Don’t Change Careers Without Doing This Research
There are few transitions in your life as scary as a career change.
Our jobs are our livelihood; they give us structure and put food on our tables. But our careers do more than that. They also tell us about who we are and, ideally, challenge us to grow every day.
But if these criteria aren’t met, it’s natural to consider if you’d be better off in a new career. If you’re feeling like the grass might be greener at another company, we suggest tackling the following research before you leave.
The first steps
Your first step is to make a list of occupations to explore. If you’re not satisfied with your job, what do you actually want to do? Research careers online, build a shortlist of options, then narrow them down. You may find that some careers require more advanced degrees than you thought or more industry experience than you have. Pare down your options based on these criteria until you have a few finalists.
Next, you’ll need to conduct informational interviews with people with firsthand experience in the field. Leverage your professional networks, alumni associations, and business contacts, here. Your goal isn’t to find a job yet, it’s to gain deep insight into the daily life of someone in your desired field. One interview like this can be better than weeks of online research.
Look inward as well as outward
Research is important, but a successful career change doesn’t happen on a whim. You need to look inward as well as outward. Dig down and ask yourself why you want to change careers.
What about your current job is unfulfilling? Is it something as simple as salary, or is it something more? Once you understand the reasoning behind your desire for change, you’ll understand which factors will be essential to your new role.
If you don’t yet have the skills
You may find that your new career is a bit more complicated than you expected. Not to worry—you won’t necessarily need to head back to college to land your dream job.
Look at the qualifications for the jobs on your shortlist. What type of certifications are being requested? You may be able to take classes that certify you in various skills, but take care to invest wisely. As many unfocused college graduates find out, extended education can quickly become a financial black hole if you don’t have a plan.
Next, consider which of your current skills are transferrable. Are you a customer sales rep looking to land a career as a landscape contractor? Perfect! You have great interpersonal communication skills that will help you deal with your clients. You get the idea.
And remember, a company’s job description tends to be their desired candidate, not their must-have candidate. Even if you don’t meet their qualifications on paper, you may have enough transferrable skill to make it a non-issue.
Mistakes to avoid
Changing careers is scary—and it becomes much scarier when you don’t know what you’re doing. Some of the most common career change mistakes we’ve seen include:
- Picking jobs based on salary – this won’t make you happy, trust us.
- Quitting before having a new job ready – the job hunt may take longer than you expect.
- Not researching your future career’s job market – your career prospects depend heavily on who’s hiring. Be wary of signing on to a long-term career that has had years of declining job growth.
- Forgetting to network – when changing careers, always network. Network your ass off.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help
This cursory research will give you a great start to changing careers, but it’s okay to admit that you aren’t prepared. You don’t have to know everything about job hunting and recruitment to land your dream job. (That’s what we’re here for!) Contact Urgenci if you need help figuring out the best way to change careers.