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If you’re thinking of making a career change, you’re not alone—millennials are expected to change their career at least once or twice in their lifetime. No matter which career you’re switching to, it’s important to look before you leap. Before you make the big jump into a career change, here are the essential dos and don’ts to help you reach your goals.
Do: Ask Yourself Why You Don’t Like Your Job
Before you make the switch, it’s important to know why you’re doing it. If you don’t like your job, consider whether you want to switch just your job or your entire field of work. Think about all of the factors that make a business run. Think about leadership, coworkers, work culture, promotional opportunities, benefits, and more. Are you unhappy because you are bored with computer science, or are you unhappy because you don’t relate to the people around you? You need to address why you’re unsatisfied before you can make a reasonable decision.
Don’t: Switch Jobs Without Reflecting
You need to establish what you don’t want before you can figure out what you do want. Otherwise, you may end up in a different job that has the same issues or worse. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be unemployed between jobs. Unless you’re facing extreme circumstances in your work environment, it’s critical to stay employed while you make your decision. Not only does this keep you financially stable but it also prevents employers from suspecting why you weren’t employed.
Do: Write Down What You Want in a Job
What do you need out of a job? It may be material like more money, more career advancement opportunities or more time for family. Or it can also be more abstract like changing your entire career field of focus. These factors may totally alter your decision to make a career change. Keep in mind that some career changes are easier than others. For example, jumping from human resources work to mechanical engineering will include years of education and tens of thousands of dollars.
Don’t: Jump Into a Field just because it’s Hot
New trends flood the market all the time promising big paychecks and upward movement in the industry. These trends may be true, but they aren’t a determiner of your success. If you think you have the next big idea for Silicon Valley, for example, do your research to make sure you have the education and resources you need to get there. Instead of following the latest movement, try capitalizing on your talents and abilities. That may be continuing what you do but working remotely so you can travel, or pursuing higher education to become an indispensable asset to your company. Changing careers isn’t always about changing fields–it could be a simple change of life.
Do: Find Out what it Takes to Get There
If you want to change your career, you need to do thorough research on what you need to do to get there. It may be as simple as earning an extra certification or as drawn out as earning a degree through higher education. Today there are many educational opportunities available for those who already work and need more flexibility. Whether you want to become a teacher, a counselor or a small business owner, you can find remote online programs that allow you to pursue your degree without sacrificing your livelihood. Look into a master’s in school counseling online at a school like Gwynedd Mercy or a teaching credential program at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Don’t: Expect a Career Counselor to Have all the Answers
Career counselors can help guide you in the direction you need to go, but they can’t help you find out what you want. They can counsel you on your strengths and areas of improvement, and help you contact resources you need to advance but they can’t make your decision for you. Ultimately your career is in your hands. Use career counselors to help inform your decision, but make the decision on your own.
Switching careers can be an intimidating experience, but with the right preparation, you can launch a successful new career. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to the new job of your dreams.