How to Know if You Need to Make a Career Change
Let’s say you’ve been at your job for the past few years, utilizing your degree in a field that you decided would best suit your skill sets. Now, what happens when that position starts to feel draining, mundane, or unfulfilling? Should you change your career or stick to where you are in hopes that it may get better?
Going through a career change can be a scary feat. Starting over can be incredibly time-consuming or one may feel like they are stuck in their current position. However, your career path may take a lot of unexpected turns. So, with this in mind, how do you venture through a career change and know if it’s the right move?
Step 1: Take a Step Back
There are ways to change your career that are radical without being risky. The first very important step in deciding whether or not to make a career change is to analyze your current position. Are you feeling undervalued at your company? Then assess that company specifically, its benefits, negative attributes, and so on. Determine if the change you need is from the company or from your individual role. The Muse suggests that you ask yourself question before taking action, such as, “Why do I want this? Why do I think this new career will make my life better? What might the downsides or risks be?” Sometimes sitting back and really thinking about your circumstances in a job can be more beneficial than escaping your role.
Step 2: Write it Out
If you do decide that a career change is necessary, it is important to assess your values. Make a pro/con list about your company/role versus other companies/positions. You could also fill out an Ikigai venn diagram, which was developed by the Japanese to determine your purpose in life. Ikigai asks you what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at, and what you can be paid for. Answering these questions will help you discover what kind of career fit is right for you.
Step 3: Research, Research, Research
Doing research on other positions out there is the next step in changing your career. Spend time online looking at what positions are available, who’s hiring and who’s not, what certain job positions could lead to higher up positions, etc.. Websites like Glassdoor can be a great resource for figuring out what past employees have said about the companies for which they’ve worked in addition to other company factors, such as average salaries and benefits.
Step 4: Hit the Books (or the Internet)
After you determine what kind of position would be best for you, figure out if you have all the skills necessary to apply. If not, perhaps certifications or classes are needed before jumping into the job market pool. At the same time, it may not be worth spending a lot of money on such resources when less expensive opportunities could be right in front of you. Design Week states, “Look out for events and panel discussions you can attend or part time courses that fit in with your schedule. Try reading some industry relevant books, blogs, and whitepapers...There are also online training programmes available, such as Lynda, where you can tailor training to your needs.”
Step 5: Everyone’s Favorite Word, Networking
Furthermore, you’ll want to figure out your network. It can be difficult to jump from one career to the next, but see if you know people in the field you’re looking towards first or gather some referrals that could facilitate your application. Make sure your personal brand has an updated look too. Ask yourself, “Does my portfolio, resume, business cards, and email signature reflect me and how I want to be seen by a company?”
Overall, the most important thing about making a career change is thinking it through and remembering that it is not going to be a quick fix. A good piece of advice to follow is, if possible, not to leave your current job until you’ve found another one. As all job searches go, whether you’re changing your career or not, don’t necessarily accept the first job that makes an offer. Make sure that the company who wants you is something that you want to pursue as well. And remember, a career change is not easy, so make sure to pace yourself and not get too frustrated from the get-go. Give yourself time and encouragement in order to leap into your new position.