A woman thinking while standing behind an orange background. (Career change featured image - Photo by Prostock-studio via Shutterstock)

Want to Change Careers? Here Are the First Moves To Make for a Successful Career Shift

The decision to enter a new career field isn’t always easy, but it can be necessary for broadening your skills and expertise, pursuing financial stability and feeling more fulfilled with the work you do. This process is far from being one-size-fits-all as the precise barriers to entry vary for each industry. However, there are steps you can take when making this transition to ensure you’re on the right path. Here are eight things to do once you’ve determined that a change is the perfect choice for you.

1. Determine your intentions.

There are many factors that influence your decision to change careers, and it’s important to identify what they are and determine why they’re essential. For instance, if you’re going into another career field to make more money, then ask yourself how that extra income would better your life. It’s possible that an increased salary helps you manage the cost of living in your town or city, create a larger nest egg and/or invest in your personal brand or future business. It’s fine to have needs and wants for this new phase of your career, but also understand the underlying reasons for them.

2. Do extensive research.

Making a smooth and successful career shift is easier when you’ve done your research beforehand. Otherwise, you won’t be as prepared to chart this new course. Key aspects of your desired career role you should look into include educational requirements, forecasted job growth, average salary and job responsibilities.

3. Strengthen your skill set.

Since entering a new career field is a fresh start, you’ll want to strengthen your existing skill set while also gaining new skills and expertise. While this may sound like a tall task, there are online resources, books and courses that can help you do this. That way you’ll be in a better position to pivot smoothly and potentially land a job.

4. Update your résumé and cover letter.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve updated your résumé and cover letter, now’s the time to do so. The guidelines for formatting these documents differ for each industry. That’s why it’s best to  research the best résumé and cover letter layouts that are complimentary to your desired career field and position. 

5. Find ways to connect with other professionals in your desired field.

Connecting with professionals in your new career field allows you to build a network of individuals who understand the ins and outs of that specific industry. A large part of this includes seeking out mentors and seasoned professionals with knowledge that can be shared and useful for your career path. Try forming these connections online or through in-person networking events and meetups.

6. Consider rebranding your social media pages.

If you rely on social media for business purposes, then it’s a good idea to revamp your pages when you’re shifting careers. Why? Because it gives potential collaborators and recruiters the opportunity to see your work and understand how it fits into your professional world. Whether you simply tweak your bio and start posting relevant content or do full refresh, align your social media with the career path you’re currently pursuing.

7. Develop a financial strategy to sustain yourself.

Switching career fields also requires you consider how it may affect your finances. There’s a possibility that you may not make your dream salary right out of the gate. So, consider developing a financial plan that helps you save, spend and invest your money wisely during  this transition.

8. Recognize and reward the small victories.

Each person’s career path is different, so avoid comparing your journey to anyone else’s. That said, you should celebrate the small milestones along your career journey like forming a new professional relationship or securing a job interview. This ensures that every step feels rewarding and fuels your desire to accomplish your goals.

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that changing careers happens over a period of time, whether it be a few weeks or several months, and that success won’t come overnight. That’s why it’s best to approach this journey with determination, adaptability and a willingness to learn in order to achieve new heights–both on a professional and personal level!

Looking for more career advice and inspiration? Read the stories below:

How to Know If You’re At the Right Job

Between Jobs? Here Are 7 Ways To Maximize Your Time So You Can Stay Productive and Inspired

What Are Green Jobs — And How Do You Find Them?

Featured image credit: Photo by Prostock-studio via Shutterstock

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