The Big Switch: What to Consider When Changing Careers

Whether it’s because of burnout or you’re taking a leap of faith to pursue your passion finally, there’s no doubt that changing careers is liberating. Just take Huffington Post co-founder and BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti for example. Before helping create the media powerhouses populating your social media timeline today, Peretti was a computer science teacher.

Even then, the job didn’t really fit his background as he graduated with a degree in environmental studies from the University of California. The shifts he went through were drastic, and that’s what makes his story so inspiring.

Other notable people who went off the beaten path were Vera Wang, who was a journalist before starting her own brand, and Julia Child, who worked in media and an intelligence agency before she became a cooking show legend. However, the path to changing your career isn’t cut and dry. Here are things you should consider on your journey.

Setting a Clear Target

Even when you’re jumping into the great unknown with your career change, it should still be a calculated leap. You don’t want to waste time, money, and effort going from job to job. While this may stack up on your resume, some employers aren’t fond of job hoppers. As such, you should have clear career paths you want to take. Make a ranked list of your interests and try to find jobs based on them. Once you have a list of prospects, try to see which ones fit the skills you’ve mastered so far.

If you worked in the kitchen before, but want to be a writer, you may feel comfortable being a cookbook ghostwriter. Depending on the cost, a pizza franchise is also a good business if your entrepreneurial spirit is starting to light up. These drastic but measured changes ensure that there’s still a sense of familiarity to your new career.

Making Up for Lost Experience

Whether you’re diving into a totally foreign job or one that’s closer to your skillset, you still need to rack up the necessary knowledge and experience to compete with other applicants. Luckily, you can learn everything from business management to web design on online courses and degree programs from universities like Harvard and MIT. You can also get internet courses from platforms like Udemy and edX, which also offer certificates that are bound to impress your future employers.

If you want a more hands-on experience, find a mentor. Ask your family and friends if they know anyone with a career you’re striving to achieve or contact one in your network. If your prospects are too busy, try to request job shadowing, so they don’t get distracted from their work. Learning from the masters themselves is one of the best ways to rack up knowledge and experience in your chosen field.

Having Enough Resources for the Switch

Man going up a stair wearing corporate attire

You don’t want to be stuck making ends meet while finding a new career. As such, it’s still best to keep your current one until you land the job you’re applying for. If you can’t take your ongoing work right now, at least have a backup plan with savings or a freelance job. While freelance work won’t give you as much cash as your regular one, at least you can live comfortably while waiting for an interview invitation.

A career change, despite its advantages, comes with its own set of challenges. As such, it’s essential to have a clear picture of the job of your dreams and get enough knowledge and experience about it. Get as much preparation as you can. After all, every big leap needs a running start.

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