A lot of people go through the same feeling of wanting to quit their job and try something new.
This is especially true if you are unhappy with your current position and don’t see doing this career long-term.
In fact, it is known that around 30% of any workforce will change their job or career every 12 months.
As a result, you are not alone if you have that same feeling.
If you are seeking a completely new career, this can seem like a scary prospect.
However, there is no reason to fear, as anyone can successfully change their career through research and planning.
In this guide, we are going to give you the steps and tips, so you know how to make a successful career change.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do People Often Go Through A Career Change?
- 2 How To Change Your Career Path
- 3 Make An Action Plan
- 4 Evaluate Your Career So Far
- 5 Understand The Modern Job Market
- 6 Assess Your Strengths
- 7 Identify Areas For Growth And Development
- 8 Consider Your Passion
- 9 Research Your Options
- 10 Learn The Necessary New Skills And Consider A Formal Qualification
- 11 Broaden Your Network
- 12 Define Your Transferable Skills
- 13 Work With A Mentor
- 14 Use Bespoke CVs & Covering Letters
- 15 Prepare For Interviews
- 16 Common Career Change Questions
- 17 Summary
Why Do People Often Go Through A Career Change?
There are a lot of different factors that just can lead to someone wanting a different career path.
It could be as simple as they aren’t happy in the career they are in, or they physically can’t do their job anymore.
Changing careers is slightly different from changing your job.
For a lot of people, they may change their job but still work in the same industry.
For example, if you are a teacher, you may change your job and work for another department.
However, if you are a teacher and decide to become a carpenter then this is a career change.
Below we have gone through a couple of the most common reasons that people give for going through a career change.
You might be under more stress than you would like in your current job.
Certain careers like medicine or law are known for being quite stressful.
The Mental Health America’s Mind the Workplace 2022 Report, has discovered that 4 in 5 employees are experiencing stress in their job.
This stress has affected their lives.
As a result, you may wish to change your career to a lower-stress career or environment.
For the benefit of your relationships and mental health, you must be able to strike a balance between your job and your personal life.
It might be time for a change if your current job places too much demand on your time.
Preventing you from spending meaningful time with your family or allowing you to sleep enough.
If the job you perform doesn’t give you many opportunities to take time off, this is another reason to think about changing careers.
You could choose a new career that is much more flexible so that you can handle your time better to suit your personal needs.
Salary is a very important issue for a lot of people.
You may be in a position where you’re looking for a pay rise due to raising a family or wishing to move.
There could be lots of different reasons as to why you may feel you deserve a bigger paycheck.
If there are few prospects in your current employment to support you financially, you might want to think about switching to a more profitable line of work.
Opportunity For Advancement
You could find yourself in a position where your chances of advancement are limited.
Perhaps the demand for workers in your current field is declining due to technological advancement.
The moment may be right to change occupations to one that has more possibilities for advancement.
Feeling Of Appreciation
Some people spend their whole lives in either one job or career.
You can feel that despite the years spent in your current work, no one is giving you the credit you deserve.
You may have more opportunities to excel and receive that appreciation if you start a new job within a different career.
How To Change Your Career Path
It doesn’t matter your age, you can change your career.
However, to ensure that you get it right there are a couple of steps you can take.
Research has shown that around 54% of adults in 2021, changed their career.
It is more common for younger workers to change their jobs or careers more frequently than those who are 30 years old or older.
As the world is changing, there are a lot more careers appearing, which also include hybrid and remote work.
To help make the career change easier, we have compiled all the steps you need to keep in mind when you are changing careers yourself.
By following these steps you will be able to transition into a new career smoothly and much more easily.
Make An Action Plan
An action plan is really important, as it allows you to understand what you need to do and when.
With your action plan, you will set yourself SMART goals, which are achievable goals that you can do.
These goals can be both long or short-term.
They will help you to get a job in your aspiring career.
These goals could be skills or qualifications you wish to obtain.
It’s crucial to set reasonable deadlines and expectations.
To help you keep organized and to reach your goals, list out the precise steps you need to take.
As you complete them, cross them off, but feel free to change your career action plan as necessary.
Evaluate Your Career So Far
It’s helpful to draw insights from the past when making plans for the future.
Examine your career to date and consider the elements you have most enjoyed.
Also, consider aspects that you would like to leave behind.
Write down anything that comes to mind.
Think about what you enjoyed in your career and anything that you were frustrated by.
There are no right or wrong answers here, it is all about delving into your current career.
Understand The Modern Job Market
The job market is always changing and this is something you need to keep in mind when you are changing careers.
At the moment, a lot of employers are struggling to keep a hold of their staff for a variety of reasons.
Thus, there are lots of job opportunities, however, this can easily change.
Certain industries often find themselves with more job vaccines compared to others.
Recently, there has been a development in boomerang employees, who leave a job but then come back a little while later.
As a result, you need to ensure that if you are leaving a job that it is for the right reasons, so you don’t fall into this category.
The healthcare sector is always offering job opportunities and is seen as a growing sector.
Also, as workers now want a better work and life balance, there are more remote and hybrid working opportunities.
Thus, you should consider all these options when you are looking to move into a different career.
Assess Your Strengths
We all too frequently concentrate on our flaws.
Speaking of our strengths might be a little uncomfortable for many of us.
However, you do need to recognize them and make a note of them.
By understanding what your strengths are, you can see what skills you do well.
You will see what you enjoy doing as well.
This will then enable you to identify the jobs and settings in which you are most likely to succeed.
Look back on any positive feedback that you often receive from your managers or coworkers.
Then you can look at achievements you are really proud of in both your personal and professional life and see which skill traits have helped with that.
Consider what kind of tasks you enjoy doing.
All of these things can help you to assess what your strengths are.
Identify Areas For Growth And Development
Finding a profession that builds on your current talents is only one aspect of picking a career path.
You should also recognize and utilize your capacity to acquire new skills.
Recent studies have shown that around 74% of employees are ready to re-train or learn new skills so that they are employable.
Therefore, reflecting on new abilities you’d like to learn, and prospective growth areas is the main goal of this step.
This is the time for any skills you have always wanted to learn or develop.
Consider any situations that you thought you would have been able to handle better if you acquired a specific skill.
As a result, this is the perfect time to develop existing skills as well as acquire new ones.
Consider Your Passion
Make it clear what the intention is behind changing careers.
This is a great time to look into what you are passionate about and find a career within that industry.
For example, if you love to be creative in any way, you can look into ways in which you can use your passion in a new job.
Furthermore, if you have a side hobby which you really love to do, then why not consider making that your full-time job?
Research Your Options
You’ve spent a lot of time looking back at your present career, your strengths, and your weaknesses.
It’s time to look into other employment options now.
There are thousands of different job titles, some of which you have never even heard of.
To help you narrow everything down, you should pick 3 to 5 industries in which you are interested in learning more about.
This could be tourism, design, healthcare, or technology.
These ought to be industries you wish to gain further insight into.
You may also look into high-growth industries and the jobs that these injuries contain.
The U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a simple handbook, which can show you the fastest-growing occupations at the moment.
Recently, fast-growing occupations include ticket takers or nurse practitioners.
Once you know which industries you are interested in, then you can delve into specific roles you like the look of.
Look into what the role entails, and any requirements needed.
Learn The Necessary New Skills And Consider A Formal Qualification
We mentioned above the importance of learning where your weaknesses are so that you can improve upon them.
When you are heading into a new career you will likely need to learn new skills.
You can go to actual classes in person if you wish to develop hands-on skills.
This would be ideal if you wish to seek a profession in carpentry, bricklaying, or cooking.
However, online learning has recently taken off.
You Could Also Consider Independent Learning
As the world has advanced, there are now a lot more courses that are available for you to complete online.
Thus, you could obtain a certificate and develop new or current skills from the comfort of your own home.
For independent learning, there are a couple of options for you to keep in mind.
Reading Up On The Field Via Blogs And Books
It might be old school, but there are lots of books out there on pretty much every topic and subject available.
Therefore, if you want to learn more about your new career and a skill you want to improve there will be a book to help you.
In addition to this, there are lots of blogs out there where people will help you to develop skills as well.
Listening To Industry Podcasts
While you are doing housework, or driving in the car, you could be listening to a podcast.
You should choose a podcast that features a professional within your new industry.
Often these podcasts will tell you the ins and outs of that career, and the skills that you need to succeed.
Trying Out Tools And Software Where Possible
If you are looking to go into a design, creative, or technical career then try getting hands-on with the tools or software you would have to use.
You won’t be an expert straight away.
Therefore, the more you practice with the software or equipment the better you will become.
Following YouTube Tutorials
Just as there are numerous books on all topics, the same can be said for YouTube videos.
If you are heading into a hands-on industry like coding, web development, or design then a YouTube video can be really helpful.
They can show you visually how to use certain programs or tools.
You can easily follow along with these videos to get a better understanding of how they work.
Also, if you are struggling with any aspect, you can go to a YouTube video and there will be one there that fully explains what you may be doing wrong and how to correct it.
Broaden Your Network
Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know.
You will be placing yourself into a new world and industry, thus by brooding your network you will build connections.
This can then help you to receive more job opportunities in that field.
Strive to establish connections with a wide range of individuals, including seasoned industry veterans, novices like you, and recruiters.
You’ll learn more about your new profession as your network becomes more varied.
To help make things easier, we have listed the most common ways in which you can broaden your network.
Attending Events And Meetups
Simply by googling or following industry professionals on social media, you may be able to come across meetups and events that are happening.
You can then use these occasions to network and get to know more people in the industry.
By seeing people face to face, you can make a good impression straight away and connect.
Then people can put a face to a name and might be more likely to keep you in mind if any opportunities do arise.
Connecting With Industry Experts On LinkedIn
If you don’t wish to meet people in person or can’t attend these events then LinkedIn is a great resource to use.
Millions of people all around the world use LinkedIn to be able to connect with others within their industry.
You can use this resource to help you link with those within your specific career.
This can then possibly lead to job opportunities.
By being proactive and interacting with their posts, you ensure that your name gets out there.
Connecting With Your Peers If You’re Taking A Course Or Program
When you are improving your skill set, you will be in a room full of people just like you.
This is another fantastic opportunity to connect with these people.
If you make a good impression they could say your name to the right people and help you to get started in that new dream career of yours.
All of you are in the same position, and you can help one another as you navigate this chosen career.
In addition to this, your peers may be able to offer you more advice to help you to get started as well.
Define Your Transferable Skills
You may think certain skills that you have are useless, but you will be surprised at how many transferable skills you have.
Those who are most successful at changing careers understand what skills they already have and can use.
Transferable skills are vital.
For example, if you are a teacher, and you are moving to a career in marketing, then you have lots of transferable skills to take with you.
You will understand the importance of tailoring your content to particular audiences.
In addition, you have speech-making and leadership skills to use as well.
Make a list of your transferable skills that you know you could use in your new career.
Work With A Mentor
It isn’t easy getting a mentor, but if you can then you can reap all the benefits.
Anyone at any stage of their career can benefit from mentoring.
However, people changing careers or working in fields they are unfamiliar with should particularly consider it.
A mentor is essential if you’re considering opening your own business.
Ask your mentor lots of questions, as you can learn from their mistakes.
Pay close attention to what they have to say.
Mentorship is frequently incorporated into programs created especially with career changers in mind, offering you plenty of chances to study under subject-matter experts.
However, if you have a presence on LinkedIn, you can connect with individuals in your new industry.
Message them to see if they’d be open to a quick phone conversation or perhaps an email exchange.
When looking for a mentor you need to explain why you want a mentor and why you choose them.
You can ask a lot of people to be your mentor and one of them will say yes.
It is important to remain professional with your mentor and to remember that they are there to guide and advise you.
Use Bespoke CVs & Covering Letters
You’ll need to update both your skill set and your CV when changing careers.
Demonstrating how your existing expertise and talents may be applied to the new industry or profession will be one of the most challenging difficulties you’ll encounter.
We discovered that your objective should be to highlight your transferable skills and achievements to make up for a lack of prior experience.
Hence, this is why it is critical to discover what your transferable skills are.
- Summary – In your summary at the top of your CV you can show that you are making a career change. You can explain your area of expertise or current profession and then go on to discuss your newly chosen career.
- Skills – Since you won’t have much experience in your new chosen career you must place more focus on the skills you have. You don’t want to put too much attention on your work history. A hiring manager may question whether you would be a good fit for the role due to your lack of experience. Place your skills before your work history. This way you can showcase why these skills make you a good fit. You can even explain any achievements as well that help build your case on why you should be a candidate for the position.
- Education – Don’t forget to add any certificates or degrees that you have completed which are relevant to the role. This will show that you are committed to changing careers.
- Cover Letter – Your cover letter can help you to build on your case for hiring you. You can explain what has motivated you to change careers and where you want to see your career heading. Also, include what you’re doing to get ready for this new change.
Then finish with why, despite your lack of experience, you’d be the ideal choice for the position.
Prepare For Interviews
The hiring manager is likely to be curious about your reasons for leaving your current position or industry despite reviewing your application documents.
They want to know that you’re leaving for the appropriate reasons.
This includes a better position, greater challenges, or opportunities for professional growth.
They will be more willing to give you a chance if you can persuade them that the shift was intentional and was motivated by thoughtful consideration.
During an interview, the recruiting managers’ main goals are to comprehend your motivations for changing careers.
They want to determine whether you’d be capable of learning on the job, getting along with other employees, and fitting into the corporate culture.
You must practice for any interviews that you get.
This is to ensure that everything goes well.
When you are answering any interview questions you should keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Stay Positive – As we have mentioned above, the hiring manager will likely ask you questions during your interview about your old job or career. You may not be happy with your current situation, but you should still speak positively about it.
- Ask Questions – Use the interview as an opportunity to ask questions about the role. You can learn more about any career growth opportunities and the company.
- Be Specific – Stress that you’re not merely looking to quit your job. Instead, concentrate on how this new role can assist in meeting your needs. This could be developing new abilities, gaining interest in the field, or adjusting to the workplace culture.
- Explain Future Aspirations – Concentrate on your future goals as you wrap up your responses. Describe how this position or sector relates to your interests and passions. Explain how it will advance your professional and personal goals.
You can discuss the difficulties you’ll probably encounter and your strategy for overcoming them, and how you believe it will advance your career.
Concentrate more on the individual in front of you as you lay out your justifications.
You’re not there to persuade them of the advantages of resigning from your position.
You must persuade the hiring manager why you are the most suitable applicant for the position based on your experience, abilities, and accomplishments.
Distract attention from your prior career history and instead emphasize your considerable potential as a prospective employee.
Common Career Change Questions
Hopefully, this guide has helped with all the questions you had.
By following all the steps above, you ought to be able to make your career change with ease.
However, we have included a couple of the most common career change questions which frequently pop up.
Am I Too Old To Change Careers?
There is no such thing as being too old to change careers.
This is especially true as you get older or your home life changes and your current position no longer suits your lifestyle.
When you decide to change your career when you are older, you have many years of experience behind you.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or when you decide to start a new job; what counts is being able to show that you have the essential skills.
You need to be able to make links between your old and new careers.
Do I Need To Go To University In Order To Start A New Career?
Whether you need to go to university or not will depend on the new career you have chosen.
Thus, thanks to your research you should be aware of any degrees or educational requirements the role entails.
With that being said, if you don’t wish to go to university, then there are alternatives for you to consider.
Many online courses provide you with certificates that are just as impressive to employers as traditional university degrees when it comes to credentials.
Check what’s needed in your new field before deciding between a standard degree and an alternate course of study.
For instance, computer credentials are attainable via online schools.
However, subjects like psychology and physics will have strict entry requirements and qualifications.
Is It Harder To Change Careers Since The Covid-19 Pandemic?
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, changing occupations has not become more difficult.
We are currently in the period of The Great Resignation.
Thus, a lot more people are leaving their jobs at rising rates.
As a result, there are a lot more positions available for workers to fill within the US.
This is across a broad range of industries.
As a result, due to this factor, employers are trying their best to attract more employees.
Thus, for someone who is looking for a new career, you should be able to easily find a new position, or one ought to come up quickly.
If you are unhappy or your changing life depends on you finding a new career, then this can be a daunting task to take on.
With that being said, there is a lot you can do to make the whole progress easier. It is important to take your time and make a plan.
Discover what your strengths and skills are to make you even more desirable for your new role.
When you are trying to change your career you must prepare and do your research.
Since a new career will be mostly unknown to you, you need to see what you are letting yourself in for.
Thus, research can help show you what qualifications or experience are needed.
We hope this guide has been helpful and shown you how you can successfully change your career.