Whether your goal is to find a new position, to get a promotion or to completely change career fields, switching careers is not the easiest task. Many individuals spend years working at this without making much progress; whereas others do so effortlessly every day. Apart from selecting a new career-path to pursue, there are multiple steps that every individual needs to take to achieve their dream careers.
1) Define your career goals:
It is good practice to go into a new project with clearly defined goals, this should apply to anyone that plans to rebuild their careers. Ask what your needs are and what you expect a new position or profession to achieve for you. Individuals change careers for many reasons; a need to feel more appreciated, an insecure job-market, a desire to be challenged, or maybe even for an increase in compensation. It is necessary that you take the time to identify your reasons for initiating a career change. This will help you avoid building a new career that retains the same problems you are trying to escape.
2) Plan for a new profession:
Even though this point seems very obvious, you will be surprised at how many individuals fail at a career change attempt because they did not pre-plan adequately. You must anticipate obstacles that you may run into and be prepared to address them. Common hurdles individuals run into include, financing, time, training requirements, licensing and certification requirements and a need for support from family, friends and co-workers. More on this to follow.
3) Develop the necessary skills and experience:
While not all employers and recruiters require this, most will not look at anyone that cannot establish experience in pertinent areas, even when there is training available. This is because most employers want to know that their new hires will “hit the ground running”. They also want to know that the new employees really understand what is expected in certain job roles; that they have been tried and tested; and that they are really interested in performing such a role. Many recent grads have problems with this, and there is a way around it, however, I address this this in a different article.
4) Start creating a portfolio that supports the career path you seek:
In today’s business world, employers seek to hire ‘talent’ and not ‘seat-warmers’. The difference being that talented individuals bring value to an organization; and they support the organization’s growth with their innovative ideas and unmatched work ethics. ‘Seat warmers’ on the other hand, may keep an organization stable; however, they do nothing to help the company grow. Over time, they may even become an economic liability to the organization. Knowing this, you definitely don’t want an employer to see you as a prospective seat warmer. In developing a portfolio that supports your career path you need to emphasize your expertise, work-ethic, adaptability, and a strong passion for your chosen career.
5) Be visibly passionate about the career path you are about to take:
If you do not believe in yourself and in what you can do, don’t expect anyone else to believe in you. If you are not passionate about the new occupation you want to engage in, then you will not want to overcome all of the hurdles mentioned above. More importantly, if you are, not only are you going to do whatever it takes to get there; but you will come to see that passion is infectious; and that the employers, recruiters, trainers and everyone else you will encounter in your profession-transitioning process will be more likely to respond positively to you and more willing to help you reach your career goals.