7 Tips for Making a Career Path Change


Have you stalled in the process of climbing the career ladder? Maybe you no longer feel passionate about your chosen vocation, or perhaps your role leaves little room for advancement. You’re considering starting over in a new field. 

What should you know before making a career path change? What should you consider before you leap? Take the following steps, and you have an excellent chance of succeeding in your chosen endeavor. 

1. Evaluate Your Interests

What gets you out of bed in the morning? If you’re in the right career path, you generally know because you rarely experience the Sunday-evening dread many workers experience. 

If you find yourself growing depressed and irritable when a day off nears its end, evaluate why. Is it the work itself that ties your stomach in knots? Or is it fear of being laid off, or your workload and pressure to perform? 

2. Explore the Requisite Qualifications

If you have decided you need to pursue a new passion, understand the unique requirements of the field. For example, careers in healthcare almost always require further training and extensive medical credentialing. As a result, a shift to this path will likely take much longer to complete than one into, say, communications or customer service. 

Does that mean that you shouldn’t pursue a career that requires considerable schooling? You can — you merely need to realize the commitment level necessary. If you take out student loans, for example, you could spend years repaying them. Is the debt burden worth it? Only if you feel a genuine passion for your new endeavor!

3. Build Your Emergency Fund 

If you start a business, it can take time to become profitable. If you start over on the bottom rung of the career ladder in a new field, you may need to pay your dues for several years before you earn the salary and benefits you enjoyed in your previous position. 

Either way, you need to keep food on your table and make monthly rent payments. Many experts recommend that you save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. However, when making a career shift, you might want to pad the kitty more to cover contingencies. 

4. Identify Support Systems 

Many people, especially in American culture, cling to the myth of self-sufficiency like a child clutching a tattered and torn security blanket. Everyone needs others — even the roadway you drove on to get to your job interview entailed countless peoples’ work. Learn how to relate well to others to get the support you need. Most people enjoy sharing their expertise, and they’ll feel flattered if you request their help.

Look around you for people who could become mentors. Create an elevator pitch that describes your available time commitment and what you’re willing to do to repay the favor. You can also use email to ask to speak with them privately about your wishes, but don’t leave it vague — few people appreciate the “I need to talk to you about something” approach that leaves them hanging. 

5. Get Your Networking Game on Point 

While many experts say 70% of jobs come through networking, others state that numbers may soar as high as 85%. Consider accepting as many invitations for conferences and professional development events as your schedule will allow. When you attend, come prepared with business cards and a growth mindset. All attendees arrived to further their career objectives, too, so mingle and see if you can find someone with whom to share ideas. 

6. Redesign Your Resume 

While some experts argue that objective statements should remain the sole province of the fresh-out-of-undergrad set, when you’re making a career path change, you should include your reasons on your resume. 

Unless you’ve decided to switch from being a dental hygienist to a plumber, try to explain how your previous experience ties in with your new endeavor. You might say, “Having gained intimate knowledge of the intricacies associated with tax resolution, I wish to apply that expertise in showing prospective customers what sets our firm apart,” if you’re hoping to move from support to sales. 

7. Launch Your New Career 

Once you’ve done all the groundwork, it’s time to pound the pavement and seek your dream position. Remember to maintain a growth mindset — you will have a lot to learn. Think of the process as one of renewal. Pretend you are fresh out of college and tackling your first job to adopt a positive, willing-to-learn frame of mind. 

Follow These Steps to Make a Career Path Change in 2020

If you want to make a career path change, you benefit from a systematic approach. Following the steps above should help you feel empowered to switch gears and launch your new endeavor.

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