If you’re considering a career change, then you’ve come to the right place. The following seven-step guide is sure to make your career transition as smooth as possible.
STEP 1: Identify the root of your decision.
Okay, so you want a new career. That’s great — but have you stopped to asked yourself “why?” Changing careers can be quite exciting. However, before taking that next step, you should really consider why you want to change careers in the first place. Is it because you’re not happy? Because you lack passion? Because you feel overworked and underappreciated? Is it because you dislike your work hours? Your salary? Take some time to identify the root of your decision. In some cases, a career change might seem like the perfect solution to a problem that could potentially be solved with an open and honest conversation. However, if you’ve identified the why behind your decision and still believe that a career change is the best solution, then it’s time to move onto step two.
STEP 2: Decide what you want.
In order to successfully reach any goal, you must have a target. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What type of career would allow you to showcase your skills and abilities? These are all questions you should ask yourself. Preparing for a successful career change is like writing a good book. You should identify how you want the story to end first, and then work your way backwards. This way, you have a clear understanding of where you want to end up, and every step you take is moving you towards a specific destination.
STEP 3: Do your research.
Once you have a specific career goal in mind, it’s time to do some research. Thanks to the internet, you have the ability to become your own researcher and find out almost anything you’d like to know about a career (or an industry). You should definitely use this to your advantage, but try to remember that everything on the internet is not factual. Pay close attention to your sources and try to use your best judgment when it comes to the information that you discover. Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you know someone in the career that you are considering, ask them about the challenges that they face. Ask them about the pros and the cons of their industry. After having a number of transparent conversations, you may even find that the grass isn’t greener on the other side.
STEP 4: Revise your resume.
Revise your resume so that people can tell exactly what direction you’re moving in. Try to put more focus on where you’re going vs. where you’ve been. Rewrite your professional summary so that it is clearly indicative of your new career path. Leverage your transferrable skills as much as possible. Arrange your resume so that the most relevant skills are listed first. Review current job postings for your desired career, and read through the requirements carefully. Consider the specific skills and characteristics that employers are looking for, and highlight them in your resume. Try not to list too many job duties in your past that don’t align with your new venture. Instead, focus on highlighting your accomplishments that are most relevant to your new career.
STEP 5: Rebrand yourself.
Once you’ve revised your resume, it’s time to make everything else match. Take a good look at your LinkedIn profile: does it align with the information on your resume? What about your other online profiles? Are they a positive representation of you? You should know by now that employers aren’t only checking your resume — they’re checking your online profiles, too. And they’re not just checking for professionalism, they’re checking for consistency throughout platforms. Schedule some time during the weekend to update all of your online profiles at once (and don’t forget the job boards). Make sure that they are all consistent with one another. Brand yourself based on the jobs you want, not the jobs you’ve had. Take a look at some of the profiles of people who are already successful in your desired career field. How do they brand themselves? What skills do they posses? How do they showcase their accomplishments online? Of course, what works for someone else might not work for you. On the other hand, it never hurts to learn from the success of others. If you come across consistencies, use them as a guideline. Learn from people who have already become successful in your new career field, and then figure out what works best for you.
STEP 6: Get some experience.
Maybe in a perfect world, we’d all be able to switch careers without having any relevant experience whatsoever. However, we all know that’s not the case. No matter how amazing your resume looks or how impressively persuasive you are, sometimes you just need good old fashioned experience to get the job. There’s a common misconception that your experience must come from a previous job with a previous employer. However — depending on your industry — you may be able to create your own professional experience through volunteer work, freelance work, entrepreneurship, or even brand-building. Creating your own professional experience not only shows initiative and determination, it also shows an immense amount of self-discipline and accountability.
STEP 7: Work your network.
We’ve all heard it before: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This couldn’t be more true for those considering a career change. Whether you have experience or not, you must learn to utilize your network. Let others know that you’re heading down a new path and that you’re open to new opportunities. Start by connecting with individuals in the industry that you are transitioning into. Revamp your elevator pitch. Get to know people. Build professional relationships through trust and consistency. Go to your local networking events. Share your new-and-improved business cards. Carry a few copies of your resume with you wherever you go. Last but not least, don’t forget to put on your best smile. Let’s get real — every person you meet won’t have an opportunity for you…but one person just might know someone who will.
Bonus Step: If you’re interested in giving your new job search a boost, connect with us! We’re hiring, and we’d love to help get your career on the right track!