10 Tips for A Successful Career Change

Workers today can expect to switch jobs every three years, with 1/3 of the workforce changing employment each year. Combine that with the average worker, changing careers 5 to 7 times, and it becomes clear that you need new skills to prepare for ongoing uncertainty in employment.

While it is difficult to distinguish between a job change versus a change in career, what is certain, is that today’s workers must continually plan for career development that may include multiple companies, in multiple jobs and industries.

Why the Increased Frequency In Changes To Jobs and Careers?

Experts¹ suggest there are five key reasons workers choose to change employment or careers, rather than remain in a single job for the course of their working life:

  • Boredom with the job. Whether you master the tasks of a job or it otherwise fails to challenge you, job redundancy is a key factor in dissatisfaction with work that causes workers to look elsewhere.
  • Frustration at work. When workers do not feel valued, it increases job frustration, which directly impacts job satisfaction.:Which can include frustration with the job itself, co-workers, management, or the
  • Decrease in industry demand. The technological age today continually creates new jobs and new fields while other industries see a decline in demand for workers: Automation, outsourcing, and new technology impacts nearly every field; machines replace assembly line workers, and low paying jobs move to lower wage countries, impacting millions of workers each year. New technology often begins with smaller numbers of employees creating a need for new skills and creating new industries.
  • Realignment of your values and needs. As you age, needs change. Factors that lead to job satisfaction in your twenties may be different than those in your thirties. A growing or shrinking family, home ownership, and maturity, lead to different priorities which can impact job satisfaction.  When your values change, it may lead to a change in your work environment to meet those needs.
  • Money. Increased responsibility can lead to greater social pressure to earn more. In addition to higher financial needs when you gain more experience or education there is an expectation that more money follows.

Each of these five  factors can lead to a change in job and a change in career.. It is wise to prepare for career changes to reduce financial shortfalls during the transition.

Tips to A Successful Career Change

Know what you like and dislike in a job. Most people spend over 2000 hours per year at work. Beyond the need to pay bills, you should consider what you like to do: Job satisfaction includes not only the work you do, but the people you associate with while on the job. Think about your current career and what types of workers it attracts. For example, sales jobs attract independent-minded people who also tend to be aggressive and outspoken. Teaching jobs, on the other hand, attract those who want to help others and enjoy high levels of socialization. To find a good fit consider the actual work as well as the working environment.

Know your options. Too many choices can be a disadvantage because it can become overwhelming to consider all your options. Focus on your current skills and the needs you want the job to fulfill. Consider hours required, pay, and quality of life you can achieve with each career choice.

Capitalize on your current skill set. Every job you do builds your skills set which can be used to bridge the knowledge gap in the next job. Think beyond the obvious items listed in the formal job description. What are the favorite parts of your current job and how can you use those skills to qualify for the next job? Maybe you are in sales, but train new employees. You can use that skill to move into training or teaching. Make a detailed list of skills and accomplishments from previous jobs which you can then highlight to open doors for the next opportunity.

Update  your training. Increasing education and capitalizing on current job training opportunities can secure new job skills for your career change. Continuing education is more the norm today as many jobs require yearly certification and skill updates to remain current. Because of the increased emphasis on education and training, you will find many part-time, evening, and weekend programs to gain the skills you need for a new career.

Get Experience. College graduates often run into trouble with the requirementof “experience” .Career changes create the same concerns. Employers want someone who is fully or even over-qualified for a position, while an employee wants to grow into the position. Gaining important experience can be obtained through a second job before the transition, asking for additional assignments in your current job, or independent work to develop the needed skills employers want.

Find a mentor. Working with someone already successful in the field can help you overcome the lack of experience and learn the industry faster than you would on your own. A mentor can connect you with important people, help you navigate industry language and culture, as well as notifying you of potential openings.

Network. Use current contacts to find new opportunities: It is much easier to find work through a referral than an online data bank filled with faceless applications. The application process for most jobs requires the use of online portals. This hiring trend makes it harder to get in front of hiring managers and makes networking even more essential.

Actively look for work, while you still have a job. It is easier to get a job while you have a job, and a period of unemployment makes changing careers more difficult.

Changing jobs versus fields. Often you can use current skills in a new job setting. A change in positions with a current employer can be a career change. Other times you must find a new employer or choose the entrepreneurial route to increase job satisfaction or income.

Keep an open mind. Flexibility and adaptability will help you advance your career without long periods of unemployment. Sometimes you are required to change careers due to a rshortage of jobs in your field. Other times you voluntarily change fields because there is more money and opportunity elsewhere. Creative thinking will help you accomplish your career goals while still taking care of the family finances at home.

¹ http://www.careers-advice-online.com/career-change-statistics.html

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