The decision to change your career is a huge leap of faith that may seem daunting at times. Here are five tips for navigating a career transition as effectively and successfully as possible:
A gradual approach to changing your career can work well: “While some people want to radically reinvent their career instantly, it is more realistic to work towards a new career over time. This might mean making changes in your current job, studying a course in the evening, shadowing someone in the role, or learning new skills to make yourself more attractive to potential employers. It might also mean that you gradually move into your new career via a series of jobs rather than one giant leap – and this is important if you want to protect your salary rather than going back to entry level wages”, writes Tracy Johnson, career coach and founder of Brainbox Coaching.
Learn about the industry – read as much as you can about your new career sector. Sign up for newsletters, read blogs and websites. Knowledge is power. Visit trade shows and events specialising in the industry you wish to work in. This is also a great way to meet new contacts. Join any professional organisations that may exist in your new career sector. This will also show potential employers you are serious about your career transition.
Network with people in your new field/career direction: Spend time cultivating new relationships and learning more about your new path. Dasha Amromm, MD of Career Coaching Ventures suggests: “The best way to understand the internal culture of a business and the way it treats people, including during their recruitment process, is to talk to those currently employed with the company. Spread your net wide – from junior to senior employees to really understand how it all works and build new relationships.”
Be sure not to burn bridges: Don’t rub your exit into the faces of colleagues. Don’t talk badly about your company or boss. Maintain a work ethic that truly represents your own standard, one you can feel a sense of pride in even if it not full throttle. Leave your job with great references and a positive attitude and with intact relationships.
Check your finances: “When you start over in a new career, you need to be in good financial health to help smooth your transition,” says Kerry Hannon, a career change expert. “This allows you to try new things without stressing over the initial salary.” In other words, be mindful of the numbers in your bank account.
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