3 Things You Must Do to Prepare for a Career Change
If you do a quick Google search for “How to prepare for a career change,” you’ll come up with over 580 million results. That’s a lot of advice!
So what can I tell you that you haven’t heard before? Read on. But first, let’s quickly cover the basics.
Covering the Basics
Maybe you are just now realizing that it’s time for a career change – ANY change – but you don’t know where to start. Or perhaps you’ve known since you were a child you’ve always wanted to be a chef, and now is the time to go for it.
Websites like www.glassdoor.com and www.salary.com can help you research positions and salaries to see if a particular career field is right for you and if it will meet your financial needs.
Beyond meeting basic financial needs, many people desire more from their careers. If you are one of those people, you should give some in-depth thought to the following:
- What do I value most in a job: the income, the intellectual challenge, the adventure (or lack thereof), the stability, the travel (or lack thereof), the overall sense of fulfillment, etc.?
- Will this career satisfy the areas I value from the list above?
- How about offering me room to grow (professionally and personally)?
- Is it going to set me back years professionally? Will I end up overqualified and underpaid? Am I okay with that?
Some people may be completely fine with being set back professionally. You may be one of them, and that’s alright!
My cousin was a very successful graphic designer with a lot of good-paying contracts and the deadlines that came along with them. Not to mention the office drama that she grew to dread each morning on her way into work.
Yes, this job challenged her creatively and allowed her to showcase her skills in a lucrative field. But the stress was taking a toll on her. She walked away from her career to stock shelves at Target for over two years!
Most of us would think – WHY WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING? For her, however, the loss in income and prestige was worth the trade-off for a stress-free job that didn’t follow her home each night. Not to mention her arms got jacked from lifting all those heavy boxes! Glass-half-full, am I right?
Value in Speaking with Others
Additionally, it can be extremely valuable to speak with someone who is already in the career field that you are considering. Sometimes, we have an unrealistic perception of what a particular career will be like. It’s crucial to find out the reality before pursuing one specific occupation.
A registered nurse friend of mine tells me that she had no idea what the actual job entailed. When she started nursing school as an idealistic twenty-year-old, she knew that she wanted to help people and thought nursing would fit the bill.
But the day-in-and-day-out drudgery of handing out pills and checking vitals was not precisely what she had in mind when she stepped across the stage to accept her diploma. But with the expensive student loans hanging over her head, she feels that she’s stuck in a career she doesn’t love.
She could have avoided this fate, had she simply asked around and spoken with other nurses before entering nursing school.
Take Personal Inventory
It is always a good idea to have self-awareness. Self-awareness is less about us, and more about our relationship with others, and our behavior in certain situations. People who are self-aware have higher emotional intelligence and tend to relate to other people better.
Not only is self-awareness vital because it helps us relate to others, but it is essential because it helps us accurately evaluate our strengths and weaknesses.
One way to increase your self-awareness is by learning about your personality type. There are many different types of personality tests – some of the most popular being the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC Personality Test, and the Hogan Development Survey.
These personality tests can help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses, the types of career fields you may thrive in, as well as in which situations you tend to struggle. These are important things to consider when looking at new career fields.
Additionally, it is a good idea to look at your resume and professional experience with a critical eye. It would be best if you were realistic about whether your current experience and education will open the doors you want to be opened in the career of your choice.
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If you find that your resume is lacking, we advise that you seriously look at taking some further courses or certifications before taking the plunge into a new career field.
If you find that your experience is up to par, but your resume isn’t, we highly recommend using a professional resume writing service. Professional resume writers know exactly what kinds of things to include and exclude from your resume to make it stand out in a crowd of applicants.
Seek Wise Counsel
As a Christian company, we here at Vision to Purpose believe in the value of seeking wise counsel. Scripture tells us that, “Without guidance, a people will fall, but there is victory with many counselors” (Prov. 11:14, Common English Bible).
For guidance on significant life decisions, like changing careers, we believe that it is invaluable to look to people who know you well, whom you trust to be honest and encouraging to you, and those whose opinion you value.
You do NOT want to seek counsel from a friend who will only tell you what you want to hear. Friends like that don’t realize (or maybe don’t care) that their bad advice may steer you in the wrong direction.
The goal here is to seek wisdom and guidance from a friend or mentor that you respect and admire. This friend can serve to remind you of the things that you ranked as important in your prospective career, as well as help you to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies (see the sections above).
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Additionally, when you are in a situation that you can’t seem to see your way through, a trusted advisor can help you see the big picture from an outsider’s point-of-view. It is easy to be so bogged down with the stress of big decisions that we forget our ultimate goals, and struggle with indecision.
I am blessed to have my mom and two older sisters in my corner. They are all strong followers of Jesus and care deeply for my well-being. I know without a doubt that the advice they give will be honest (even if it’s not what I want to hear), for my best interest, and come from a place of love and life experience.
I hope that you have friends, family, or a mentor in your corner that can serve this role in your life.
If you don’t have a support network like this (and even if you do), a professional career coach can help you navigate the career landscape and help you make a successful career change. At Vision to Purpose, our career coaches are dedicated to helping people realize their career aspirations, and we even offer a free consultation!
Go For It
After you’ve taken the time to research the career that interests you, take personal inventory, and seek wise counsel from trusted mentors, you are ready to take that next step! We wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors and remember – we’re here to help you land your dream career!
About the Author:
Melanie Lemus is a communication specialist for Vision to Purpose providing self-help, business, and career-focused topics.
About Vision to Purpose:
Vision to Purpose is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, life and business solutions.
Need a resume writer? How about a career coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further, Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help! You can learn more about Vision to Purpose by visiting www.visiontopurpose.com.