Unfortunately, many of us don’t end up with our dream job for a variety of reasons. Some of us grab the first opportunity after graduation, afraid we won’t be able to find anything better – and then continue building the same career for years before realizing that it’s not what we want to do. Some find ourselves unable to leave a particular job because we need the money. And some simply don’t know what career we do want to pursue.
Yet even if you didn’t have a dream career before, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to build one in the future. All you need to do to prepare yourself for a strategic career change is to follow these eight steps — and then get ready to make the leap.
Prepare for Relaunch: 8 Steps to a Successful Career Change
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
– Steve Jobs
1. Reflect on why you want to change your job
Sometimes people feel like they want to quit their current job without having a clear understanding of why. Is it because you need a more flexible schedule? Or maybe you want to stop working in this field in general? Or maybe you are tired of office jobs and want to do something different – for example, craft and sell your own jewelry?
It’s important to understand what exactly discourages you in your current position – otherwise, you might find yourself in the same conditions later, only working a different job.
2. Think about what you would like to do instead
Simply wanting to “become a designer,” for example, is not enough. There are so many areas of design and types of designers, so you have to know what you want, and be more specific. Think about your new career in detail, paying attention to everything: your position, your career opportunities, the skills you might need to build, the schedule you would like to have, and so on. The more detailed your new career’s description is, the easier it will be for you to come up with a plan for building it later.
3. Think how you can achieve this
Sometimes everything seems easy enough: our new career is similar to what we do now, so the transition could be smooth. Sometimes, however, you might want to pursue a career that is completely different from your current job – so naturally, it would require more thinking and planning.
It’s good to evaluate your current state and options before you start planning everything. Do you have enough money saved to afford yourself a long job search? Do you have the skills needed or do you need to spend some time building them, etc?
The research is necessary when you don’t have a specific career in mind, and only vague preferences instead. However, if you do know what career is right for you, you still might need some additional research.
As I’ve already mentioned above, you need to think a lot about what it’s going to take for you to build the career you want. The research can help both with that and with what comes after that. For example, you might want to google some courses or certifications you might need to pass first, and so on. Don’t settle until you have all the information you need!
5. Investigate the job market
Maybe you have three careers that seem equally appealing, and so find yourself unable to choose. A job market search could help with that. Checking the market allows you to understand how many amazing job offers are there at the moment, whether a certain career has good growth perspectives or not, how much money you would be able to make, and so on.
However, even if you have only one career in mind, it is still important to investigate the job market as it will allow you to get a glimpse at your potential work life during the next few years. For example, some jobs are easier to master than others (where you can switch from junior to the middle in two years), while some jobs might require you to wait longer for a promotion.
6. Narrow down your options
At this point, you have to make your final decision. Of course, the most important thing here is not to rush with that. Gather all the data found during your research and job market analysis. Compare this data, keeping your current situation, wishes, and perspectives in mind. And make your choice then.
Some people might start worrying a lot at this point. Sure, a career change is a big step forward, and it could be hard for some of us to make such a responsible decision. To counter such fears, realize that you actually don’t have much to risk. If you won’t like your new career, you can always return to a previous one or try changing it again, this time choosing something different.
7. Create a plan
Now, when the final choice is made, you’ll need a proper action plan to make it right. Take it slow here, as the more efforts you put into that, the higher your chances of success will be. If your new career requires months of preparation, consider your options and maybe change a job in between, choosing one that would grant you more free time while allowing you to pay your bills.
If money is the problem, focus on saving up until you have enough to quit your current job and start trying something different. If you all you need to do is to write a resume and start looking for a job, move on to the next stage.
Remember that planning has to be not only thorough but also detailed. If you know how many weeks or months you can afford to invest in a career change, you will be able to organize your time better and to work harder.
8. Create a resume
After you finished with planning it’s time to create the perfect resume for a career change. How is it going to differ from your current one? Well, you’ll need to tailor it to your new career’s requirements, highlighting the skills that are the most important and relevant for this job, rather than the last.
The order and positioning of the information matters a lot in this case. For example, you might be skilled in business planning – but this won’t be useful at all if you want to become a yoga instructor. Some of your skills might not matter at all now, while some (even the ones that you’ve considered insignificant) can become really important. The main idea here is to define those skills and to pay more attention to them in your new resume.
If you still find yourself struggling with a resume writing, you can book a meeting with a local job counsellor, use the help of one of the many online resume writing services, or google more tips on resume writing.
Changes terrify us – well, many of us. However, sometimes change is the only thing needed to make us feel happy and satisfied again. It also can come easier than you think, if you plan everything right and listen to yourself, trying to find out what you want from life.
Hopefully, this article would help you make this important change in your life and start pursuing the career of your dreams.