Deciding to switch careers can be exciting, scary and challenging especially when you have zero experience or knowledge about the industry you’re entering. Whatever your reason for wanting to change careers, you must take out time to evaluate your current situation, decide if your career needs a change, and explore other career options, before choosing one that will be more satisfying for you.
In this article, we look at the reasons for a career change, benefits and challenges of transitioning between careers and basically, walk you through easy steps for a successful career transition.
Why Do People Change Career
The process involved in deciding to switch careers, finding and entering a new industry, field or career is what we refer to as career transition. It could take months or years before o transition
Some major reasons why people change their career path can include one or more of the following:
- For better pay and financial stability
- Lack of growth and advancement opportunities
- Stressful or toxic work environment
- Change in personal values and goals
- Lack of passion for current job
- Better work-life experience
- The desire for a new challenge
- The desire for more flexibility or remote working
- Bad management
- Lack of rewards and benefits
Benefits Of Career Transitioning
Uncertainty and fear of failure are majorly responsible for keeping people in a spot where they’re long overdue. That shouldn’t discourage you from trying. Here are some major benefits you’ll enjoy when you decide to transition into a better career.
- You’ll be Happier
- More job satisfaction
- More fulfilment
- Less stress
- Increased compensation
- Improved working environment
- Opportunities for career growth and advancement
- Opportunities to broaden your professional network
Challenges Of Career Transitioning
Nothing good comes easy. It might look easy in your head but once you embark on this journey, you should expect to face different obstacles both from within yourself and other external factors. Some of these challenges are:
- Lack of self-confidence
- Uncertainty and fear
- Lack of direction
- Financial constraints
- Building a new set of skills
- Accepting lower compensation
- Job searching after years in a stable career
- Deciding on what exactly you want
- Establishing a new professional network
13 Easy Steps For A Successful Career Transition
We’ve talked about the benefits and challenges of making a career change and we know the whole process can be time-consuming. But with our detailed step-by-step guide, you should be able to transition smoothly to your new career. We have broken down these steps into three stages – for a better understanding of what steps to take at each stage, before, during and after the transition.
Before You Transition Careers
Step 1: Know Your ‘Why’
Before your commit to a new career, you must identify the main reason behind the decision you’re about to take. Knowing your ‘Why’ will act as a fuel and motivation for you to push through the rest of the process. Are you leaving your old career because you’re bored, do you find this new path more lucrative, do you want more time for yourself and your family, or do you just want to be independent? Paying close attention to why you want to switch careers is important because sometimes we make decisions based on our emotions. Maybe your friend in the healthcare sector just bought properties and moved abroad, and you feel switching to medicine is the next sure thing. You may find yourself getting frustrated along the way and quitting.
Step 2: Consider Life Changes
Changing careers will affect your personal life and that of your close relations. You should anticipate and prepare for these changes. For example, if you’re married and switching to a career that requires you to travel a lot, you may want to make provision for extra child care for your little kids or you may want to relocate. Your career transition can also take your time from your hobbies and relationships. You must keep all of these in mind, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Step 3: Identify Your Transferable Skills
What skills and strengths do you currently possess that can be of value in your new career. Most transferable skills are soft skills such as teamwork, decision making, multitasking and communication. If you’re considering a new career in the same industry, you can also identify certain hard skills from your current job that apply to the new one. For example, a dermatologist looking to transition into a career as a beautician can use his knowledge of skin-related issues in creating harm-free beauty products.
Step 4: Determine The Skills You Need
Identify the hard skills required for your new career and start developing them. If you’re pursuing a career in web design, you may want to learn how to code. Learning these new skills and adding them to your resume is important especially when you start applying for jobs.
Step 5: Learn About The Industry
Get familiar with the industry. Read publications, job descriptions, and websites to learn about the industry terminologies, vocabulary, equipment and job duties. You can also add these common terms to your resume, which will show recruiters that you understand the field.
Step 6: Go Back To School
For some career changes you may only need to learn a few vocational skills but some major ones will require you to acquire a new certification, degree or license. In this case, you’ll need to go back to school to obtain the needed qualifications. For instance, if you’re transitioning to an administrative career, you’ll need a diploma or master’s in business administration which will take between 2- 4years. For a career path in the pharmaceutical industry, you’ll need a degree in pharmacy or a related course which will take you about 5 years to obtain. Determine the qualifications you need and the money and time it will take you to achieve them.
During The Transition
Step 7: Leave Your Current Job
Now that you’ve acquired the necessary skills and qualifications, and ready to start job hunting. You need to leave your current job. That is if you haven’t already. Resign professionally and on good terms. You can do this by writing a formal resignation letter to your manager, explaining your departure. Give at least two weeks’ notice and finish off any existing projects or job duties.
Step 8: Build Your Network
Breaking into a new field can be made easy with the help of seasoned professionals giving you valuable guidance on how to navigate the industry. You can leverage the experience and connections of these industry professionals by intentionally networking both online and in person. They can give you advice and help you learn more about your new career path. They may even introduce you to hiring managers or recommend job openings.
You can build your network by attending industry events, joining professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, and setting up informational interviews to learn more about these professionals and what they do in the industry.
Step 9: Update Your Resume
Those new skills and qualifications you have gathered will only be effective when applied to your resume. Highlight your existing skills and experience in a way that applies to your new field. Write an objective statement or resume summary that explains your goals and how you can be of value in the industry. And lastly, remove previous experience and skills that are not useful or applicable to your new career.
Step 10: Apply For Entry-level Positions
For most people, the desire to switch careers is because of the possibility of a better salary and other benefits. However, you should keep in mind that as a newbie in the industry, you’ll have to work your way from the ground up. To make your transition easier, you should start by applying for entry-level positions. You can also volunteer to work for free or consider internships with big companies. All these will help you to gather the necessary experience you’ll need to advance your career.
Step 11: Prepare For Interviews
While going for job interviews, your potential employer will want to know why you’re switching careers. Make sure to prepare a confident, positive and strong response. A great answer would be to explain that you want to follow your dreams, do something meaningful with your life or that you’re looking for a new challenge. Recruiters may also want to know how your past work experience can contribute to your new job. To answer this, you can focus on the similarities between your old job and this one, highlight those transferable soft skills and give instances where you used these skills to solve work-related issues and achieve results.
After Transitioning Careers
Step 12: Continue Learning
Once you have successfully entered a new industry, you shouldn’t stop there. Continuously upgrade your skills. Go for seminars, conferences, and webinars and attend online or physical classes that will help you grow professionally. You can obtain more specialised certifications from industry courses or learn certain skills like computer programming from trade schools.
Step 13: Be Patient
Even though your new career path is highly lucrative, you’ll still need years to climb up the ladder. Career advancement requires effort and patience. So be ready to continue learning about your new industry and gaining experience before you can reach your target goal.
Deciding to make a career change at any point in life is a huge step and I must say congratulations on your bravery. Now that you’ve been equipped with the right information about what to expect at each stage of the transition, you can start implementing them right away. I’m rooting for you to succeed! We hope you found this article helpful. If you did, please like, share and leave us a comment. You can also subscribe to our Elite Digest newsletter for more career and business-related articles like this.