Choosing a career can be tough. It’s not unusual for people to select a career based on what others in their family do or to allow a career to choose them by just going with the flow. Sometimes a career may be suitable for a person in their twenties, but by their forties they are ready to move.
Regardless of what career someone starts out with in life, there may come a time when they decide that it no longer suits them. Maybe it never did and they didn’t realize it until years into their career. Whatever the reason for wanting to change careers, here are the first three of six steps that can help career changers make the transition easier and help turn a passion into a money-making lifestyle.
Change Careers for the Right Reason
For those who have been laid off during the last few years and thought it might be time to make a career change, it’s not enough to change careers out of desperation. Jumping into another line of work may be a necessary action; however, the new job should still be built around something the job changer enjoys.
Career changers who make a career change to run away from a bad boss or work environment, based on someone else’s wants or needs or because they don’t know what else to do may find themselves in a worse situation. The best time to change careers is when another line of work is the only thing they can see themselves doing.
Find a Passion
Someone once said, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” It may not be a lot of money, but if it pays the bills, puts a roof over someone’s head and food on the table, it can be worth it. Being passionate about what they do each day is a very important part of making a career choice. That means finding a career that incorporates their values, interests and aptitude. When someone combines what they love with what they are good at, they have the best choice in a career.
Finding the right career may take some time and some investigative work. Taking different career assessment tests such as Myers-Brigg and Career Exploration Inventory that select careers based on various attributes, personality traits, aptitudes and interests can help provide a jumping-off point. Ultimately, however, the choice needs to be a personal decision.
Gather Information about the Career of Choice
Once a career path has been chosen, the next step is to conduct research to learn more about the career and the requirements to entry. Will it require further education like a college degree or certificate program? Where do these types of positions exist (i.e. industry, area of the country)? What kind of training is available and what skills does it require?
There are several ways to get more information, such as conducting online research and taking classes. Reading books and trade publications or looking into the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook or the BLS Career Guide to Industries can help as can asking friends and family for input. They may know someone in the career changer's chosen field who can share information about their particular career choice. Another alternative is to attend tradeshows and conventions geared toward the chosen industry or career.
Changing careers doesn’t have to be overwhelming. As long as job changers change careers for the right reason, find something they are passionate about and put in sufficient effort to research their career choice, they are halfway to making a successful career change.