Whereas in the work environment of prior generations, where employees were expected to work for the same company more or less throughout the entirety of their career journey, today’s workers enjoy far more mobility. While this means an increase in options and opportunities, it does also present some unique challenges.
Whether technology or market trends are making your chosen career path less and less relevant, you are tired of dealing with a hostile workplace, or you have simply developed other professional interests (which is quite common and completely understandable), you may be considering taking a bold step onto an entirely new career path. It’s a prospect that is both invigorating and frightening.
In this short article, we’ll take a look at some reasons why making a career change midstream might not be as complicated as you might expect. We’ll also take a look at some tips to put the chances of a successful career change firmly on your side.
Is a Career Change Right for You?
Chances are, if you’re considering a career change, the writing is already on the wall. Now that the idea has entered your imagination, It is only a question of when you will make the change and how prepared you are to make it a successful one.
However, before taking the leap, examine the reasons why you want to make a career change and make sure they don’t follow you to your next job.
- Stagnation – Lack of growth leads to complacency, which, for most of us, will inevitably lead to frustration and, ultimately, apathy. Consider continuous learning and levelling up your skills in your current career.
- Work burnout – Work burnout is not exclusive to any given field. If you are experiencing work burnout, chances are that it is largely due to poor habits you have developed or that you have yet to address. If you don’t develop effective ways to prevent work burnout, changing careers is unlikely to solve the problem.
- Earning potential – Perhaps you have plateaued at your current career’s earning potential. However, if this is the main reason you are considering making a change, consider the prospect of starting your own company and working for yourself while staying in your current sector of activity.
Entrepreneurship is on the rise. And new technological advancements, along with a shift in consumer habits and employee expectations, are making starting your own business easier than ever before.
Translating Past Work Experience to a New Field
One of the main factors that contribute to keeping people from stepping out onto a completely new career path is their ‘perceived’ lack of relevant experience in their chosen new field. If a worker has moved up the ladder in a given career path, he or she may be reluctant to throw all their experience aside and start over again at the bottom.
This reluctance is understandable. However, in the majority of instances, it is unfounded.
Regardless of the sector of activity, tools and practices are changing at an ever-increasing rate (thanks, in large part, to technology). As a consequence, employers are no longer placing as high of an importance on employees mastering specific technical skills as they once might have. As tools and practices will undoubtedly continue to change, it is more valuable, in the eyes of many recruiters, to have an employee who demonstrates a high ability to learn new tools and processes and can adapt to new situations and work methods.
Put the focus of your resume on soft skills (transferable skills) that highlight how you work as opposed to what you work on. Highlight your ability to learn, assimilate, adapt, and work well with others. Regardless of what field your past work experience is in, you have had opportunities to demonstrate your soft skills.
- Adaptability – Moving to a new place, integrating into a new environment, and adapting to new procedures
- Teamwork – Carrying out tasks as part of a collective, seeing a project through as part of a team
- Communication – Imparting acquired knowledge or skills to a peer or subordinate, including documenting the acquired knowledge and/or training others
- The Ability to Acquire New Skills – Focusing on tools, procedures, and processes that you were then able to successfully put into practice
- Accepting and implementing constructive feedback – Being open to new ideas, including in how you work, and taking criticism to help improve your productivity
- Reporting – Being held accountable by superiors, taking constructive criticism and learning from it
AI-Powered Job Portals
Link to the royalty-free image by Mohamed Hassan here
For someone making a career change but who does not want to start over at the bottom, this requires a bit of creativity and know-how in the job search. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. In fact, sophisticated technology has been developed to make this endeavour more feasible: artificial intelligence (AI).
AI-powered job portals scour millions of job offers and job resumes to collect data points which then enable them to identify patterns, define correlations, and ultimately match job-seekers with job offers they are likely to get and thrive in.
Instead of simply identifying what skills you possess that could qualify you for a given job opening, consider exploring the capabilities of AI to better inform your long-term career trajectory. AI can help you accomplish this in a number of ways:
- Identify hiring trends and predict future growth areas
- Identify symmetries and overlaps between sectors of activity
- Identify gaps in your CV and orient you towards what training would serve you best
The AI-powered job search portal Lensa even offers a free work style game which can help you identify your soft skills and orient you towards careers you may not have imagined otherwise.
Today’s workers enjoy an unprecedented level of mobility. They are no longer expected to stay at the same job, or even within the same sector of activity, for their entire working lives. However, changing careers midstream does present challenges. Make sure you identify the root causes for your desire to change careers. In many instances, those root causes are not work-related and must be addressed. Otherwise, they will follow you into your next career. Technical skills are becoming less and less a priority for recruiters. Focus on your soft skills and your ability to learn and adapt. And finally, take advantage of the latest development in AI to help you with your job search. Put all the chances of a successful career change on your side before you make the leap.