She used to wake up every day early in the morning, drive her car for more than 20 minutes- usually an hour due to the traffic-, go to the office, and sit in front of the computer for 8 hours, working as an accountant, until she leaves at 6:00 p.m. She was not happy, and she did not develop in her career, but she didn’t feel that there was an option for a change, after all she has been working in this job for more than a decade now. One day after work, she went out with friends, who suggested that she starts her own blog, knowing how a great writer she is. Although she was scared to change a hobby into a career, it was the best decision she ever made in her life. Now she is a freelance writer, who runs her own blog, and publishes successful books. As making a career transition can be challenging, Jobzella is guiding you through when you need to change it, and how.
Discovering your career path can be difficult, and finding what you want to do and where, will take a long time. Although some people identify their passion early in their life, it is common that they make a career transition later on. As a matter of fact, it is a very tough decision, but it is definitely worth thinking about. So, how can you achieve a successful career transition into a completely different field? Answer the following questions, and let your thoughts guide you on how you can get where you want.
- Why do I want to leave?
Assess your current career, and analyze the pros and cons of working at your job. It is important for you to make an aware decision about leaving. When you want to leave, set clearly the reasons that urge you to look for a new opportunity. On the other hand, analyzing your current situation, will help you detect the problems you are facing, and think about how you can eliminate them or avoid having them once again in your new career. So make lists of what you hate about your job, what makes you dissatisfied, as well as what you like about it. Then evaluate and assess carefully, to reach a clear and well-defined decision to stay at your job, move to another job in the same field, or to make a career transition into another industry.
- What do I want to do?
After deciding that you cannot stay in your job anymore, and that you need to make a career transition into another field, now comes the step when you think about what to do. List your preferences and identify the activities and hobbies that you enjoy doing. Here you are basically rediscovering your passion and drawing a new path where you perform a job, which might be difficult, but still makes you happy and you love it. Be careful, don’t follow hobbies that you don’t have the required skills and qualifications to do. In other words, you are now making a career transition into a new field with no experience, so at least you have to make sure that you are qualified to work in that certain field and improve yourself. After all, the last thing you want to do is to switch from an unsatisfying situation into another.
- Where do I want to go?
This is another list that you need to prepare. This time, you need to write down the companies and places where you would like to work. Think about major companies as well as small ones. Then, look at their websites, and find the available vacancies in which you can apply. Also search for startups, because sometimes they provide training and help you grow in the field and your experience. Ask for the best places to get well-trained, and where you can work with an entry level. On the other hand, some companies can help you hit the right path after a career transition, and help you grow in the new field.
- How can I make a career transition?
Now you need to start an action plan. This means that you set short-term targets and milestones that will guide you to reach your new goal. In this step, you will assign yourself daily or weekly tasks to get the required knowledge, skills and experience to support your transition and get you a strong start. Think about courses, internships or even voluntary work, as a trial to know how the job will be, and to prepare some examples that will support your knowledge with the new field. Some people start freelancing doing the hobby in which they want to make the career transition, like starting a blog, if they want to become writers, accepting a project, as web developers or wedding planners, or covering an event as photographers or DJs. This is helpful, because it adds experience and expands their portfolios. It also gives them a head-start on how they will work in the new career.
- Who can help me with the career transition?
You are entering a completely different field, so you will need guidance and support from people you know and trust. Search and list your connections and identify your network through which you will put your feet firmly on the new career path. These are people who are already working in the field and can direct you to the right steps, or those who know your strengths and abilities, and can help leverage your qualifications to the maximum potential. They vary from college professors and academic advisors, to former managers, partners and/ or workmates. To sum up this part, your plan must have your next steps and identify your support networks and connections.
- When can I make the career transition?
Study your plan carefully, and find the resources and funds that you need to implement it. Think about the costs to take courses, and to join events and workshops. Also consider the physical and mental requirements to train yourself, do an internship, and start a part-time job, or to volunteer. Assess your financial situation. Think about your different options like, leaving your current job to free yourself and mind and learn the new career, or staying to get the needed funds and build-up your qualifications. This is an essential part in the process of making a career transition, because you don’t want external circumstances and unplanned random decisions to mess with your smooth shift. Even if took longer time, and more efforts, eliminating the uncertainties and decreasing the tension will be worth the hard work.
In the end, although change is usually scary, and most people prefer to stay where you know and do what you are familiar with, sometimes going for a career transition is the right change you need. It doesn’t matter how long you have been working in that position or in that field, rediscovering yourself and shifting to another more suitable path, will bring you happiness and self-satisfaction. Don’t be scared and go for a change, if this is the best decision to improve yourself and your career.
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Stay tuned for Part II, which will help you discover how to gain quick experience in a new field after a career transition without starting from the bottom.