Thinking of Changing Careers?

Making a career change? Building a successful career can take years, even decades. Somewhere along the way you might have realized your interests have shifted, or you want to take things in a new direction. Some people experience a certain feeling of dissatisfaction, mainly because the role does not bring the fulfillment it once did. If that happens, a difficult decision arises: to change or not to change careers. We asked our network of thousands of job seekers what was holding them back from a career change. From not knowing where to start, to worrying about a pay cut, you all shared the fears preventing you from taking the leap. The most frequent answer: I worry I don’t have enough relevant experience for the new career. After collecting all your responses, we wrote some tips to address these common fears below. Making a career change can be stressful and unpredictable, but if you have been waiting for something to inspire you to go for it, here it is!

It’s Never Too Late to Try Something New

According to our survey, 17% of potential career changers felt it was too late for them to make the transition. But here's the good news: finding a new career path is possible for anyone – at any age or at any point in their career. Today, the modern concept of a career has shifted from prior generations. Entrepreneurship, the gig economy, freelancing, and the evolving digital landscape have opened possibilities.  For midlife career changers, the concern often comes from wondering how their “X” years of experience will translate to a new career. You might be surprised at how many of your skills are transferrable. The concept of starting over can be daunting. And let’s be real, you may have to invest in some upskilling and training to get where you need to go. No, that doesn’t mean you need to go back to school. Today there is seemingly unlimited access to online courses and learning opportunities. The job market demands qualified professionals, so investing in furthering your education in your chosen industry will help improve your odds and build relevant industry connections.  

Redefine “Relevant” Experience

In our survey, 30% of job seekers said they worried they lacked “relevant” experience to start a new career. One of the main challenges for people who want to make a career change is to prove that they have the capacity to fulfill the responsibilities of the new role. Upskilling using free online learning tools or professional development classes will help you feel more confident. Looking to prove your worth another way? Showcase a personal project on your resume or portfolio to show off your skills.Don't forget to update your resume highlighting the coursework and education you’ve invested in, as well as those transferable skills.  Things like project management skills, leadership skills, and communication skills are in high demand across every industry. Employers are looking for employees with a good blend of hard and soft skills. Even if you worked in a completely different industry before, you gained invaluable knowledge and experiences that can help you in your new career. Think of ways to bridge the gap between your current experience and your ideal career. For example, if you work in accounting, but want to make the leap to a career in tech, your skills might translate very well in a FinTech startup. A career change can be gradual, typically a career transition can take up to 18 months. Your next job doesn’t have to be your dream job, but hopefully, it’s something that puts you on the path you’d like to be on.    

You May Have to Take a Pay Cut

According to our survey, 27% of you stated that you’ve avoided changing careers because you cannot afford to afford a pay cut. This is completely understandable. Consider making a financial plan before venturing into your career transition. When making a sudden or drastic change in a profession, it is normal to start from the bottom. After all, it is the beginning of a new career. If you already have significant experience, you may be able to use this to your advantage and skip a few steps, but keep in mind that this change usually demands a monetary sacrifice - which can be worth it in the long run! It’s important to learn when it’s the right move to take a pay cut, and when it isn’t. It can be challenging to think in the long-term, rather than the short-term, but your workplace happiness and fulfillment may be worth it. On the other hand, only you know your bottom line. Don’t waste your time considering positions that won’t realistically pay what you need. Instead, invest in upskilling while you’re in a stable job and focus on saving so you’re in a more comfortable financial position when you’re finally ready to make the leap.    

Don’t Know Where to Start? Start Anywhere.

Many people avoid trying something new because they don't know how to take the first step. In fact, 26% of you expressed feeling this way. It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start and how to spend your time and resources. To successfully navigate a career change, you need to create a plan to change careers and make assertive decisions. First, make a list of realistic short-term and long-term goals for yourself. It is in the planning process that you will be able to assess the possibility of making a financial reserve or the need to continue in your current job while studying new areas.

Networking Is Your Friend

Building connections and getting contacts in the industry you want to work in is another great place to start. Some quick ways to network are by attending events in your chosen industry, and on social media channels like LinkedIn. Listen to the experiences of people who have been through it. These people can give you insight into how to start a new career, and maybe assuage some of your doubts during this transition period.  

Consider Freelancing or Temporary Work

You can also consider freelancing or doing temp work to gain experience in new industries and to bulk up your resume. If working temporary jobs is a part of your plan, browse our open listings for exclusive Career Group Companies opportunities.--- During a career transition, it is important to manage expectations. Although this should be exciting, it is important to have your feet on the ground and understand that there will be challenges. Understanding this will make you ready to face the daily work required.Making the decision to change careers is not so easy and, therefore, should not be made on impulse. If after analyzing all the factors involved, you feel ready to make the change, have the courage to move on and venture into what can transform your life! Browse our open listings to get inspired.

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Founded in 1981 by Susan Levine, Career Group Companies was created to set a higher standard for recruiting. For over four decades, we’ve partnered with our valued candidates and clients to cultivate perfect career matches for administrative, creative, fashion, events, and executive professionals at top companies nationwide.

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