Changing Careers: What You Should Know

By: Marie Donlon

It is not all that uncommon for people to discover that they are ill-suited for their chosen profession.

So what should you do when you find that you and your career are not a match-made-in-employment heaven?

If you have absolutely decided to leave your current profession in pursuit of some other position, consider taking the following steps to prepare.

What’s the Problem?

Can you pinpoint exactly what it is that is making you feel ill-suited to the work that you do? Make sure that you can answer this question before you set out to alter your entire professional life.

Find out what it is specifically that is making you feel the urge to switch jobs. Determining what that might be could save you from experiencing the sensation all over again in your new career.

Purpose and Change Coach Alex Durand from Frable Consulting cautions:

“(Be) able to name and be aware and feel what the dissatisfaction is…Is it my boss? Is it the profession itself? Is it the culture of the organization? What is it that I’m missing?” he said. “Really doing a data analysis of emotions, thoughts, insights, gaps in knowledge, of self-awareness.

“Once you have that raw data, you can start to ask the questions of, ‘What do you want?'”

Think

Make sure you are certain you know what you want from a career change. That is, make sure the field you are considering is both appealing and realistic. If you don’t have a decent grasp of what it is you want to do, maybe take some sort of quiz or assessment to determine what field you might be best suited for.

Research

Before you make any life-altering decisions, make sure you aren’t leaving one industry for another industry that might be experiencing or on the verge of experiencing a downfall.

In other words, make sure that whatever industry you are exploring is one characterized by growth. You don’t want to make a career move in the direction of an industry that is losing steam.

Instead, make sure that the industry you are considering is one that is in demand. That is, explore whether there are jobs in the field regardless of location or other factors. Take a look at literature concerning the field. Is the industry poised for growth?

Talk to People in the Know

Before taking any great leaps, talk to people situated in the industry that you are considering. Find out from an insider if the reality of the position matches your fantasy. Use this opportunity to also see what an insider might have to say about the industry’s direction.

Experience

Most employers will make hiring decisions based solely on one specific piece of criteria: experience. Do you have experience in the field you are interested in? Competing in a new field without experience could mean moving into a field that is far more competitive than you realize. Without experience, you run the risk of losing out on opportunities for employment in that field.

Check back next week for Part 2.