Top 7 Tips for Successfully Switching Careers

You don't necessarily have to start over at an entry level position if you approach a career change conscientiously.

It's a simple fact that people change. Sometimes you're in the middle of your career when you realize you're no longer the person who chose that lifestyle. Changing careers jobs is one thing, but switching careers mid-stride presents conflicts in both the short- and long-term. You don't necessarily have to start over at an entry level position if you approach a career change conscientiously.

Do you want to transition into a similar career or a new field altogether? Do your existing skill sets transfer smoothly? Do you have enough experience and field knowledge for what you want to pursue, or should you take a class or entry level position to prepare? That's not to mention the more practical concerns regarding financial stability: can you earn a living wage in your desired career? Do you have enough savings to hold you over while you transition?

Here are the top 7 tips from financial advisers and employers for a successful career change:

1.Good Timing

Boredom and frustration are inevitable in every job, but that's not the same as feeling stagnated. The midpoint of a career is about 10 years. If you've acclimated and committed to your job that long and still feel unfulfilled, it's time to consider if you want to make a permanent change.

2. Realistic Goals

Maybe demand for your current career is shrinking or just undergoing a massive change. That could be the source of your unease and a good sign that you shouldn't expect a similar field to offer expansive opportunities. Be realistic about your current skills sets. Maybe take an aptitude test or pursue career counseling.

3. Expand your Network

Perhaps your current employer has connections to other fields that you could transition to. Expression respectful interest could alert the people familiar with your work that you're expanding and open doors for a new position. But your network of friends, college classmates, and even acquaintances is a valuable resource, as well. Make your interest known and ask questions about their fields, particularly if they're expanding.

4. Job Shadow or Volunteer

Depending on what your career goal is, some companies allow interested individuals to volunteer at their workplace. Some professionals allow people to job shadow them at the office. Additionally, many colleges maintain an alumni network of professionals who are open to be contacted.

5. Take a Class

Update your knowledge of the field you're targeting. Do research online and consider if enrolling in an evening course or online seminar could bring you up to speed. You could even reach out to professionals in the field to inquire what skill sets are most promising and desired right now

6. Refresh Your Skills

If you can't take a class, you can also sharpen your skill sets by taking on extra tasks at your current job or beginning your own independent project. Many organizations, including college alumni groups and employers, offer professional training. Depending on your skill set, you can also freelance to contract extra work on the side before you completely jump fields.

7. Update Your Resume and Cover Letters

You'll need to re-package yourself and your work experience to impress prospective employers. This is especially crucial if you're new to that field. Make sure your cover letters focus on your existing skills that qualify you for the job; don't dwell too long on your on work experience that's unrelated to the job you're applying for. Be sure to re-design your summary statement or objective section to convey your new interests, goals, and qualifications.

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