Moving from one job to another is not a new trend invented by millennials. In fact, the generation of those millennials’ parents — born in the latter years of the baby boom — held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Historically, people who looked to switch jobs were motivated by larger paychecks, better benefits, and more advancement opportunities. However, the current state of the world has motivated people to consider what they want from their careers and how to effectively achieve a healthier work-life balance, flexible work schedule, and positive culture.
While the pandemic has played a significant role in this change of focus, individuals are likely to find that their career goals and values may have changed and therefore place greater emphasis on these elements for years to come. So, this begs the question, how can you make your career transition work for you?
The key to successfully changing careers is preparation. Although it might seem intimidating at first, with proper planning, you could make the leap with minimal problems. By taking these steps, you could boost your chances of success as you seamlessly begin working in a new field.
Tips For Successful Career Changes
1. Evaluate your current job satisfaction. If you can document your daily interactions at work and how you feel after, it’ll be easier to notice trends. Ask yourself these telling questions:
- Which aspects of your job do you like and dislike?
- Are your dissatisfactions related to the content of your work, your company culture, or the people you work with?
2. Document your skills, values, and interests. Take a peek at your previous roles, volunteer work, and jobs to help you identify your preferred titles and activities. Were your core values and skills demonstrated in these positions? Begin to research which career alternatives highlight your interests best.
3. Consider alternative careers. No one knows you better than your friends and family. Open a dialogue with those who are closest to you as well as people in your professional network and discuss your core values and skills. If coming up with new ideas proves to be challenging, consider meeting with a career counselor for professional advice and assistance. You’ll likely learn more about your unique personality and where you could find the best fit in today’s ever changing workforce.
4. Research your new career choice. Some jobs will likely see rapid growth over the next few years. These jobs will be the best for a newbie to jump into because the demand will likely exceed those who had made it their primary career path. For example, data scientists, software engineers, and social media managers all receive strong salaries and will see an uptick in hires in the coming years. Make sure that your new career choice, however, is not solely based on salary prospects. Otherwise, you could end up quickly looking for another change. Direct your research to explore what your day-to-day responsibilities will include and whether those will be engaging for you.
5. Build yourself a financial cushion. If you transfer from a mid-level position in your current field to an entry-level job in a new one, you could take a financial hit. Your income will likely be lower as you complete any necessary training and essentially begin at the bottom. Then, once you demonstrate that your age and experience can offer more value, you may be able to get promoted more quickly. But in the meantime, you need to be prepared for an initial decrease in income. Save money and lower your monthly expenses to help build a financial cushion to smooth over this transition.
6. Create multiple sources of income. Assuming you have some free time in your off hours, “side hustles” and other sources of income could help you transition to the new job and provide you even more financial security. Having other income sources could make it easier to take that initial risk and find a job you really enjoy. It’s also possible that one of these side jobs could really take off — if you’re successful enough with something, you should seriously consider making it your full-time job.
7. Nurture your network. Who you know, and who they know, can make a huge difference in the job you land. Be mindful of the industry and position you want to work in as you begin to frame who you reach out to. Someone who knows your work ethic and can advocate for you to others can help you secure your first job in a new field. The key here is to create a personal brand — that you can communicate to your network of contacts — to promote your value and transferable skills. It will make it easier for you to get a job that better fits your lifestyle.
Switching careers may seem frightening. It may also require a giant leap of faith. Once you safely reach the other side, however, you may find greater happiness in the change.