The days of working for the same company until you retire are a relic of the past.
An increasing number of people hop between jobs on a regular basis in an attempt to find a better position and make more money. Stats have shown that 64% of employees believe that this practice can benefit their career.
But, the truth is that people want to change careers for different reasons. Sometimes it’s not about the money but about finding a job that will make you happy, or the motivation might be the feeling that you’ve outgrown your current position and company. Having flexible hours and spending more time with your family is also a frequent reason for making this move.
Still, it’s not enough to decide to make a career and start looking for other options – it’s essential to have a plan and follow these steps for that transition to be effective.
1. Ask Yourself Why
Before you decide to quit your existing job and move on, it would be a good idea to get to the bottom of your dissatisfaction and do a lot of soul-searching.
If you simply settle for the fact that you don’t like how things are going right now without scratching the surface and establishing what exactly bothers you about your current job as well as what its good sides are, you may end up landing another job only to discover that you’re unhappy with it too.
So, make sure to have an honest conversation with yourself and find out what frustrates you most about your current job – company culture, co-workers, different core values, lack of recognition, or salary.
Only by realizing what exactly you want from your new career and how it can make your life better will you be able to look for a position which will fit the bill.
2. Ditch the Follow-Your-Passion Myth
Many people actually believe that following your passion and interests is an excellent piece of advice when it comes to changing your career.
And while we can’t say that there’s no shred of truth in this idea, it’s still a romanticized concept that’s hard to implement in real life.
Ben Horowitz, a successful investor, busted this myth in his 2015 commencement speech at Columbia University. In a nutshell, the reasons why you should know better than following your passion are:
- Passions can’t be easily prioritized
- You change over time and so do your passions
- You don’t necessarily have to be good at what you’re passionate about
- It’s a self-centered point of view which doesn’t necessarily correspond to reality.
3. Leverage Your Existing Career Capital
You’ve most certainly developed career capital on your existing and previous jobs, and it would be a shame to let it go to waste.
Think about whether it would be possible to incorporate your existing skills, connections, accomplishments, and experience into your new career and find a way to do that.
It would be best to take advantage of your expertise and competencies that you’ve built over the years and draw upon them in new ways.
It will be much easier for you to embark in a new direction if you can rely on an established foundation and professional network that you’ve already developed.
4. Google Your Options
It’s a good idea to know where you stand and whether the career you’re interested in pursuing is in demand.
Check it by simply googling different job options and vacancies, and see what their requirements are. This way you’ll be able to find out how you stack up and what areas you should polish in order to pass the screening phase and land yourself an interview.
5. Seek Advice
Switching to a new career is a tectonic change, which is why you should talk to people who have already done it and learn from their examples.
They will tell you what traps and roadblocks there are and how to best avoid them.
Besides that, you should reach out to people in the positions and industries you’re eyeing as your next career opportunity, and talk to them about all the benefits and pitfalls.
Finally, a reliable business coach can help you weigh your options and set you in the right direction.
6. Talk to Your Boss
When you make a final decision about changing careers, it’s essential to talk to your boss and see whether they might be willing to help you by providing you recommendations and referrals, or connecting you with someone from their network who can help.
Being open and sincere about the reasons for your decision is essential, as it’s always a good idea not to burn bridges behind yourself – your boss might turn out to be supportive of your new career, which will make this transition much easier.
7. Make a Plan
Having a plan with goals and deadlines is something that you should seriously consider.
After you do your research, make a list of all the things you need to do in order to make this change happen – skills you need to learn, people you have to reach out to, tasks that you have to complete on your current job, personal affairs to take care of, and similar things.
Add a deadline to each of these activities as that’s the only way to set the ball rolling. It’s a good idea to create a timeline of daily and weekly tasks.
All these small steps will have a snowball effect and bring you closer to your new career.
8. Think About Volunteering
If you’re not particularly experienced in your potential new career, you should consider volunteering.
This will help you learn the ropes and obtain much-needed experience in the field you’re interested in.
Also, if you’re still not sure whether this particular career path is the right for you, volunteering will be an opportunity to try your hand at it and see it for yourself.
If you want your career change to be smooth and successful, make sure to follow these 8 steps and find your feet.