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Top 10 Tips for Changing Careers

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Summary: After researching numerous articles about advice for changing careers, these ended up being the top 10 tips.

Surfing the Internet for tips on changing careers can easily get you sucked into a seemingly endless series of link clicking. Before you know it, your lunch hour is gone and you are still unsure where to prioritize your efforts in changing your career. Fortunately for you, we did extensive research to collect the current top 10 tips for changing careers.

Beginning with the advice that appears most frequently, here are your top 10 tips:

1. Start Small. Starting small can be accomplished a variety of different ways without having to uproot your life, and enables you to acquire the skills and experience you need for your end goal. For example: keep the same job but change industries, move within your current company, or get side gigs.

2. Have an Action Plan. As it turns out, no matter how passionate you are about changing careers and how many advice articles you read, those two actions alone will not produce a career change. One of the best things you can do to help yourself change careers is to have an action plan. Having a documented action plan helps you map out a timeline and milestones. This makes it easier to identify action items necessary to reach each milestone.

3. Why Change? Understanding your motivation for change is crucial when considering changing careers. Do you really have a passion in life that you think is not being fulfilled, are you under-challenged, is your current pace exhausting, or are you just looking for a change of scenery? Being certain about why you want a career change ensures you will work purposefully and methodically.

4. Networking. No matter how you network, the bottom line is networking is necessary for you to succeed. Meeting people in the industry, organization or department you want to work in means they have a few minutes to get to know you. They get to learn what you do, and get a feel for your personality and work ethic. Be sure to express your career goals to them before the conversation ends. When they hear of a job posting, there is a good chance they will forward you the information, and hopefully recommend you. If you want to be an expert at networking, you will need to do more research on the “how to,” but now you know it must be done!

5. Do Your Research. You absolutely must research the skill requirements and industry for where you want to work. In order to even get an interview, you need provide applicable skills on your resume. Once you begin interviewing, the people hiring you need to know why they should hire you, and not someone else. You can only sell them on your experience and expertise if you communicate how your skills apply to the career you are seeking.

6. Combine Efforts. Find other people to work with who will help you achieve your goals. Having a mentor, a coach, or like-minded associates contribute to your development will help you refine your skills. Additionally, receiving feedback about your newly acquired knowledge and skills boosts your confidence, which makes the idea of achieving your goals more of a reality.

7. Be Flexible. Changing careers will likely not be easy. Often times you may be presented with opportunities that lay the groundwork for your new career, but may involve a lateral move and sometimes a decrease in pay. Remember your end goal. Take time to evaluate if it makes sense to have short-term lifestyle changes (packed lunches, not having the newest tech gadget, and no Starbucks – sob!) in order to reach your goal.

8. Have You Asked for More? If your main motivation for wanting to change careers is salary related, have you asked your current job for a pay increase? If you never try, there is a 100% chance you will not succeed.

9. Revisit Your Decision to Change. Remember the action plan with the timeline and milestones? Be sure to review your progress and periodically reevaluate your decision to change.

10. Fear. The bad news is, sometimes fear prevents us from moving forward with making a change. The good news is, fear appears last on this list! This means having fear about change is still a worthy cause, but spending the day focusing on the 9 tips above will likely help keep your fear at bay.

Although changing careers is not easy, it certainly is achievable. Having a career that you love impacts your physical health, your relationships, and your overall happiness. Start applying these tips today, and before you know it – you will be remembering today like it was yesterday.

What is the most important advice that you could share that helped you when changing careers? Share your thoughts in the comments below the article.

Read these related articles to learn more about successfully changing careers:

Management Consultant Wants to Change Careers

Changing Careers: Should You Change Careers?

The Mental Phases of a Career Change


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