Changes are something that can be a little intimidating, but still useful at times. And when it comes to changing careers it can be even more unsettling. However, it should not disadvantage you, because even the most difficult obstacles can be vanquished if you have that whispering gut voice, a little confidence in yourself, and know what you do is a better decision.
So, the question is when changing careers is the right decision and why would someone need it? There can be many reasons why an individual thinks this is necessary, perhaps even their only option. Perhaps they want to find more meaningful work or lower the level of stress in their lives, just to name a couple of reasons.
Reasons why you may consider changing careers
Sometimes, we feel that our present career no longer offers us any new challenges. We also may be bored or even suffering from burnout. Oftentimes we change our careers because of situational issues in the workplace. But as a rule, these issues could be corrected with some effort and without the need for drastic measures. Of course, sometimes we are just not in a position to influence how things go. However, instead of changing life upside-down, the less dramatic step would be to change a company or even a state.
But there are plenty of other reasons as well, which are not necessarily a negative driving force:
Money/Salary. These can frequently be the main reason people choose to move on and leave one career for another. Some people who feel they are being short-changed will leave one career behind and go searching for a better opportunity.
Recognition and Appreciation. If a person feels that they are experiencing a lack of appreciation from their employer, or not receiving due recognition, they can become dissatisfied and find themselves having to cope with a lot of stress as a result.
Career Opportunities and Advancement. Feeling unfulfilled and stuck in the present career, with little to no opportunity for advancement, can drive many people to quit one career and start another. If they know that they aren’t going anywhere in their job, they might take off in pursuit of higher-level employment elsewhere (even for a lower salary at the beginning).
Flexible Work Opportunities. More and more often professionals are leaving their current careers to look for something that will provide them with greater balance in their work life.
What Should You Think About In Advance?
Whatever your reasons might be before you make any major career changes you must be sure that the positives of the decision outweigh its negatives. If one day you just decide to switch your career path to your teenage dream, or for some other impulsive reason, the chances are good that it will only lead to more difficulties. You need to be certain that you have seriously thought through the importance of this life-changing action and what it means for you and your family.
Do a little soul searching and determine exactly what your reasons are for wanting to leave your present career. If you’re feeling used and abused, or simply frustrated with your work situation, you need to ask yourself if this isn’t something you could work out if you talked to your colleagues or employer. It’s possible that necessary changes could be made without you having to turn your whole life upside down – such as finding a similar company with better colleagues.
If you have no prior knowledge or experience in a field, changing industries would certainly mean a radical pay cut. Surely, it doesn’t mean that the salary will always stay low, but the new career you want to tackle has to be a promising opportunity for advancement.
Some Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Building a Network
Most professionals who pursue careers for a long time need to build a strong network of contacts that they can rely on. However, for those who are actually changing their careers, the situation can be much harder because a network of associates is usually based on a certain area of expertise.
Therefore, try getting in touch with the professionals of the area you are choosing in advance – they will be able to help you get started. For that you should definitely leverage LinkedIn – it’s 21st century, act like this. Here are 3 ways LinkedIn recommends how to build a professional network. It never hurts to ask. All they can do is tell you they can’t help you, but if you don’t ask, you might be passing up a good opportunity to have someone lend you a hand. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help or advice if you need it.
Changing careers always involves taking up a huge risk. When it comes to career changes, employers tend to see inexperienced job seekers as high risk as opposed to job changes.
Here you have several options for things you can do to be viewed as less of a hiring risk. If you know someone who works at the company you are applying to, you can ask them to give you a referral. This should have a good deal of influence on your potential employer. You can also point out the various skills and experience you have in the field, which should serve to point out that you are determined to make this new career work for you and stick with it. Furthermore, you can off your possible employer a trial period so that they can see for themselves what you are capable of doing.
Regardless of what you choose as your new career, you are going to have to face stiff competition. You are going to be battling both experienced professionals with many years in your particular field, along with recent graduates that will have the advantage of youth and eagerness to learn. Remember that nowadays, even thirty is considered old in the workforce. However, this is not the rule, and life experience and knowledge can bring immense success.
Supply the company with references from your previous place of employment. It doesn’t matter that it was in a totally different field. You still devoted years of work and sweat to the job. If nothing else, your former employer can testify to your ability to do your job competently and effectively. They can also put in a personal good word or two on your behalf.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your past work experience has nothing to offer because you were working in a different field. In fact, it can tell your potential employer quite a lot about you.
Looking for a new job in a new area may lower a person’s sense of self-worth. You spend your days going to interviews where you are made feel like a bug under a microscope, facing rejections one after another. Constant checks may make you question your determination to start a new career, and you will feel like maybe you should have stayed and it was safe. At least you were working then.
This is a problem that afflicts all of us from time to time, but it can be especially prevalent when you are attempting to start a new career. Do your best to project an image of confidence when you go to your job interview. Don’t act like you are applying for your first job just because you have changed careers. You exhibited a fine variety of skills in your previous job and are not coming to this one without any talents or value.
The bottom line is that you will experience changing career challenges regardless of what occupation you choose. Leaving what is familiar and safe in favor of the unknown takes quite a lot of bravery and determination. Before you take this step you should be completely certain you are willing to fight till the end to achieve your goal. You will be taking on a whole new identity in various manners and it will not be easy.
However, ultimately, the most important thing is your happiness. If you feel you will be happier taking on a new career, then you should go for it. Don’t let the challenges intimidate you because others have faced them before you and overcome them. If you persevere, it won’t be easy, but eventually, you will have the new career that you want so badly.