From Stephen King to Ronald Regan and HEPCO’s veterans turned team members, we probably know of someone who has made a drastic career change in their life. With four million people quitting their jobs in April 2021, the pandemic has challenged the way Americans work.
With individuals seeking greater flexibility, more pay, or are unhappy in their current role, employees are beginning to take back control of their work-life. While some individuals are changing jobs, others are looking to change careers.
If you are looking to make a career change, here are some guidelines to follow as you embark on this challenge.
1. Identify the problem
Before you decide to leap at a career change, determine if it’s the company culture, the environment, or the job leaving you unsatisfied? This step will help you decide if you need a job change or a career change. For example, you can still love what you do but feel underpaid or underappreciated in your role. This might signal that you are ready to start at a new company or inquire about a pay raise.
On the other hand, if you know that it’s the work leaving you unsatisfied, investigate a career change.
For those unsure about which career they want to pursue, a good place to start is taking the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator Test. This test provides individuals with their personality type to help them find the career best suited to them.
2. Do Your Research
After deciding you need a career change and have a few ideas about what career to pursue, start researching the field. The Occupational Outlook Handbook put together by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on various job industries about job growth, work environment, average pay, and required education.
Also, try to connect with those in the industry. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for finding individuals in the field. Introduce yourself and ask if they have 15 minutes to set up a zoom call with you to talk about what their career is like. In your research, make sure to note education requirements, average pay, and job growth.
3. Analyze Your Transferrable Skills
The next step is to see what skills you can apply to your new career. Start by brainstorming a list of all your professional skills. Then review the list to decide what skills will be helpful in your new role.
Top transferrable skills that make you a great candidate for any industry are:
- Strong Verbal and Written Communication Skills
- Proficiency in Microsoft and/or Google Suite
- Set and Meet Goals in Timely Manner
- Ability to Meet Strict Deadlines
- Successfully Manage a Team
While these are only five, you can find more from Indeed.
4. Educate Yourself
As you make the career hop, be diligent in meeting the minimum education requirements. For instance, careers in IT or engineering require a Bachelor of Science degree, while a lab technician needs a high school diploma.
Even if you don’t need a degree to start your new career, you can still benefit from taking courses. Sites like edx.org and coursera.org have a wide range of free classes available to get hands-on learning.
Other ways to develop skills for your desired career include:
- Helping different departments at your current job.
- Making new connections in the field.
- Volunteering your skills.
As you make your career change, remember learning can go a long way as employees seek to hire life-long learners.
5. Build Your Brand
While meeting all the job requirements and landing a job in the field proves you are now in the industry, you must start thinking as if you’re already in the business.
Now is the time to start building your brand. Brand building establishes yourself as an industry member, helps you make connections, and proves your dedication to the field.
To build your brand:
- Tailor your resume to the industry by including relevant experience, education, and transferable skills.
- Write a strong cover letter about your interest in the role and why you are making a career change.
- Most importantly, update your LinkedIn profile. This is an excellent platform for discussing your career change and highlighting why your background makes you a good fit for the industry.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
A successful career change takes perseverance and hard work. So if you find yourself feeling discouraged, remember that it took a lot of hard work to get to your current role, and success will not happen instantly.
Along the way, you might experience challenges but don’t give up. Making a successful career change will leave you feeling more satisfied and fulfilled in your career.
At HEPCO, many of our employees have switched from military to civilian life, and the struggles were worth it to now help our clients and candidates.
A career change is about you, what you want to get out of life, and your desire for a new challenge. Even in discouraging moments, don’t let the defeats stop you from making the switch. Making the change will leave you more fulfilled, energized, and happy with your decision to make your career work for you.