On average, a person will hold more than 11 jobs or positions within a given career track during their lifetime. During all of that, an average of 90,000 hours will be spent. That’s a lot of time to do something you’re not happy with. If you aren’t at all content with your current career, a switch may be inevitable. By answering the following questions, you should be better prepared to make a smooth transition from one job to the next.
What Are Your Goals?
Perhaps you were once in love with your job. May you enjoy studying for it and building your skills, but end up not being able to apply them in your day-to-day. When this happens, a career switch of some kind could make your life much better. However, that switch may not have to be drastic.
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Before anything else, what do you want to happen? Do you need your career to feel more like you’re making a difference? Do you want to have more direct involvement with people, animals, or natural phenomena? Do you crave a challenge or need a career that allows you to have more flexible hours? Identifying exactly what you want and what you’re willing to give up to get it is the first thing you must evaluate.
Can You Make Your Current Career Line Up With These Goals?
Once you know your goals, it may help to think about why they’re not being met at present. If there are any changes, you could make, or request to have made before you consider a significant career change. Depending on how long you have been at a company or in an industry, there may be ways to bring your current responsibilities and day-to-day schedule in line with what you need.
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Is Your Resume Up to Date?
Whether you go all out to create a digital resume that showcases your skills or you rely on the standard paper-and-ink, there are several design choices you can make that will allow your resume to earn more points.
To start, your resume font is essential. It may seem like the smallest factor, but according to the Software Usability Research Laboratory, a font can convince people of what your personality is like, and even change the tone of your writing.
Color and layout can also be critical factors when it comes to how much of your resume is read. In a busy field, a recruiting officer or HR professional spends about six seconds glancing at a resume before deciding if it’s worth reading further. For this reason, it’s important to use short statements, bullets, and place the most important information near the top of the page.
Will You Need Additional Skills and Training?
Many jobs, especially those in technology or the medical field, require precise, up-to-date training and constant on the job learning. It could take years to get to a place where you’re earning money independently. Are you willing to put in the time and effort?
Further, it’s essential to consider the growth of a particular field. Are there likely to be many openings when your training is over? The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps an updated list on their website showing the top 20 fastest-growing occupations. Here, you can also search for reliable information about expected salary and projected job growth.
It also helps to have connections with those in the field you’re considering going into. Before you make the switch, it may be worth setting up a few meetings with current professionals in this field to see what their day-to-day is like or if they have any advice to offer. This will help you get an accurate picture of what to expect. Friends of friends and alumni associations are the right places to start making connections.
Are You Financially Ready to Make the Switch?
In addition to the less tangible questions, it’s also necessary to know if you will be financially secure while you switch careers. If you can make a move directly into another job with similar pay, this shouldn’t be a problem.
In many cases, you may need to go through a training period or take a job at a lower level while you work your way up the career ladder and learn the necessary skills you need to excel. Make sure you have enough saved to get through this period, plus the ability to afford a month or two without income in case of a setback or emergency.
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