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Tips for Changing Careers

Updated on February 11, 2014

When Changing Your Career Is Necessary

With the way the economy is these days, everyone seems to be breaking out of whatever industries they have trained in in order to find A JOB. Others are faced with cutbacks and downsizing after spending decades in the same role, never to find another job that matches even half of what they were doing pay-wise and responsibility-wise. So many people are instead forced to find lesser-paying positions, take on roles for which they are over-qualified, or train for a whole new career entirely.

Just because that might be the case for YOU, doesn't mean you have to be dissatisfied. Here are some ways to refocus your energy so that you can still have a rewarding career:

  1. Take a look at the big picture. By brainstorming with such questions as, what do you want to accomplish personally AND professionally? what hobbies do you enjoy that you would love to earn income doing? do you have any regrets about any of your former jobs?, you can begin to formulate what you would like to find and what to weed out. Nothing is too crazy or far-fetched, because this process is all about rediscovering who you are past the identity you had formed by your previous work experiences. You know what conditions you need to have in order to thrive, and what things will drain your energy. It is all about working smarter, not harder, while being able to have a roof over your head! The website tool can help draw out your thoughts and give you further ideas.
  2. Use career tools and indicators. If you enjoy reading, there are some great self-help employment books to define you as an individual and a worker. 48 Days to the Work You Love is highly useful in pinpointing goals and dreams, converting your interests and God-given talents into what suits you best for work. Also look through the U.S. government's Occupational Handbook for thorough information on particular job descriptions, education involved, and projected need for that role. Skills Assessment tests help you understand where you would best fit. There are some free sites that do this, such as Career Fitter, Live Career, and MAPP. But certainly there are great tests like the Birkman or Strong Interest Inventory. There are plenty more available on the Internet, ranging from a few short questions to several pages at a time that provide information on suitable industries and even job titles that make sense for you.
  3. Commit to success. Once you've got a handle on what you're looking for, do as much research and hands-on experience (i.e., volunteering) as you can on the areas that interest you most. It might not guarantee a job overnight, but you'll be able to understand what it takes to be in a desired field and relate better to prospective employers in responding to their ads, or arm you with what you need in order to start your own business venture. Talk to other people from that industry - you friends, family, neighbors, and people from your church. Enroll in classes, join clubs, attend network seminars and meetings. All of those things increase your visibility and give you an education in what you need to do to land a good job. Plus, the support you receive among other people will give you a boost in your day, spurring you to move forward, even when things are slow to happen.

A Word about Waiting

Even if you are not in your preferred job yet doesn't mean you have to stay unemployed until then, either. The lesser-paying, part-time jobs that still are within the realm of your interests can be just the motivation you need while conducting the bigger job-search. Not only will it keep you marketable, adding further experience to your resumé, but you will be earning income while enjoying yourself. Temporary or seasonal jobs are adequate choices if you especially don't want to be locked into something long-term, not to mention you might get further job leads through the people with whom you come into contact! And, if you put forth your best efforts, who knows - that small job may turn into a permanent role, or even a promotion. By keeping your options open, you just never know what may happen.


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