Changing careers can often seem like an insurmountable challenge. But if you are stuck in an industry or career that you hate, it might be worth it to bring about a positive, long-term change in your life. After all, your quality of life is important, so if you find your current career stressful or unfulfilling, start making changes today so that you can prepare for a better life tomorrow. Here are five rules for making a career change. Rules that should make the transition as seamless and easy as possible.
Rule #1: Know What You Want to Do
When making a career change, don’t simply throw darts at a board to see what sticks. Have a specific goal or endpoint in mind and pursue that goal with steadfast determination. Doing so will help ensure that the effort is worth your while, and should help you avoid leaving one unfulfilling career for another. It will also help you avoid the dreaded dead space that can sometimes exist for individuals changing careers; you shouldn’t have to bounce from job to job simply because you want to shift the tide in your work life. Put simply, don’t simply change careers to change careers. Instead, change careers to pursue the career (or lifestyle) you want.
Rule #2: Get the Requisite Experience
It’s important to note that you likely won’t be able to change careers overnight. You will need to build up your resume, learn relevant skills, and gain experience in the field or industry that you hope to transition into. If you want to work with your hands, consider apprenticing or taking continuing education courses in the area that interests you – wood working or automotive mechanics, for example. If you would like to start your own business or get into sales, consider starting out with a company like Amway, where there’s already a proven roadmap to success. Do whatever it takes to make yourself valuable to your future employer (or future self).
Rule #3: Make Note of Relevant Skill Sets
You may already possess a wide range of skills that can be transferred to your new career – don’t write these valuable skill sets off! Management and communication experience – to say nothing of specific skills – is highly beneficial and has a place in nearly all work environments. If you believe that your professional expertise and experience is applicable in your new career, be sure to highlight these areas on your resume (and when interviewing in person). Often, an interviewer may not consider the connection until it is brought up, as so many of us are trained to hone in on niche details. Open their eyes for them and illustrate how your previous work experience is a benefit, rather than a hindrance.
Rule #4: Be Diligent and Commit
Changing careers is possible but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy. It will require a great deal of focus and perseverance, and may take some time. If you need to learn a whole new set of skills in order to change jobs, it could take five years or more. For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you always look at the big picture. Yes, five years may seem like a long time, but in 25 years, won’t you be glad that you put in the effort? Stay focused and let nothing get in the way of pursuing your goal. If you must attend college at night and on the weekends to earn a second degree, or become certified in a new technical skill, do it. The temporary hardship will be worth it for the long-term benefits. Think of changing careers like climbing a mountain: the summit always seems much farther away when you’re starting at the base of the mountain than when you’ve reached the top.
Rule #5: Save, Save, Save
It should go without saying that you’ll want to have some money saved up if you are looking to change careers. Ideally, you’ll be able to transition from one career to the next seamlessly, but the odds are good that there will be some downtime in-between. Additionally, relevant schooling and training courses will likely cost you money as well. It pays to save. Not only will it help you pay for continuing education courses, but it can give you the freedom to pursue your goals while covering your monthly expenses. Obviously, the more that you have saved the better, but for a baseline, consider saving up 6 months’ worth of expenses. With some money in the bank, you can proceed with peace of mind and confidence.