Changing career paths or industries is a common reason why people turn to a career coach. There’s a lot of moving parts to the equation. How do I explain the change on my resume? Will they pay me the same salary I had? Will I enjoy it, or regret it? Can I afford to take a risk in my career right now? These are all questions that I help job seekers answer.Personally, I’ve made two significant career changes myself. Three years ago, after a layoff, I made a clean break for a career in human resources and recruiting after six years in retail management, sales and corporate training. Then, just two years later, I transitioned again into what was my ultimate destiny all along, coaching others into personal and career transformation.Here’s some quick tips for navigating a career overhaul....
- Identify your priorities. Make a list of the reasons that you are making this change and what the “must haves” are for your next position. What will you gain from this career move in the long term?
- Identify your key skills – What skills and knowledge do you want to use in this new job, or field? How will your previous experiences transfer over to your new role?
- Do your research. Start researching your new field or positon of interest. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) can be a resource for salary information and the hiring forecast for that industry. LinkedIn is also a great place to start gathering information on companies. A Premium Membership can give you insights into the skills and experience level of people who apply for positions at your companies of interest, which allows you to see how you compare.
- Talk to people. After doing some internet research, identify some people who are working in the field that you want to move into. Do an informal, informational interview to find out what they like about, what’s challenging about it and what advice they have for you.
- Leverage LinkedIn. If you don’t know anyone personally who you can interview to get more information, join LinkedIn groups that are for people in your field. Nearly every type of work has LinkedIn groups established. Put some questions out into the discussion forums to get advice about your career move. I’ve done this personally and seen MANY others do it. Trust me, people will be more than happy to give you free advice!
- Take action. This may seem simple but it’s often the hardest part. If you wait for the perfect time, it won’t happen. Once you’ve made the decision, done your research, talked to people and so on, you need to take the plunge. Start applying for jobs. Or, maybe taking action will take the form of going back to school for a degree or certification. I’ve done that too!