Sometimes in life you may find that the job you have is not the job you ultimately want to keep working at and you may find that it is then time to think about changing your career field. This is nothing to be ashamed about as many people go through the same thing year in and year out. Perhaps the job you thought you would be best suited for just didn’t turn out the way you had planned it to. Whatever the case may be, sometimes change is a good thing. However, with the job market as thin as it is these days it is important to know how to change career fields so that you are not left standing in line at the unemployment office.
The old saying is ‘don’t quit you day job’ and this certainly holds true if you are contemplating a career change. Unless you have a lot of money saved up and you don’t mind using it while you search for the perfect career switch or you know someone who can instantly plug you into a new career then it is best to keep your job until you sort things out.
Wanting to change career fields is fine, but going about it the wrong way is not smart. There are certain steps that you should follow in order to ensure the smoothest and fastest transition possible into your new career field:
1. Find Out About the Field: Before you get too wrapped up in switching career fields you need to take the time to learn everything about the new career field that you are considering. This means finding out what hours will be required of you for work, what exactly the work will entail, and most of all if there is a demand for the career field. It does you no good to choose a career field that has no demand and no hiring going on. You also need to look at what the career field pay starts out at and determine how much room for advancement there will be.
2. Find Out About Qualifications: Once you determine that you really want to go into a specific field and that there is in fact a demand for the field then the next step is to determine what qualifications are necessary. This is where you need to find out what level of education is required. This doesn’t just mean a college degree. Many fields require a certain amount of specialty schooling be taken so just because you have a four year degree doesn’t mean you will automatically qualify for every career field. Some career fields will even require that you apprentice for a certain amount of time before you can actually get the position you are seeking. You will also want to check to see if there are any special requirements such as physical requirements and be sure that you are capable of such requirements.
3. Apply for New Career: Now that you have established that your new found career field is in demand and that you fit all criteria necessary to get the job the next logical step is to apply for the job. This is the time when you will want to go through your resume with a fine tooth comb and really buff it up. You will also want to practice what you should and shouldn’t say in an interview. Once your confidence level is up go ahead and test the waters by distributing your resume.
4. Interview with a Plan: Once you start to get interviews scheduled you should be sure to go in with a plan. As previously mentioned you should not quit your first job until you secure your newly desired position so be sure to let any potential employers know that you are currently working. Whether or not you give a notice to your old job is up to you, but it is career courtesy to give at least two weeks and one thing you should never so in business is burn a bridge. You also need to plan ahead of time and determine all the questions you want to ask before you get into the interview. Potential employers may not cover everything you want to know about and if you don’t ask you may never get to find out. Ask about such things as vacation, benefits, sick days, pay scale, etc. Cover all your bases in the interview so that you are prepared to act should you get a job offer.
5. Leave Your Old Career with Grace: Even if you are not too fond of the career you are leaving you should continue to work your hardest and put forth all the effort you can in your last remaining days. Leaving with a certain amount of grace will leave no hard feelings on either side and can leave a door open for you should your new career not go as planned?
Now you may find that somewhere in the steps that you run into a snag. For example, if the new career field you are considering requires a certain amount of special schooling then you will obviously need to obtain that schooling before you can apply. If this is the case then it will be up to you to show just how badly you want the career switch. This may mean taking courses at night, on the weekends, or even online. But anything worth having is worth working for.
Once you start you new career you need to work with vigor and learn as fast as you can. Ask questions and never pass up an opportunity to learn. Once you start getting on a roll it will be hard for anyone to stop you.
No matter where you are in life it is not impossible to change career fields. As long as you do your homework and find out all the information you need beforehand there is no reason other than your procrastination that you cannot find the career field of your dreams when you are ready. While you may have to hold on to your current career a little longer than you want to you should always be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel which in this case is a brand new career.