How to Successfully Make a Career Change

July 7, 2023
Posted in Questions
July 7, 2023 Terkel

How to Successfully Make a Career Change

Navigating a career change can be daunting, but we’ve gathered 11 expert tips to guide you through the process. From community managers to CEOs, these professionals offer insights ranging from reflecting and researching before leaping to taking time to decide on a career change. Dive into their wisdom to make your career transition a successful one.

  • Reflect and Research Before Leaping
  • Plan Your Finances for Career Change
  • Research, Patience, and Skill Transfer
  • Understand Costs and Budget for Change
  • Explore Roles Patiently Before Committing
  • Act Promptly to Avoid Ageism
  • Understand Tradeoffs and Embrace Risk
  • Embrace Uncertainty for Personal Growth
  • Plan and Research Before Leaping
  • Seek Guidance from a Career Coach
  • Take Time to Decide on a Career Change

Reflect and Research Before Leaping

Before embarking on your new job search, take the time to figure out exactly why you’re craving a change, and what it is you want to do, and consider how your current skills could be useful in this fresh path. By this, I mean, don’t just jump to a different path to get out of an old one—make the jump as meaningful as possible.

Determine your ideal role and line of work. What interests you? What are the activities that make up most of the job? Is there potential for growth in this field? These questions will help guide you toward discovering what kind of career path is right for you.

If possible, research companies that have positions that sound interesting. Look at their mission statements and philosophies so that you can figure out if their culture would align with yours. You may gravitate toward an industry or certain type of company based on these values.

Roksana BieleckaRoksana Bielecka
Community Manager, ResumeHelp

Plan Your Finances for Career Change

Once you’ve determined what career change you want, a solid fiscal plan should be the next on your to-do list.

Use resources like The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor to research what salary you should expect at your entry point.

Whether you’re negotiating a lateral transition, or moving into a more junior role, the amount of money you’ll earn could differ, as do many other factors like industry standards for bonuses and pay raises.

If you realize that your career change will mean lower income initially, start preparing for the hit. Funnel more of your current pay into savings, so you have a safety net if you incur any unexpected expenses.

And remember, money shouldn’t be the sole factor in whether this career change is right for you. But if you know what employers pay and what your financial trajectory will probably resemble, you’ll be better equipped for both your job hunt and financial responsibilities.

Geoffrey ScottGeoffrey Scott
SEO Content Manager and Certified Professional Resume Writer, Resume Genius

Research, Patience, and Skill Transfer

In my experience, the key to a successful career change is thorough research. Don’t dive in without first understanding the landscape of your desired field.

For instance, when I transitioned from accounting to sales, I began by shadowing colleagues, attending sales meetings, and studying industry literature. I needed to understand the different sales techniques, industry trends, and customer pain points.

But more than that, I needed to see if I could envision myself in that role. My evenings became a blend of educational podcasts and enlightening conversations with seasoned sales professionals.

Once you’re confident about the change, lean on your transferable skills. Present them in a new light that makes them relevant to your new field. That way, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re just shifting the narrative.

Remember, career change is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. So, be patient and persistent, and the finish line (your next challenge) will be within your reach.

John WhiteJohn White
MBA in sales, Manager, and Golf Instructor, John Carlton White

Understand Costs and Budget for Change

Many people find the idea of making a career change overwhelming because it doesn’t feel financially safe. There are the questions of when to quit, whether you need to re-train, the costs of investing in your own company, and how much money you need to save as a buffer.

The list goes on. You first need to know what your monthly costs are—ideally a range bracket from the fundamentals (bills, rent, basic living cost budget) to the ideal figures. Add on anything like a vacation (because we all need a break!), re-training, or business costs.

Once you have this, you can plan a budget for, say 3-6 months of buffer. Knowing this means that you can plan your career change and know what you’re working with financially, therefore making the whole thing feel a little safer.

Hannah RayHannah Ray
Life, Career, and Business Coach, TAKE Coaching Amsterdam

Explore Roles Patiently Before Committing

Don’t feel you need to rush anything, particularly if you felt like you rushed a previous career change.

Take the time to trial roles and grow organically, rather than jumping into a new career without at least trialing whether you like it to begin with.

Tracey BeveridgeTracey Beveridge
HR Director, Personnel Checks

Act Promptly to Avoid Ageism

Ageism is an unfortunate factor in any industry, and that’s why I always recommend workers think about a change move sooner rather than later.

Usually, when candidates come to me hoping to switch roles or even industries, they’ve been thinking about it for years already. Getting too comfortable in your current position can be a real detriment to advancement, and once these workers are settled into a new job, they always say the same thing: I wish I’d shifted earlier.

So if you’re having niggling feelings about pursuing a change, speak to a recruiter or career coach today to explore your options. You won’t regret it in the future.

Tim WalshTim Walsh
Founder, Vetted

Understand Tradeoffs and Embrace Risk

The reason that everyone makes a career change is that we want to eliminate regrets. I could have been perfectly happy at my old job, but I would not have the agency that I have running this business.

Wouldn’t have the massive responsibility either. But everything is a tradeoff. Before you make your career change, identify that tradeoff. Why are you quitting that career? It all depends on how well you know yourself. All I know for certain is that taking a risk is better than having regrets.

Rick BerresRick Berres
Owner, Honey-Doers

Embrace Uncertainty for Personal Growth

Drawing from my experience, my best tip for a successful career change is to embrace uncertainty. Contrary to popular belief, uncertainty isn’t necessarily a foe; it can, in fact, serve as a potent catalyst for self-discovery and personal growth.

Uncertainty supports an environment where creativity, flexibility, and adaptability become survival tools. It forces you to rethink and reassess your skills, interests, and values.

This approach was pivotal in my own career shift. I left behind a very comfortable managerial position to become a life coach.

Embracing uncertainty allowed me to redefine my understanding of success and align it with my personal values and aspirations.

Bayu PrihanditoBayu Prihandito
Psychology Expert, Life Coach, and Founder, Life Architekture

Plan and Research Before Leaping

My best tip for successfully making a career change is to thoroughly research and plan your transition before taking the leap. Start by assessing your skills, interests, and values to identify the alternative career path you want to pursue. Conduct extensive research on the industry, job market, and required qualifications to understand the opportunities and challenges you may encounter.

Once you have a clear direction, develop a strategic plan to gain the skills and knowledge for your new career. This could involve taking relevant courses, earning certifications, or gaining practical experience through internships or volunteering. Networking is also crucial during this phase, as it can help you connect with professionals in your desired field, gather insights, and potentially uncover job opportunities.

Consider leveraging your existing network for support and guidance. Seek advice from mentors, colleagues, or industry professionals who can offer insights and potential opportunities.

Sai Blackbyrn
Sai Blackbyrn, CEO, Coach Foundation

Seek Guidance From a Career Coach

When workers come to me hoping to change their industry, I often send them to a career coach before we move forward with their job search.

Today’s diversified job market can be overwhelming. A coach knows the options better than anyone and can suggest roles or positions you likely haven’t even considered.

Through personality tests and skill surveys, they’ll be able to help you identify a field you’re perfect for. It’s a level of insight worth paying for.

And if you require upgrading or retraining, they can help you navigate that as well.

Linn AtiyehLinn Atiyeh
CEO, Bemana

Take Time to Decide on a Career Change

If you can, it helps to take time away from work prior to deciding on a career change so that you can step back and assess the reasons behind wanting a career change from the outset.

Having critical thinking time prior to a career move is crucial for making a decision that is not informed purely as an emotional choice.

Wendy MakinsonWendy Makinson
HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll

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