No offense, but we’re not surprised if you ended up in a position that’s making you miserable. It’s an unfortunate, almost inevitable plight as a young adult. We’ve been there ourselves and understand the angst of waking up and heading to a place that drags you down day after day. Fortunately, there’s much to learn from those who have mastered the skill of moving gracefully from one job to another. Though we can’t guarantee overnight victory in following our tried and true dos & don’ts of a successful career change, we can assure you, there’s a way. Let’s get started…
– Take a step back and analyze your life.
You really need to become intimate with yourself and understand what’s important to you. Take a look at your lifestyle and think about what you value, where your priorities are, and what constitutes an ideal career for you. Are you willing to give up financial security or take on a demanding work schedule? Be realistic with what you find. Your assessment may require outside perspective so don’t be afraid to ask for opinions from those you respect.
– Try new things.
It’s important to understand the kind of career you want so exploring different fields can be extremely helpful. Now that you know the struggle of changing careers, do your best to get it right the second time. Try as many new and different things as you can before making a final decision. If you’re unable to get first-hand experience, interview or shadow someone in the field.
– Amplify the skills necessary for that next step.
You can’t just expect to get hired in an industry you’re not familiar with. Most companies want to hire people with experience…and now you’re probably thinking about that awful cycle of “No one will hire me because I don’t have enough experience, but I can’t get the experience because no one will hire me”. Do your research and focus on activities that will build on the skills relevant to the job you want. For instance, if you know you want to break into fashion journalism, write your heart out. Because of today’s competitive work place, be prepared to double the effort in order to put up a good fight against those who do have the experience.
– Build a network.
We pound this over and over only because it’s true – it’s all about who you know so get connected with people from different industries, backgrounds, and all ages. The web makes it very possible so use it to your advantage. Make it known that you’re looking to switch and tailor all introductions/communications to the person you’re connecting with. A position can easily open up with a kind reference.
– Give up.
Changing careers is not an easy task and can take years. You’ll be compelled to throw up the white flag, but no matter how hard it gets, don’t. Nothing good ever comes easy so tough it out and keep dishing out the work.
– Be afraid of stepping down.
Sometimes, moving into a new career requires you to step down – this means work taking a pay cut, working under someone younger and less experienced than you, or even reverting back to the days of entry-level. If you’ve taken a good look at your lifestyle and the non-negotiables, this should not be an issue. It’s a part of the process.
– Jump into emptiness.
It’s easy to end up in a new position feeling the same way you did about your current one so don’t just take a blind leap of faith and hope for the best.
– Wait too long.
The worst thing you can do is wait so long to make the change your life needs that you end up spiteful with where you are. This will only prompt you to run away, most likely into another job you hate, or make you unsuccessful in your chase because of unhappiness, stress, and anger.