Perhaps the time has come for you to consider changing careers. Whether by choice or circumstances, you can make sure the change is a positive one and the transition is smooth and successful by paying attention to a few key points. The better you prepare for your career change before you make it, the more control you can have over how it goes and how your life will look afterward.
Greater preparedness can also help you to better manage the stress, anxiety and fear often associated with such a major life event as a change of careers.
There are certain things to know about yourself and the job market before you devise your strategy for changing careers. It will also require identifying the skills you possess and have acquired at your present job that will transfer well to a job more satisfying to you. If you are 50 years of age or older, you may even have some advantages, despite the apparent drawbacks, in the job market. Whatever your age, social media can be a tremendous resource in advancing your new career goals. Implement these other practical tips for changing careers and you will find yourself in a new, more satisfying job before you know it. Just remember not to give up prematurely once you have begun the effort. Changing careers is not usually easy, quick or cheap, but as most people who have done it successfully will tell you, it is more than worth it.
What to Know When Making a Career Change
There are certain things to know about yourself before making a career change in order to ensure you make the right change at the right time for you. Among these are:
- Why you want the change.
- What changes you want to make.
- What the potential risks and benefits are of such a change.
The more you are prepared for a change in vocation, the better you will be able to navigate as you proceed through the career-changing process. A career change due to job termination may be a good indicator to switch fields. You also need to know certain things about the job market you will be entering, such as the following:
- What jobs are available in the fields for which you are qualified?
- What is the degree of competition for these jobs?
- How do your qualifications match to those of the competition?
It is also important to look at the people you know and the relationships you have with them. Your friends and family may be able to provide firsthand insights into a particular field and how to change careers successfully. Friends and family may also be able to offer practical assistance finding job leads or be able to push past the stacks of anonymous resumés by giving a reference at their place of employment.
Identifying Transferable Work Skills
One of the keys to making for a smooth transition between careers is finding the similarities between the career you currently have and the career you want. Pay particular note to the similar skills required for each career, because these skills will be the very assets you bring to the table in a job application and interview.
Knowing how to identify transferable work skills from your current job to your desired position is part of constructing a resumé. There are many ways to hone sometimes elusive descriptions of what you have been doing at your job all this time and what it has taught you. There are systems set up to help you, such as self-assessments. There are even professionals who specialize in helping you discover and organize this information.
Do not forget to look at your home life as well as your work life to find skills you may be able to bring to an employer’s table. If you discover you lack particular skills for the type of work you would like to do, then remember you can always find a course or training to teach you those skills, a mentorship or volunteer opportunity to help you develop them.
Changing Careers After Age 50
Many people change careers later in life. As it turns out, this choice has led many of them to greater retirement security than they ever would have had if they had stayed in their former career. Certain careers seem to be amenable to welcoming older workers. Likewise, certain careers are more suitable than others for working part-time or as a self-employed worker, both of which are options commonly chosen by older workers pursuing a career change.
One key to success in changing careers after age 50 is to recognize your likely shift in priorities from financial and professional attainment goals to ones regarding greater job satisfaction. Embrace that shift and, research finds, the money will also likely come.
How to Use Social Media to Advance Your Career
Learn to use social media to your career advantage and you could be making more money at a job you find more satisfying with the help of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Each social media platform offers its own opportunities for advancing your career, be that through networking, learning or building a reputation and presence. The effort takes discipline and there is little margin for error, but the benefits of incorporating social media into your career advancement strategy could pay off virally. The most important thing to know about social media, for both your career and your life, is that nothing disappears, ever. Even if you delete an item you post or share on social media, you cannot be sure it is ever completely gone. However, do not let this fact dissuade you from taking full advantage of the career-advancing advantages social media can offer.
Practical Tips for Changing Careers
Countless people have come before you in taking up the challenge of changing careers. The ones who have succeeded have all implemented many of the same lessons, many of which have been articulated above. Changing careers successfully requires attention and discipline. It requires preparation and planning, as well as follow-through in the execution of your strategy. Among the most common and effective tips for changing careers smoothly and effectively are assessing your finances, optimizing your application, cover letter and resumé and enlisting the aid of a career planning professional.