Considering Changing Careers? Here’s How To Make It Happen.

Career ChangeBy Louise Garver

Are you ready for a change? When was the last time you took a serious look at your career direction?

Where are you now? Where do you want to be and by what timeframe? Not sure?

As a career-minded professional, you know that being proactive is a must in this fast-moving world. Many people are just too wrapped up in day-to-day job activities to take a pulse reading of where they are in their own career.

 If you answer yes to these statements, you may want to evaluate your career direction:

1.            Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you.

2.            You are feeling unappreciated.

3.            Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited.

4.            You are no longer enjoying your work.

5.            Learning is replaced with routine.

6.            You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted.

7.            You are suffering from stress or depression and hate to get up on Monday mornings.

Or there may be a moment in life when you know you want to do something different, have a sense of belonging and purpose, and make a difference. A growing trend for the boomer generation is the urge to do something different when they turn 50+—they want no regrets for not following their dreams.

It doesn’t always mean starting your own business or buying one; it can be just making a change in industries or roles within an organization.

The typical job cycle today is about 3 years

Job CycleThe first year, the learning curve shoots up the graph as the employee gets settled into the job and learns the lay of the land. The second year the line flattens out somewhat as most of the learning has taken place in year one, and it is a matter of maintaining status and introducing a few new ideas into the mix. In the third year, the line on the graph could start heading down if nothing new has been introduced such as responsibilities, challenges, promotion, etc.

Before you hand in your resignation letter, take a look at this formula for success:

Passion. Do you look at your passion as an asset or a hobby? You can turn your passion into a career. Of course you have to be realistic and look at all the factors that contribute to success and failure when starting a new business or changing career focus toward a new job.

Research the viability of the industry or business to which you want to transition. Part of that research could involve volunteering or interning to get an inside view of business challenges and successes, or joining associations or social groups to network with others in the industry. You can learn a lot by asking “informational interview” questions (skills/training required, pros and cons, advancement path, salary, etc.) about the career that interests you. Don’t forget about social media, and checking company/ people profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook. Groups and question sections in these social networking sites also have valuable information for career changers.

Money. Many people have grown accustomed to living on a good salary with benefits. They need to take a hard look at what type of money / salary will be available for the first few years in a new career or business venture. If moving to a lower level job in another industry, the salary may be less the first few years.

What are you willing to do to make your dream job a reality? Are there others in your family who need to be taken into consideration when making this decision? You may have to downsize your lifestyle in order to live on a smaller salary while you build new skills and develop different talents. Are you in a position to live off savings or obtain a loan to manage finances while the business gets off the ground? Will you need to work or consult on the side, or find other revenue streams to keep your finances afloat?

One good resource for compensation analysis is It analyzes the biggest industries and shows how pay changes as you gain experience. Take a look at the industries where you have the best potential for a career change.

Skills & Talent. How do your current skills and talents translate to a new career? Leverage your strongest skills that transfer across any business or industry. You may need to return to school or pursue certifications to update or build new skills. Take advantage of opportunities your current employer offers for professional development. Updating skills can be expensive if you are footing the entire cost of re-education.

How do you get started?

1.            Start with a career action plan. Yes, you may already have one, but if it is dated or not working for you, it may need some revisions or a fresh approach in a new direction.

2.            Assessments or personality inventories may be useful as tools to help you discover your strengths, your preferred way of working, people relations and commonalities, etc.

3.            Your resume, cover letter, professional bio, LinkedIn profile, references, and other career documents may need to be updated when you’re ready to launch a search.

4.            Work with a career coach who can be extremely helpful in supporting you through this process. Coaches are perfect sounding boards for brain-storming ideas, formulating a strategy, and creating steps to help you implement steps.

A few examples of individuals who have taken this next step: a CFO turned a hobby of gourmet cooking into new career as an executive chef/restaurateur; a cardiovascular surgeon used his medical background to become a medical malpractice expert; a marketing executive left the corporate world to run a statewide non-profit food share program.

Today’s hypercompetitive market is prime for job seekers to consider the challenges necessary when contemplating a career change, perhaps even think out of the box and discover what opportunities might make the next best move.


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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.