Ready to change your career but not sure how? Here are your next steps.
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Congratulations! Facing the unknown can be scary, and the decision to change careers is not an easy one. By daring to leave the familiar to reach for something different, you’re embarking on a brave path.

Maybe you’ve been stuck in a job that just isn’t you. You might want to improve your pay check or lower your stress. Maybe you’ve felt unfulfilled (or fed up!) from years toiling in the same profession and long for something new.

There are many reasons to want a career change. The Covid-19 pandemic has stirred many people’s “what am I doing with my life” angst. You’re not alone in your desire for a career change.

According to a findcourses.co.uk survey, more than one third (35%) of people are actively looking to change careers and an unbelievable 89% of people who are happy in their current roles are also contemplating a career change.

You’ve decided to make a fresh start, but that doesn’t mean you’re a blank slate. To make the most of your credentials and professional experience, you’ll want to do some research. It’s time to get organized and optimize your chances of landing that new job.

1. Do Your Research

As a career changer, you should have a targeted approach to your job search. Focus on companies, industries, and skills that interest you when you browse job sites like monster.com or LinkedIn.

Reading posted job requirements can cause any career changer’s heart to sink and imposter syndrome to take over. Try not to despair. Read between the lines of each posting to find out what the company needs. Concentrate on transferable skills and relevant experience. You’re probably much more qualified than you realize.

At the very least, studying job descriptions is a good exercise for uncovering the skills you need to develop. In fact, the vast majority of survey respondents (83%) acknowledged they need to learn something new to make a career change.

You may find yourself more marketable if you take a course specifically related to the skills employers are looking for. Even a refresher course in communication training or spreadsheet skills can make an impact and set you apart from other candidates.

2. Give Your Resume a Makeover

When you change careers, rewrite and reorganize your resume to make your transferable skills stand out. You need to bring your best storytelling abilities forward if you want to get noticed. How will you sell yourself and your new career aspirations to the employer who’s sifting through hundreds of applications?

Remember the research you did browsing through job postings for your new field? It’s time to use what you’ve learned:

  • Find the position-specific keywords in the job posting and write them into your resume (where possible). Your new resume needs to pass through Applicant Tracking Software so you don’t immediately get screened out for not having the right skills.
  • Focus on how your transferable skills give you the necessary experience for the job. Connect your previous accomplishments to the broader picture of what's required of you in your desired position. You may not have had the same job title, but you can show how the experience was similar.

There are lots of resume builders and resources available online to help you. There are also professional resume writers who can help if you don’t want to rewrite it yourself. Regardless of the method, strive to make the most of your resume makeover.

And don’t forget to write a great cover letter! The cover letter’s job is to show off the resume and position it (and you) in the best light. It’s a good place to make an impression and show you’re a good “fit,” especially when your resume is light on directly relevant experience. Make it personal and specific with references to your transferable skills and the company.

3. Look into Possible Funding Options

Many governments have set up opportunities for training subsidies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, programs can be found at both the state and federal levels, so be sure to investigate all your options. Regardless, there are funding options available to help people change careers. It’s worth your time—and bank account—to investigate.

Some organizations may offer opportunities for on-the-job-training in an apprenticeship or internship position. If you’re coming from outside your target industry, these positions are a great way to secure valuable and job-relevant experience. As an intern you will be able to study the industry, train on special software or tools, learn best practices and lingo, and create industry-specific contacts.

4. Network and Then Network Some More

It’s not what you know, but who you know. Networking is all about connections. Think about everyone you know—relatives, past work colleagues, college chums, clients, and your kids’ friends’ parents—and whether they might have a job lead for you. You’ll never know if you don’t ask, or at least tell them about your situation.

In addition to alerting you to new opportunities, your network can also vouch for you and your abilities in a new career. Hiring managers and recruiters tend to default to the least risky option. Your application will carry more weight if it comes from a trusted source, regardless of whether you check all the boxes.

Using your contacts to find or recommend you to a job is one of the most important activities you can do as part of your career change journey. If you’re not comfortable with approaching people and asking for help, maybe a course in interpersonal skills can give you the confidence boost you need and put yourself out there.

5. Believe in Yourself

You must believe a new career is possible. Don’t underestimate this step. It may take time for you to make the career shift you’re after, and there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way.

You’re at the beginning of the pathway to a new career. The quest you’re embarking on is courageous and fulfilling. With some research, a great resume, a lot of networking, and a little positivity, you can make it happen!

Rama Eriksson

Written By

Rama Eriksson

Content Editor at findcourses.com

Rama Eriksson is a Content Editor at findcourses.com. Her writing is complemented by 15+ years as an international marketing professional. She brings her experience and curiosity to connect professionals to the right training to help further their goals. Originally from the New York area, Rama has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 2010.

See more posts from Rama Eriksson

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