Five Steps to a Successful Career Change

Five Steps to a Successful Career Change

Are you thinking about making a career change? If so, you aren’t alone. According to a Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted earlier this year, nearly 1 in 3 U.S. workers under the age of 40 have thought about changing their occupation or field of work since the pandemic began. A career change can be daunting, so, where do you start? Consider these steps to make a successful career pivot.

1. Evaluate Your Current Career Situation

Take a high-level look at your current situation by asking yourself questions to spark important thoughts and feelings regarding your career path. What do you enjoy about your current profession? Are there aspects about your role that you don’t like? What are the reasons you are considering a new career? Additionally, think about the skills you possess that may be transferrable to other jobs.

2. Consider Various Career Paths

Once you have an idea of your priorities and values as they relate to your job, consider the possible career paths. Are there jobs that are closely related to your experience that may be focused more on the things you enjoy doing? Contrastingly, are there careers completely different from your experience that are of interest to you? By listing out all of your options, you can  make rational decisions about the  roles you  want to pursue .

3. Educate Yourself

After identifying career options,  do research about the roles that are of the most interest to you. What is  a common job requirement for those positions? What skills do you have that could be beneficial in those roles? What skills do you  lack? Additionally, leverage your network and reach out to connections who are in your desired space. Ask them any questions you  have about the career path, industry or day-to-day aspects of the job. Lastly,  read books, listen to podcasts or watch videos to expand your knowledge in this new career area to make sure that the profession is right for you.

4. Create a Career Plan

Once you are confident in the decision to make a career change,  create a career plan. Start with the roles that are attainable to transition into now that can lead to your dream job in the future. What lateral or sequential moves can you make in the future? Having a holistic idea of what this new career path may look like will help you set realistic expectations and goals for yourself down the line. Check out our article, Five Steps For Creating a Productive Career Plan, for information and resources on career planning.

5. Transition Effectively

You’ve done your research, considered various possibilities and are ready to make the transition. A good place to start is by updating your resume. As you  transition into a new career, you’ll likely need to make changes to your resume to highlight the skills and experiences you have that are relevant to the new role. Check out our Anatomy of a Resume article for information on how to leverage each resume section. Additionally, when making a career pivot, cover letters can be an important tool. In this document, you can explain your reasons for making a career change, express your interest and describe the skills and experiences you believe are transferrable to this role. Now it is time to  apply to roles, reach out to your network and immerse yourself in the job search process. Good luck!