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How To Change Careers Successfully

Updated on June 25, 2013

Tips On Changing Careers

Although, the unemployment rate is dropping, the economy is still tough for many. You or someone you know may be laid off and unable to find work, especially if you work in an industry that is shrinking. Things may seem hopeless as you send out hundreds of resumes with no calls to come in for an interview. This might be the time to reinvent your career!

This “make lemonade with your lemons” approach is being done by more and more people these days. For example, I have a friend who’s a real estate agent. Once the housing market crashed, she had very little business and she watched her commission checks dwindle to almost nothing. She always wanted to teach and she loved to bake. She enrolled in a college that offered an on-line teacher education program and became a substitute teacher. She also carried some of her baked goods to restaurants and cafes. Six are ordering desserts from her on a regular basis.

Here are some key ways to help you reinvent yourself:

Keep your fear at bay– Fear of the unknown, of failure or trying something new can be paralyzing. It can also keep you from finding another rewarding career. As difficult as it may be, you have to conquer your fears in order to chart your new course.

Figure out what you like - Now is the time to reassess. If you are like many people your previous job may not have been your ideal one. Take a moment and think about your interest and see if you can parlay them into a business or new career. My friend in the example above was able pursue her interest in teaching and baking. This may require additional training like it did for her.

Know your transferrable skills – What skills do you possess that you can transfer to another career? For example, someone with a pharmaceutical sales background could use their skill in sales to work for a foundation soliciting donors. Understanding what skills you posses can help you identify what options are open to you.

Network – Once you’ve identified a field or business of interest tap into your network of friends and business associates to see if they know others in your field of interest that you can speak with. These contacts can provide you with valuable advice on what their companies look for when hiring people for the position(s) you are looking for. If you are starting a business, these contacts can provide you with sound advice on what worked and didn’t work for them. Hopefully, providing you with more clarity on whether this is a viable option for you. In addition, you can join associations or on-line user group for the field that interest you and attend events that give you the opportunity to network.

Rework your resume - You may have to refocus your resume. Your old resume speaks to the jobs you use to have. You may want to rewrite it focusing on the transferrable skills you posses that will help you get the new role.

Finally have realistic expectations. Changing careers may mean taking a lesser title and less pay. Sometimes, the transferrable skills can land you a job where this is not the case, but not always. If you do find yourself having to make this sacrifice think of it like this, you are adding new skills to your resume that will make you more marketable down the road.


Have you had to reinvent your career in the last five years?

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    • Robert Pummer profile image

      Robert Pummer 

      6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Being flexible with your options is a great help in sorting out your options.

      Nice Hub ...

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