How to Switch Careers Successfully

Switching from one career to another is a common phenomenon in our world today. This could be bankers turning farmers, teachers turning real estate developers, engineers turning fashion designers or architects turning musicians. Some people seek to change careers because their old jobs have become unfulfilling and boring. Others simply switch careers to pursue something they have always wanted to do. Whatever the reason, you can always change your course and do something different.

Here are some guidelines for making a successful career transition:

1. Figure out what you really want to do

Before taking the big step, take time to consider what you would really want to do. Evaluate your goals in life, interests, values and priorities. Attend business fairs, travel, check college prospectus’ and read business journals to identify areas which you might be interested in. If you are not seeking to be employed again, you could find out what it takes to start a small business or pursue a franchise opportunity.

2. Take inventory of your skills

Once you have identified the job you want, take time to evaluate your skills as well as past experience that would be relevant to the new role. There are many skills that are transferrable across different disciplines and careers. These include organizational skills, basic computer skills, problem solving skills, leadership skills and languages. You should also assess your general aptitude for learning.

3. Retrain

If your skills and experiences fall short, it could be time to go return to college to obtain the necessary certification. This will boost your CV and allow you to compete more effectively with others already in the industry. Going back to school could mean taking a master’s or doctorate degree in your current specialization, or taking a completely different direction. Regardless of what you choose, retraining will improve your skills and enhance your chances of success in the new career.

4. Update your resume

Your resume should be updated to align with the new career you are pursuing. Highlight qualifications, skills and past experiences that are relevant to the desired position. Avoid skills and technical terminologies that do not add any value. Allow a few acquaintances and friends to have a look at the resume and offer their opinion.

5. Have an action plan

To succeed in your new career, you need to have a clear roadmap. Create goals as well as strategies for attaining those goals. For example, if you are leaving investment banking to become an environmentalist, your plan of action could be to watch National Geographic every day, subscribe to leading environmental magazines, take a crash course in an environmental course, and build relationships with people in the industry.

Changing careers can be very stressful. It will mean a significant change in work responsibilities, working hours, culture and work environment. Learning new skills and building fresh relationships can also be very demanding. However, once you have started out on your journey to a new career, don’t look back. Visualize yourself succeeding and keep going despite the challenges you may encounter along the way.


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