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Career Change Decision-Making

Aug 17, 2007
Are you facing that career change decision-point?

Do you wish you were? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is change careers.

Remember that career change is a natural life progression. Most studies show that the average job seeker will change careers several times over the course of his or her lifetime.

Use this 6-step plan. This will ensure that you will be on the right footing and on a path toward career change success.

1. Assessment of Likes and Dislikes.

A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company and so forth. Identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step.

You will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes. What do you really like doing when you are working, when you are at home and in your spare time? What excites you and energizes you? What is your passion?

If you are still unsure, consider taking one of more of those career assessments. The key is spending some time rediscovering yourself and using your self-assessment to direct your new career search.

2. Researching new careers.

Once you have discovered your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers that center on your passions. Do not worry if you are feeling a bit unsure or insecure; it is a natural part of the career change process.

How much research you do also partly depends on how much of a change you want.

3. Transferable skills.

Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career. You may be surprised to see that you already have a solid amount of experience needed for your new career.

4. Training and education.

You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly.

If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab. Take a course or two to ensure you really like the subject matter.

If you are going for a new degree or certification, make sure you check the accreditation of the school. Get some information about placement successes.

5. Networking.

One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking ability. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.

Even if you do not think you already have a network, you probably do. Consider colleagues, friends, and family members.

You can also broaden your network through joining professional organizations in your new field and contacting alumni from your college who are working in the field you want to enter. A key tool of networking is conducting informational interviews.

6. Be Flexible. You will need to be flexible about nearly everything, from your employment status to relocation and salary.

Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change. Do not let these things get you down. Besides totally new careers, you might also consider a lateral move that could serve as a springboard for a bigger career change.
About the Author
Trevor Kronk is the author of many magazine and website articles on topics ranging from credit and finance, to legal matters. See more of Kronk's articles about Career Decisions.
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