Life is short, and if your career is no longer fulfilling, it’s time to consider your options. Doing an about-face and choosing a whole new occupation is challenging, but if it leads to a job that’s more in sync with who you are today, it’s worth the effort. If you’re ready to move forward, here are three tips for successfully switching career fields.
Consider the Required Education
Learning is never a waste of time, but in some fields, especially those that require a license or certification, the educational requirements are strict. Before gravitating toward a new career, consider if you’ll have to go back to school. Professional regulatory boards can help you understand the requirements. It’s also advisable to talk to an employer in the field about the level of education their current applicants are expected to have. Unless a degree or a minimum number of college credits are required by law, most businesses will consider less-educated job seekers who have relevant experience for entry-level positions.
Initiating and maintaining contact with those in your desired field allows you to demonstrate over time who you are and your dedication to your newly chosen career field. Ask someone in the field to be your mentor. The best candidates are accomplished professionals with lots of connections within their field. Choose a leader in your industry and impress them with your commitment and willingness to learn. When you’re ready to find a job, they can provide you with a valuable reference and a link to job openings. In business, it’s often less about what you know than who you know. Network like your future career depends on it.
Translate Your Resume
With experience in the work world, you have a lot to offer prospective employers. The trick is getting noticed in a crowded field. When you’re switching careers, your current resume isn’t irrelevant, but it does need a translation. If you have a stellar track record of upselling insurance services but are moving into medical equipment sales, phrase past accomplishments in terms of dollars and cents and leave out industry-specific terminology. Leverage your experience by telling your employment story in a way that appeals to your new audience.
Changing your career can be one of the hardest decisions to make, but it can be worth it if you take the right steps. A career change at any age is possible, but it’s critical to look before you leap. Gathering information and making a plan are the keys to the next stage of professional success.