There are so many people who dream of making a career change. What can you do? How do you make that happen and get where you want to go? Don’t get stuck!
The answer? Explore, explore, and explore some more. And, be open to opportunities.
Monetary gain isn’t necessarily the most important factor at least initially. Gaining the right skills and experience so that you can move forward with your career change is the key goal. If money is a major factor, make sure you research what starting pay / salaries go for in your region BEFORE you move forward.
In addition to reading articles and researching online, such as on YouTube etc., start connecting with people already in your desired field of work. Use social media or talk to people by phone or in person. In each situation, you should come away with what I call a “golden nugget” that gets you closer to your goal. With time, you will begin to acquire different pieces of the puzzle to realize your dream.
Here are some steps you can take to help you.
Conduct at least 3 informational interviews with professionals in the career you are exploring. Ask to speak with them for about 15 minutes to find out more about your desired career. It is important to clarify this is not a situation where you are asking about job openings, this is to get information. At the same time, you want to make a great impression so that if something opens up with them or they know someone who is hiring, they will consider you or refer you. What better way to make a career change happen.
- Ask friends or relatives or colleagues who already work in your desired field, or if there are none, ask them if they know someone who would be willing to speak with you.
- Go on Linkedin and find people in the type of position you want to pursue and connect with them to see if they can help. (And, make sure you ask them if there is any way to be of help to them).
Do research on your career change choice before you talk with your contact and go in with some planned questions so you don’t waste their time. When you talk / meet, ask:
- What they love about the job, what they hate about it, and how they found there first job in the field.
- What are the important skills necessary to succeed and what skills they look for on a resume.
- About the information you read while researching and if it accurate in the actual workplace.
- If you can job shadow for a half a day or a full day to get a feel for the job.
- At the end of your conversation, ask if there is anyone else they know that you could contact to continue your exploration. And ask, once again, if there is a way you can help them.
I want to emphasize that there will probably be some frustrating moments and you might feel like giving up when transitioning. I can’t tell you if that would be a good choice or not, but I will say that you need to assess where things stand at that time: Can you survive (if you are unemployed) while you continue to pursue your dream? Do you need additional skills and schooling for your career change and are you willing to take the time to acquire them? How important is it to make this change? (how unhappy are / were you in your prior career choice and can you continue in that path)? Asking those questions and others you find viable, will help you decide your next move. And, even if you need to go back to your prior career, look at that as your short term goal and keep working on the transition. You don’t have to necessarily give up.
Before closing, I do need to qualify that this article is for those who know what their new direction is. If you are unsure of that, that is a whole new article. You may want to solicit the help of a career counselor. If you have a few ideas of careers, but are unsure, then conduct informational interviews as mentioned above, but talk to those who are in careers you think you might be interested in and prepare appropriate questions to ask.
Good luck in your career change!
Check out these other articles on informational interviews: