And did we mention the wonderful networking opportunities and the chance to connect with potential employers?
Am I Too Old to Make a Career Change?
We hear this question often. Our answer is no!
Before he was a best-selling author, John Grisham practiced law for over a decade! He also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives for seven years from 1983. His first novel, A Time to Kill, was published in 1989.
Anna Mary “Grandma Moses,” worked on a farm and enjoyed embroidery as a hobby before becoming a famous American folk artist.
Did you know that Vera Wang was a skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40? Or that Colonel Harland Sanders was 62 when franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken?
Successful career changes aren’t exclusive to well-known people or celebrities. We have our own stories and testimonials of successful career changes. In fact, you can find inspiring stories of people who have reinvented themselves everywhere!
Remember, making a career change is your opportunity to press pause, reflect and clearly connect the dots between what you truly value, what you believe and what you’re passionate about. Here are some free resources and contact information to get you started:
FREE Resources to Support Your Career Needs
Steps to Better Networking - Learn how to cultivate meaningful relationships, expand your networking knowledge and get real examples of conversation "Do’s and Don't’s."
LinkedIn Optimization Guide - Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and boost your branding in 3 easy steps.
Setting Concrete Boundaries - This resource provides guidance on getting clear on your core values so you can set boundaries to protect what matters most.
If you’ve been thinking about making a career change or you're ready to take the next step in your career journey - check out our brand new Career Cram Course! This self-paced course is designed to make career transitions simple, no matter where you are on your journey. Check it out!
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