THINKING OF A CAREER U-TURN? 9 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR A SMOOTH TRANSITION
Feeling trapped in a job that doesn't reflect who you are? Does your current job mimic a perpetual Groundhog Day? Picture this: waking up, heading to work, engaging partially in your tasks, scrolling through Instagram, and eagerly awaiting the workday's end. This scenario signals it's time for a change.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals an intriguing fact: on average, individuals change jobs 12 times throughout their lives. Adding to this, a survey by Indeed highlights that 58% of employees are ready to accept lower salaries for the chance to switch industries.
Eager for a career shift but unsure where to begin? This guide illuminates the path from your current rut to an exciting new career trajectory.
Why People Switch Careers
Joblist's Midlife Career Crisis survey uncovers the primary reasons for a professional pivot:
- Seeking better pay (47%)
- Reducing job-related stress (39%)
- Finding a job with improved work-life balance (37%)
- Desiring more challenging work environments (25%)
Furthermore, 23% express a need for change due to lost passion in their current field. Equally crucial, poor leadership and toxic workplace cultures can drive professionals to seek new horizons or drastic career alterations.
The Benefits of a Career Change
Post-change, the Joblist survey reflects a substantial increase in job satisfaction:
- 77% report being happier
- 75% feel more satisfied
- 69% experience increased fulfillment
- 65% enjoy reduced stress levels
Additionally, these career shifters often see financial gains. Those who changed for higher pay reported an average salary increase of $10,800 annually.
Job Switch Guide: Ways & Tips to Prepare for a New Job
Switching professions is easier when you know your strengths and have clear objectives. Here are some key tips to focus on when looking for a new job.
#1. Decide if you want to change industries
Determine the extent of your desired career shift. For some, switching careers might mean starting anew in a completely different sector (e.g., transitioning from a Digital Marketer in a creative agency to a UX Researcher in an IT company), while others might look for a new role within the same industry (e.g., moving from a Project Manager in Logistics to an IT Project Manager).
#2. Research potential careers to shift into
Investigating the job market can reveal the most in-demand jobs. For instance, the World Economic Forum in 2023 forecasts significant growth (30%) in sectors like agriculture, construction, machine repair, and logistics.
There's also expected growth of 25–35% in digital professions related to online marketing and sales, with up to 2 million new jobs anticipated. The fastest-growing tech professions include AI and ML specialists, business analysts, cybersecurity engineers, data scientists, robotics engineers, big data specialists, and agricultural machinery operators.
Utilize resources like Glassdoor and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to gather general information about new careers, including average salaries, projected job growth, etc.
Additionally, you can explore employment projections from the BLS to find the fastest-growing job fields, and use Indeed Salaries to browse top-paying jobs and companies by industry.
#3. Read job descriptions
Pay close attention to the requirements, tools, and skills that are frequently mentioned in job descriptions. To start your job search, platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, Jobsite, or LinkedIn are useful. When reviewing vacancies, think about how your current CV aligns with the ideal candidate profile.
The aspects that match are your transferable skills, or the competencies you already possess that can be applied in your future position. The other elements on your list will guide you as you define your action plan and transition into your new role.
Consider, for instance, a Game Graphic Artist vacancy in the US.
#4. Make an action plan
Consider aspects like education, certification, skill development, participating in networking events, and pursuing internships in a specific sector or field. Write down the steps you intend to take, setting deadlines for each.
Your plan should include both short-term and long-term goals, complemented by specific milestones for accountability. These questions can guide you in identifying tasks as you venture into your new career path:
- Courses, Workshops, and Professional Certifications: In the US, a single vacancy often attracts around 250 CVs. Even for junior specialists, certification can significantly ease your job search. It verifies your knowledge and skills in a specific profession and shows your dedication to professional growth.
Consider institutes like HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute) in the US for HR and team management, PMI (Project Management Institute) for Project, Program, and Delivery Managers, and IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) in Canada for Business Analysts. These programs cater to both beginners and advanced professionals.
Typically, certified professionals earn about 20% more than their uncertified counterparts.
- Volunteer, Internship, or Job Shadowing Opportunities: What opportunities can you arrange to gain experience in your desired career area?
- Updating Your CV, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Profile: How will you update these documents to reflect your new skills and qualifications?
- Preparing for Interviews with Potential Employers: What steps can you start taking to prepare for interviews in your new field?
#5. Take a training course
Seek opportunities to enhance your skills in your current job, which could pave the way for a career change. If your company offers in-house training or compensates for external education, enroll in as many relevant courses as you can.
#6. Tailor your resume and LinkedIn profile
It's common for people to neglect their resume when they have a job. Chances are, the information in your CV is outdated. If it doesn't list your most recent position, professional achievements, and advanced training, update it promptly.
For example, if you're aiming to work in business or global development, skills like communication and negotiation might be crucial. If you've spent the early part of your career in sales, these are transferable skills you've likely developed.
Demonstrate your skills with quantifiable achievements:
- Increased company revenues by 44% over 2.5 years.
- Led a sales team to record-breaking figures, securing contracts worth over $4 million in four years.
Additionally, tailor your cover letter to emphasize the skills highlighted in your CV. Keep it concise, focusing on how your accomplishments relate to the role and why your skills make you a suitable candidate.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated with your new skills, as 72% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates.
#7. Make connections
Networking is a key component of the job search. 78% of recruiters say that referrals are the best way to find candidates. Referred applicants are 15 times more likely to be hired than others.
Begin by talking to friends and colleagues in the industry you're interested in. Let them know you're actively looking for a new job and gather any advice they can offer.
Use professional platforms like LinkedIn to connect with businesses and attend local networking events. Even a chance encounter with a local entrepreneur at your neighborhood coffee shop can lead to new professional opportunities. Always be prepared to engage in conversation and make a good impression.
#8. Find a mentor
Navigating the vast array of educational content online can be overwhelming, and simply reading a book doesn't guarantee you'll gain the knowledge you need for a job. Mentorship is a time-saving process that helps focus your learning on what's essential to get started. You might need a mentor before securing a job and during the first month after accepting an offer.
If you can't find a mentor within your current company, look for experienced specialists on professional platforms like Stack Overflow. Reach out to experts and discuss mutually agreeable terms of cooperation.
#9. Look for Trainee or Junior vacancies or try an internship
With 70% of companies offering full-time positions to interns, securing an internship can facilitate a smooth career transition. When starting a new job or internship, don't be overly concerned about making mistakes. If you acknowledge and learn from your errors, management will likely appreciate your efforts.
When it comes to work, age is just a number. If you're contemplating a career change, go for it. In fact, 66% of adults in their 30s and 60% in their 40s are interested in changing jobs.
Consider Jeff Bezos, who transitioned from a lucrative career as a computer scientist on Wall Street to launching Amazon at age 31. Vera Wang, initially a figure skater and journalist, chose to become a bridal wear designer at 40, eventually becoming one of the world's most sought-after designers. Harland Sanders, known for franchising KFC in 1952, embarked on this venture at 62 after diverse careers including as a lawyer, railroad worker, and gas station operator.