How to Navigate a Career Change


People change careers for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re not happy in your current position, or you don’t think there’s room for growth. Perhaps you’re in a toxic work environment. Or, maybe you just want to try something new and different with your life. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are finding themselves wanting (or having) to switch careers. The virus has caused hundreds of thousands of small businesses to close across the country. On the Internet review site Yelp!, over 55% of the listed businesses have shut down for good. Whether you’re out of work or you’ve realized throughout this pandemic that you want something different, changing a career is always a possibility. 

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. No matter the state of the economy, you have to have the right mindset, skills, and passion for navigating a career change successfully. 

So what can you do to shift gears and switch careers

Acquire New Skills and Education

If it’s been a while since you made a career change, one of the first things you should consider is whether you need additional training or education. Take a look at your current resume. How up-to-date is it? What skills have you acquired since you last applied for jobs? You may benefit from working with a professional resume writer if you’re trying to spruce yours up, but you’re not sure what contemporary hiring managers are looking for. 

If you’re looking for a specific job or career path that is completely outside what you’re used to, it may require you to go back to school. Don’t think you need that diploma? Consider the fact that many employers are unlikely to promote an employee who doesn’t have a degree. So, even if you’re the right person for the job, having the right educational background matters for growth. 

Sometimes, it’s also important to educate yourself on the art of whatever industry you’re switching to. Self-help books, articles, and books from industry experts, and instruction about how to build your career from the ground up and find success are great ways to harness more knowledge outside of a classroom to prepare yourself for a new career path. 

Reinvent Yourself and Tackle New Challenges

Some people choose to switch careers later in life, but no matter what age you are, changing your career path is a perfect time to reinvent yourself and accept the challenges that come with it. 

When you’re making a major career move, think of yourself as a brand. As a brand, your main goal should be to remain consistent while standing out from your competitors. You will have to decide how you want your brand perceived. Staying true to yourself in that way will make it easier to determine what kind of career you really want and how you’re going to achieve it. Having the right mental characteristics to make that switch is essential. Some of the most ‘successful switchers’ have the following attributes: 

  • They banish negative self-talk
  • They have a growth mindset
  • They don’t compare themselves to others
  • Things don’t have to be black and white

By keeping those characteristics in mind as you move forward, you’ll be ready to take on some of the challenges that can come with a career change, especially when you’re in midlife. One of the biggest challenges is the fear of getting out there and having to introduce yourself to a new working world. But there are no hard and fast rules saying you can’t reinvent yourself with a bold personality in order to network and show up with confidence in a new career. That confidence can serve you well, especially if you have to negotiate your salary or a relocation package. The challenges you face as you navigate a career change will end up making you stronger and more resilient if you hold on to that growth mindset. 

Make Smarter Career Moves

The final step in navigating a career change is to choose something that you’re not only passionate about but something smart and sustainable. Take a look at current job trends and industries that are seeing the most significant growth. It’s even a good idea to look at where specific industries are growing, such as Washington D.C., Austin, and PittsRight now, some of those industries include: 

  • Data science
  • Online learning
  • Software development
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Engineering
  • Sales development
  • Behavioral health
  • Cybersecurity

If you’re passionate about switching careers and you’re willing to put in the time and dedication, there is never a wrong time to take that leap. Keep these ideas in mind and be prepared to face some hardships as you go through the next chapter of your working life. In doing so, you can make the process much easier on yourself and experience a successful career change at any age.

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