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How To Switch Career Paths

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Many of us can find ourselves on the wrong career path. It may have been a path you never intended to follow, or it could be a path that you thought led to your dream career only to discover that it doesn’t offer the fulfilment that you need. Whatever the case, it’s never too late to switch to a new path. Here are just a few steps that will help you to make the switch and get into the career that is right for you.


Understand why you want to switch

The first important step is understanding why you want to switch. You should consider whether it’s the job you dislike or the career – you may find that things are better working under a different employer in a similar role.

If it’s definitely the career you despise, you need to understand what elements of that career you hate. Is it too repetitive and lacking in a creative outlet? Do you feel that you need more flexible hours or the ability to work from home? Does your career lack social interaction or are you sick of working with people? By understanding what you dislike about your career, you can look for a new career that doesn’t contain the same problems.

It’s also important to weigh up the perks of your current career (if there are any). This will ensure that you don’t switch career and end up missing certain elements of your old career. Talking to a career coach could be beneficial if you don’t have any idea of which career to switch to.


Decide how big a jump to take

The easiest career switches to make are ones that take advantage of your past experience. This way you’re not having to relearn everything.

For example, if you’re a financial advisor wanting to get into journalism, going into financial journalism could allow you to still use your financial expertise whilst fulfilling your desire to be a journalist.

Larger jumps could be harder to make and could take more time and patience. If you’re a nurse and you’ve decided that you now want to become an art teacher, expect it to be a long transition.


Gain the skills/education needed

You may need to look into earning qualifications or learning new skills to make your career switch. This article at the University of Nevada website details how online courses could be a way of doing this, in this case making the switch from dental hygienist to public health professional. Online courses can be studied in your own time and therefore are easier to fit around your current job. This allows you to keep an income coming in whilst you study

Reducing your hours could be possible whilst seeking education. There are financial support schemes available for those studying with financial commitments to look after such as kids or bills.


Volunteer to gain experience

Experience in your new career field could be vital for securing a job. Volunteering is the easiest way to get this experience – most employers will be happy to offer work shadowing opportunities and even some hands-on volunteer work. Occasionally volunteer work can lead on to a full time placement, especially if you’re able to prove that you’re a good fit for the company.

This article at volunteer site Time Bank offers advice on how to volunteer around a full time job. It could involve working weekends for instance or taking a week off to volunteer.


Make new connections

Making connections in your new career field could help you to find a job opening. Consider first whether you have any friends or relatives that work in the industry and see if they could put a good word into their employer. Your existing connections are likely to be the easiest ways of securing a job.

If you don’t know anyone in the trade, you may have to start going out of your way to meet people. Networking events such as trade fairs, conferences and seminars could be a way of doing this. You may also be able to meet people using social media sites like LinkedIn.


Identify your transferable skills

Every job has transferable skills – these could be soft skills such as ability to work in a team or leadership skills or they could be hard skills such as using Excel. Consider which skills you’ve already got and are still likely to need in your new career. Highlight these on your CV to show that you have skills you can bring to this new career even if you don’t have specific experience within the industry. This can put you at an advantage against young candidates that may have no work experience whatsoever.

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