Switching Careers: How to Manage the Process!

With the downturn in the economy switching careers has become much more common. The demand for some professions are disappearing or shrinking while others have increased. With this turmoil all around us changing careers can be a challenging task.

Switching careers from the relative safety of a long-held career into something completely new can be overwhelming. However, with the proper approach, some planning and avoiding some mistakes you can make the career switch to a job with a future and into something that you will enjoy.

Here are some ideas to help you get ready for the move, what actions to take and missteps to avoid.

1. Sell yourself on the move. Do your research and get excited about the prospect of switching careers. Do everything you can to walk the walk in the new career. Join appropriate career based organizations. Read and study what those in the new career do. Read their blogs and websites on a regular basis.

Go to career based conventions and other relevant meetings. Build your network of individuals currently working in the desired career. Add to your career switching network through your alumni association, and by searching on LinkedIn.

When you are ready to make the move you will have the groundwork to assist you in finding relevant job openings in your new career.

2. After researching a potential new career take an inventory of what you have to offer potential employers. What transferable skills are important?

Use your network to find out the possible needs employers are looking for in your new career. Now you have a list of what you have to offer and what the employers need. If there is a gap you may have some work to do.

3. Close the skills gap through added education and experience. College level courses can be taken. But not all education needs to be acquired in a classroom. Online learning is all around us. Self-study is another option. Perhaps a mentor can guide you in learning a desired skill. There may be workshops and seminars that you can attend.

You can add desired experience through your current employer. Volunteer to work with groups in other departments is one good choice. Working for an outside organization is another option.

4. The most important aspect of any plan to switch careers is to build a financial plan to assist and support your career change activity.

Switching careers may mean taking a lower paying position. It may be years until your income meets or exceeds your current compensation. Reduce your stress and make switching careers a more positive experience by getting your financial house in order. Reduce debt and other financial obligations. Defer making any substantial purchases.

Perhaps to close the financial gap you need to have another stream of income. A home based business or a part-time job might be the answer. Explore all your financial options, work through the issues and the career change will be much smoother.

Switching careers is not normally an overnight experience. With planning, some work and by taking a longer term view you chances of landing the desired job in the new career goes way up.

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