In today’s evolving era, everything has been changing so rapidly that it has become extremely hard to stick to something for a longer period of time. This especially applies to careers and jobs. Many people are considering switching to different career options and a few have already started the journey. People are trying to pursue new passions, gain new experiences, or adapt to new market trends. However, it is not as easy and fun as it may seem. It requires a great amount of time, patience, sacrifices, and a lot of hard work. With that in mind, here are 10 important things to know before changing your career.
Figure Out Why You Need to Change Your Career
Before we dive deep into the 10 important things to know before changing your career, we should also consider understanding why people feel the need to change their careers. These reasons can be due to both personal and external factors. So, here are our picks on reasons why people switch careers.
- Personal Growth and Development: Many people after working in the same field for a decade or so feel that their current career no longer excites or challenges them. Therefore, they start seeking new opportunities that may align with their interests, skills, and passions.
- Skills and Capabilities: There is no doubt that one should never stop learning new things. So, many people acquire a new set of skills, they go on exploring related fields to better utilize their acquired skills. For such people, a new career provides a great opportunity to these people to showcase and develop these skills.
- Burnout: Long working hours, deadlines, and constant stress easily lead to burnout. Therefore, many people consider that changing to a new career or industry may help them overcome burnout. Besides, one should make sure that whichever career they choose, a healthier life should be their top priority.
- Job Satisfaction: If somebody is unhappy or unsatisfied with their current job, they prefer looking for a career change in the hope of finding satisfaction and fulfillment. A few things that affect their decision in this case are work-life balance, a positive work environment, and a sense of ambition and purpose.
- Passion and Interest: Even while working a 9 to 5 job, many people discover something new that might interest them which they want to pursue as a career. Therefore, changing to a new career that aligns with their passion can lead to a more fulfilling and joyful work experience.
- Economic Factor: Factors such as losing a job, not being paid well, or not being able to meet life’s expenses can easily force people to start looking for a new job or career to find economic stability.
- Workplace Culture: A stressful workplace is a common reason why people tend to change their careers with the hope of finding a better or healthier environment to work in.
- Market Trends: In recent times, we have witnessed a lot of changes in the market due to artificial intelligence and Web3 or metaverse. Therefore, new industry trends are emerging and people are constantly trying to meet these trends by considering changing their careers to one that aligns with the new market trends.
- Entrepreneurial Aspirations: Some people have aspirations of starting something of their own. Therefore, working for a 9 to 5 job might not interest them even if they are paid well. So, transitioning to a new career is best for them.
It is important to note that changing careers can be a significant decision. It also comes with a lot of challenges, including starting from absolute zero, potential financial adjustments, and adapting to new working environments. However, if one follows their motivation and does proper research, a career change can lead to personal growth, a fulfilling professional life, job satisfaction, and much more.
10 Important Things to Know Before Changing Your Career
We live in an era of constant change. The change does not only happen in one’s personal life but it also affects their professional life. Therefore, the concept of linear growth has long ago diminished. Today more individuals than ever are cherishing the concept of career change to explore new areas, follow their interests and passions, and adapt to market trends.
Meanwhile, the idea of changing careers can be exciting, it requires more than just one’s wish. Because they may face a lot of challenges along the way. Therefore, careful consideration, thorough research, and burning motivation are much more than needed in such cases. So, keep on reading to find out what are the 10 important things to know before changing your career.
1. Self-Reflection is Key
In an era of ceaseless opportunities and career paths, the compass that can guide you through these endless choices is no doubt your self-reflection. So, before you consider changing your career, dedicate enough time to sit back and reflect.
Basically, by self-reflection, we mean to sit back and dive deep into your inner self, uncover your aspirations, find out your strengths and weaknesses, and discover your values. Doing so will help you understand whether or not you should change your career but if so, what could be your potential career paths.
Besides, self-reflection will also help you find out what you like about your current job and what things you find unfulfilling about your job. This will help you identify what and how should your next career be.
Though self-reflection might not be as fun as updating your CV or acing an interview, it is indeed the foundation of everything else. It is more like picking a certain type of soil for a new plant. And making sure that it is nourishing and supportive. Hence, before you start updating your LinkedIn profile, consider dedicating time to your self-reflection.
2. Research Extensively
You might think that research is something that you would do in school or college. But hold on. Because it is much more than researching what is best for you. And it is more about making an informed choice to ensure that you are choosing what you will love doing, probably for the rest of your life.
Think of this process as exploring a new city to live in. In such a case, you would consider a bunch of things, including the environment, the weather, the vicinity of your home, the best location for a coffee, and much much more. Because you can not just pack your bags and start a new life in an unknown place.
Hence, make sure that you have enough time and get cozy with your computer. Then, start looking for industries and job roles that might interest you. Then, find out what skill sets they require. Besides, remember that it is not just about what sounds cool and fun. Instead, it is more about realizing if your expectations match the reality.
But remember that this process takes time. So, you have to be patient enough.
3. Skills and Knowledge Gap
Before you decide on changing your career, one of the most crucial things that you need to consider is whether or not you have the required knowledge and set of skills. This is more about building the bridge between your dream career and your current state. For some people, it can be as tough as hiking a trail.
So, take enough time and make a list of skills that your dream career requires versus the set of skills and knowledge that you have now. You can do so through some market research, Google search, and thoroughly studying the job description of your dream job.
Then comes the fun part of learning, practicing, and mastering these skills. Well, I realize that it may sound like old school but you will need to take some time and start from zero sometimes. So bear with me.
4. Networking Matters
We can not of course miss the importance of networking in this list. Because networking plays a crucial role in not only growing in a certain role and career but also in building one. You can think of it as making friends with a professional twist.
Imagine you are a party and you know nobody there. You can either eat your meal and leave the party or hang on there, try making new friends, and enjoy your time. There is no doubt that you will never regret making new friends there. Similarly, when you decide to switch your career, make sure that you find people in the same field and befriend them.
For that purpose, you can utilize your LinkedIn profile or join workshops and conferences. Nonetheless, we recommend connecting with people on LinkedIn. After all, your profile on LinkedIn is your digital business card.
5. Financial Planning
Switching to a different career is not only about pursuing your passion. It is more about being able to afford to maintain your lifestyle and pay your bills while starting from zero. Therefore, financial planning has to be a part of our list of 10 important things to know before changing your career. Besides, when you decide to change your career, you need to make sure that you plan everything financially too.
Suppose you are building a bridge, you will need a good design, enough knowledge, and strength. However, that is not just enough. You will need to consider the money side of it to make sure that you are building a strong bridge. On one side, you know that you already have a well-paying job. So you can afford a comfortable lifestyle and pay your bills on time. But you also want to follow your dreams and passion.
In such case, if you can plan everything financially, you will easily be able to build a strong bridge between your current state and one that you wish to. Other than that, you should also consider your loans and debt if you have any. Because it will be really useful if you plan everything while keeping your loans in mind.
6. Start Small if Necessary
If changing your whole career feels risky and overwhelming, consider taking smaller steps. Though changing your career might feel super exciting at first, it can turn out to be overwhelming soon. Therefore, it is better to take baby steps.
Consider that your new career is a big forest. While standing at the edge, you might realize it is both exciting and overwhelming. But since you really want to explore, we recommend that you start with a well-marked trail. This way you will not only explore the forest but also enjoy the journey without getting lost.
For instance, you are a data analyst currently but you want to become a UX designer and explore your creative side. You can do so by working part-time as a UX designer and doing freelance projects. So, you will not only keep earning through your main job but also explore whether or not you should switch to UX design.
7. Embrace Uncertainty
Switching to a different career when you already have one is like walking into a foggy forest. You can not properly see anything or find a clear path. However, it is normal to feel lost or uncertain when you decide to switch your career. Instead, you can believe uncertainty to be an advantage to explore new opportunities and growth. So, we recommend that you embrace uncertainty by shifting your beliefs.
Besides, think of this opportunity as an adventure. Imagine you are going on a road trip without planning everything. Instead, you are ready to face everything that comes around. Whether it be surprises, fun, or a little discomfort. Moreover, once you decide to switch to a new career, keep in mind that it is totally okay if you do not have answers to all your questions.
8. Look for Transferable Skills
One of the most important things that we had to add to our list of 10 important things to know before changing your career is to look for skills that you already have and ones that can be useful when you change your career. You can think of changing your career like leaving your old school. The process can be daunting. However, you already have built a set of toolboxes that you can use anywhere you go.
So, you can imagine your skills as a set of tools that you can use wherever you go. These skills can be problem-solving, communication, time management, and many more. Because these are not limited to a certain job or career. For instance, you are currently a teacher and you want to switch to marketing. Since you have been teaching, you must be good at explaining concepts. It is an exceptional communication skill. Besides that, you have been handling a classroom of 20+ students while handling multiple tasks too which is an essential management skill.
Other than that, let us say that you are a data analyst and you are planning to become a computer engineer. As a data analyst, you might already know a few programming languages and you must also be good at data visualization. So, even if you switch to computer engineering, you already have a lot in hand. You can continue from here building further.
Hence, do not underestimate how important skills are. None of the skills that you already own are tied to a single job or career. Instead, your skills are more like a treasure that you can carry anywhere with you. So, as you exchange your career, take pride in your skills and build upon them.
9. Seek Guidance
Doing thorough research, making plans, drawing roadmaps, and building motivation are necessary but not enough. Besides, you do not have to navigate through everything on your own. Let us say that you are going on hiking. You can not just pack your bags and start the journey. Instead, you can take guidance from people who are experienced in hiking. So, you can ask them to guide you.
So, if you have already decided to change your career, start seeking guidance from your network that you might have already built from point 4. Connect to people from LinkedIn, and ask them how you should start, what are important things to consider, and what you should avoid doing.
Other than that, you can also choose to email a few people in the field and ask them detailed questions or offer a meetup on a coffee break.
10. Patience and persistence
The last point in our list of 10 important things to know before changing your career had to be about the importance of being patient and persistent. By now, you might have already realized that changing your career is not like flipping the pages of a book. Instead, it is more like planting a seed and watching to see it grow. Meanwhile, you have to be patient and persistent to make sure that it is getting enough sunlight and water.
If you are patient enough, it means that you are willing to give it enough time to grow. It is also like waiting for your favorite rose to bloom. You know that it will someday and you are willing to accept that it needs certain weather conditions and time to blossom.
Meanwhile, persistence means that you always have a never-giving-up attitude. You can imagine it like having a compass that always points in the south. Even when you can not see anything, you are not willing to give up until you reach your destination.
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