10 Essential Steps in Planning a Career Change
Are you considering a career change? Not so fast! A full career change takes time and careful planning. Here are 10 essential steps to consider before you make the giant leap into a new industry or discipline:
1.Be sure you are changing careers for the right reason: If you are simply bored with your job or you don't like the boss, a career change may not be the answer. The best reasons to make a career change are to advance your occupational life, increase your earning power and follow your passion.
2.Be prepared to make sacrifices: A career change does not happen easily or quickly. Be prepared to do all of the legwork and preparation first. Also, it is conceivable you may have to take a pay cut to change industries or disciplines, at least temporarily. Determine if that is feasible for you.
3.How will the career change affect your family or dependents? A career change is often a major life change that can be time consuming and financially challenging. Discuss your plans with your spouse, partner and dependents and solicit their input and support before you make any final decisions.
4.Thoroughly investigate the new industry or discipline: Before you make the personal and professional commitment to a career change, you must research your desired field to see if it is viable. Is the product or service it provides in demand and potentially a long-term part of the culture, or is it something that could become obsolete? What does it take to excel in the field and to find true success? Find all of this out before you take steps to enter the new field.
5.Enlist advice from resource people: It will be to your advantage to find people who are in your desired industry or discipline and ask for their input and advice. Formulate smart questions before you meet with them and have definite goals for the meeting. They are often the ones who can tell you the true pluses and minuses of going into their field.
6.Focus on timing: Is this the right time for you to make a major career change? If you have a family depending on your income, find out if the salary and benefits equal or surpass what you have now. If you are looking at a field that deals in luxury items or services, for example, moving into that type of career during a recessionary period may not be advisable.
7.Try the new occupation on for size: You may be able to "test the waters" before making a full commitment to the career change. For example, if you are looking at retailing, perhaps you can take on a part time job in the retail industry to get a sense of the workload, the pace at which the job moves and a good look at the industry from the inside, while still working in your current job full time.
8.Will you need additional education, training or licensing? This is a critical point in your career change because it may require an additional commitment on your part. Find out what credentials are necessary to enter the field, compare them with your own background and then determine how long it will take you to become fully qualified.
9.Develop a full career plan: A successful career change requires foresight and detailed planning. Develop a plan for yourself that includes benchmarks and deadlines, and adhere to the plan as closely as possible. Develop reasonable timelines to achieve your desired goals. Be patient and do not try to rush the plan or skip any important steps.
10.Determine the best places to work in your desired industry: Do your homework and find out where you truly should work in your desired industries. What companies or organizations are thriving and seem to have the most forward-thinking business models? If you are going to make a change, aim as high as possible and try to work with and for the best people and organizations.