How Can You Make A Successful Career Change?

career change

Approximately 10 years ago, I opened my own business to help organizations, executive leaders and nonprofits learn how to maximize their leadership skills, understand their teams’ unique abilities and help maximize productivity. Prior to that, I spent the better part of two decades working in the banking industry. I wasn’t necessarily looking to jump from one industry to the other, but I am enjoying the fact that I did. 

Have you ever thought about making a change in your career? People decide to change careers for a number of reasons. Perhaps your goals or values have changed; maybe you have developed new interests; perhaps you’re in pursuit of a better work-life balance, a different organizational culture, or an offer to make more money is on the table. 

Before you make a decision, it’s important to take the time to evaluate your current situation.


Important Items To Consider When Evaluating A Career Change 


1. What do I like about my current position? Could my skills be of value in a different industry? Don’t sell yourself short. Sometimes, like myself at the time, you don’t realize your skill set is very much adptable to other industries.

2. What do I not like about my current position? Could those reasons become a limiting factor if I changed careers? 

3. What does my profile indicate are positions I should consider that would utilize my strengths, and what jobs would create frustration? If you’ve never taken a personality profile assessment, or want to update or compare profiles previously taken, click here for more information on how we can help!

4. Is money a significant factor? I would encourage you not only to look at the salary, but also ask if you would enjoy the new position and just as important, the culture. Learn more about how to determine culture within an organization, here.

5. Can you accept a “lesser” position title? When making a career switch, you have to be prepared to work your way up the ladder. Personally, titles have never been an important factor for me, but enjoying my job has always been key. I once took a three grade drop, and gave up a corporate title, to make sure the journey I would be taking would put me where I wanted to be in the future. I will admit, my salary did not change, and I proved to the company and myself that a good work ethic and hard work would make this change a win-win for both of us.


Steps To Making A Career Change 


Long-range career planning sometimes takes a short-term strategic focus outside your current position. While evaluating your current job and overall satisfaction, here are some steps to take before making the move to a new career. 

1. Assess your values and skills. Don’t be too concerned about what people will think, instead focus on your values and interests. What will make you happy? What past experience or positions could help prepare you to make a change? How can you add value to the industry you want to enter? 

2. Check out the job market. It’s important to research job opportunities and get a feel of the industry. What does the landscape look like? 

3. Review educational requirements. Does a career change require returning to school, or taking a couple of courses to help you advance your knowledge? It’s important to do your homework on what educational options will help you further your goal of pursuing a new career. Additionally, are there things you can do in your current position that will help others and help you gain experience for the future? 

4. Get personal. Do you have any contacts, colleagues or friends who work in the industry? Reach out and ask for an informational interview. A career coach and LinkedIn are also both great resources for networking, or finding contacts in specific career fields. 

5. Give it a test run. Are there some volunteer, paid intern or freelance opportunities within your identified field that would allow you to gain some experience? 


In Closing 


When thinking about a career change, don’t be too concerned that you may not be hired because you lack the experience in the chosen industry. Many times, management may not want someone within the same industry for the position because they want fresh ideas and a new perspective. Personally, I have hired people for key positions without the same industry experience because they brought a new skill set, added great value and enhanced the position. Bottom line: don’t be afraid to make a change! 

Tell us: have you ever made a significant career change? What made it possible for you? If you have a question, or need help evaluating whether a career change is right for you, email us. Your first consultation is free, and we’d love to chat with you! 

By Jeanne Reaves
At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, Jeanne specializes in coaching executives in a variety of industries. As a certified Personality Consultant, Jeanne employs technology and techniques to help her clients understand their executive teams’ unique abilities, maximize their productivity and manage them more effectively to enhance earnings.