You’ve probably heard a lot about the “Great Resignation” by now. The United States has seen a record number of workers resign from their current job. Many of these individuals are seeking better pay, more benefits, or a hybrid work schedule.
But what if switching employers isn’t enough?
What if it is really a career change you’re after?
A midlife career change?
First, evaluate your motivations for seeking a career change:
Are you burned out? (See Revision Resume’s recent blog on burnout for more information).
Has your family situation changed, and you need more flexibility to care for others?
Are you looking for a career with more meaning?
Perhaps the pandemic has made you reevaluate your priorities or goals in life?
Knowing why a career change is tempting can help direct you in the best possible way moving forward.
Evaluate what you really want…and what you don’t.
Next, make a list of what you enjoy about your current career and things you definitely do not want to repeat in your next one. This is a critical step! Changing careers will inevitably carry with it new training, and possibly a new degree. You don’t want to suddenly realize you have wasted time and money on a new direction that leads you back to the same discontent you had in your previous career.
There are many online services and tools to help determine what careers are suited to your personality and qualifications. Simply search for “career change tools” in your favorite search engine to get started.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.
While this saying is great for keeping an open mind about your options, it’s not the best advice once you decide on a path to take. Once you have identified the direction you want to go, begin researching how to get there. Keep your financial health in mind as you do this by asking yourself these questions:
How quickly will the amount you invest in training or degree be made up for once you start working in your new capacity?
It shouldn’t matter, but it does: consider your age. How many working years do you anticipate devoting to your new career and how will that impact your retirement and retirement savings?
How much do you have in savings to tide you over during this transition? Experts recommend having at least six months’ salary in reserve.
Are there grants, loans or forgiveness programs available for the profession you’re interested in? Again, a quick search on the Internet can yield possibilities you may not have thought of.
This is the time to crunch the numbers, brainstorm with those who the change will affect, and get creative with your finances to make your dream a reality!
Timing is everything.
Then, take a magnifying glass to your planning calendar:
Do you plan to keep working part-time while you train/study for your new career?
How will you maintain family commitments in the interim?
How can you build in time for rest and decompression?
What elements of your current life will you need help with or need to cut back while you are building the foundation for a new path?
When opportunity knocks…open the door!
Lastly, look for opportunities around you. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile already, consider setting one up. Search for organizations and groups in your area or nationwide that relate to your future profession and join them. You may find that openings for internships, apprenticeships, tutorials or other training pop up. These items will all make great additions to your resume.
Speaking of which…how do you deal with creating a resume for a new career where you have no experience? Here is a previous blog that may be helpful: "How to Write a Resume Without Work Experience." In many ways, our advice mimics that of any recent college graduate so another helpful blog is "Tips for a New Grad to Stand Out."
As mentioned above, new versions of your resume should reflect applicable experiences you’ve gathered along the way training for your new career. But that doesn’t mean you should get rid of all of the information from previous jobs! Showing results from your efforts on the job – no matter what job it was – can highlight soft skills like collaboration, perseverance and resiliency.
While all this might seem daunting, there are plenty of examples of people who have done it successfully! Planning and preparation can make the difference between making the leap with – or without – a safety net underneath you. Give yourself permission to make mistakes along the way, but knowing that you did everything you could to mitigate lost time, effort and money will give you confidence to go for your dream!