If you find yourself feeling stuck in a professional rut, or like your current career is no longer serving you, it may be time to consider a career change. If you’re asking yourself, “How do I make a career change?” you’re not alone.
Entering the unfamiliar territory of the current job market after a long time can be daunting, and it can just seem easier to stay where you are. The good news is that there are ways to make the switch to a more rewarding career. How? We’ve put together 10 steps for a successful career change.
1. Decide What Type of Career You’re Aiming For
The first career change step is to check in with yourself. If you’ve been in the same role or industry for a while, or if you just know you’re not in the right industry, reflect on what you’ve learned and what skills you can bring into your new role.
Create a clear picture of what your ideal career situation would be. This includes the work environment, what you expect a typical day to look like, potential salary requirements, job security, and any other non-negotiable factors you have.
2. Get Informed
If you’ve been out of the job force for a while, have been in the same career path, or are just getting started, you may not know what the job market is even like. Hop onto job sites to see what kind of positions are available and in which industries, and whether your requirements from step one are feasible.
Getting a temperature check by browsing job sites is a good way to set yourself up with realistic goals and an understanding of additional career change steps you’ll need to take.
3. Update Your Resume
Your resume is arguably the most important thing that hiring managers look at. An updated, thorough resume will get you the best chance of getting your foot in the door for an interview.
Make sure your resume is complete with every applicable title, role or professional experience you have, complete with dates and brief descriptions of your responsibilities. If you don’t have the exact experience outlined in a job description but believe you’re qualified, consider adding a cover letter to your resume to highlight how your experience relates, be it through transferable skills, lessons learned, etc.
4. Make Connections
Knowing people in the industries or roles that you hope to transition into can be a big advantage. If you already have connections like this, tap into them. Schedule an informational interview so you can ask for advice or hear about their experiences. Sometimes these connections are willing to put in a good word for you internally!
If you’re wondering, “How do I make a career change when I don’t have connections?”, the answer is: make some! Look up local networking events, attend open houses, even cold message people on LinkedIn and ask to meet for coffee. It may be going out of your comfort zone, but it really can make a big difference.
5. Test Run Application Process
When you’re first applying to new roles, start by casting a wide net. This doesn’t mean applying to every job you come across, but getting a good feel for what the application processes are like for the roles you’re interested in. Is the application process fairly simple? Does each role you’re applying for require a cover letter? Is there a deadline for application submissions? Answering these questions will give you a good idea of what you can expect when you find something you really want.
Submit a few applications for relevant positions and see what kind of traction you get.
6. If Rejected, Learn From It
If you get a couple of notes back, even if they’re rejections, you should always thank them for their time and consideration. You can also take this interaction as an opportunity to ask if they have pointers on where you can improve your application or resume. Sometimes even engaging in this way can create a rapport for next time.
7. Hone In
Now that you have a good understanding of what’s required of you, your resume and the application process, the next step in your career change is to hone in on the positions you are enthusiastic about.
Because you took the time to perfect your resume and test out the application waters, you’ll have a better picture about what you’ll need to do in order to land the role you want. Don’t rush your application, check multiple times for any spelling or grammar errors, and only press submit when you feel like you’ve shone the best light on yourself as a candidate.
8. Be Patient With the Process & With Yourself
With any hiring process, it can take longer than planned for hiring managers to go through applications, interviews, narrowing down, and getting back to you. Do not get discouraged. If you feel good about the application you submitted then that is all you can do. It’s ok to follow up or thank the hiring manager for their time, but do not go beyond one follow up communication.
You’ve taken all the steps for a career change and you’re on your way. You should be proud!
9. Interview With Crafted Narrative
You’ve almost completed all of the career change steps and you finally land an interview! You’re confident you want to make a career change, now bring that conviction to the interview. Be intentional about how you’re speaking about your experience, and how it applies to the position you’re applying for.
It’s important to the interviewer that you seem prepared for the interview but not scripted. Though jumping into a new career can be nerve wracking at times, try to converse naturally and honestly about why you’re making this change, and what you can bring to the position.
10. Secure a Position
The payoff was worth the hard work once you’ve been offered a job! Taking the steps towards a career change doesn’t happen overnight but it’s so worth it at the end. Once you’ve accepted a position you can be proud of yourself for not only getting through the application and interview process, but also for making a career change possible for yourself.
How Do I Make a Career Change With Avenica’s Help?
When you work with Avenica, we’ll take a thorough look at your experience, and what you’re looking for in a career change. Our expansive network of employers allows us to find entry level jobs in the field you want to be in, and we can help you through every step of the application and interviewing process. Contact us to get started, or join our network today.