A career change is exciting, but it can also be stressful. You want to ensure you are starting on the right foot, aligning with an industry that’s right for you, and can perform the job according to your new employer’s expectations. Every journey starts with that single, first step. Here’s how you can start a new career well.
These are the First 6 Steps of A New Career
Step 1: Have faith in your strengths
Make a list of your talents; both what you do well, and what you enjoy doing. Review your experience and education to ensure you have not forgotten anything. Don’t forget to minimize the things you don’t enjoy or that you struggle with. It is better to focus your energies on enhancing your existing strengths rather than overcoming your shortcomings.
Step 2: Outline your training
List any training that you have had. Include formal education, on-the-job training, and skills you have picked up independently or while volunteering. Mention both hard skills, such as proficiency in specific coding languages, and soft skills, like interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills.
Step 3. Find your matches
Consider what occupations require your talents by conducting an internet search that targets terms that reflect your skills and abilities. Narrow your list to three or four possibilities for further investigation. Prioritize the careers that you are qualified for and likely to enjoy. Consult the vision you have for your life. Do any of these options align with that vision?
Step 4. Learn more
Further research your target careers. Use the Internet to learn more about each option. Reach out to your network to find people in that industry and interview them. Ask what they like about the job and what their career trajectory has been like. Then, see if you can shadow someone or spend the day at their company, learning everything you can. Find out if there is a union or trade organization that can support you or guide you.
Step 5. Obtain more training
Check out vocational schools and consult your contacts to determine if there is relevant training you can pursue. Are there online options or night classes you can take while still employed? If you are having trouble getting started, ask someone in HR about on-the-job training. Put your best foot forward by dressing appropriately, bringing (or sending) a resume, and preparing relevant questions ahead of time.
Step 6. The final step
Once you’re ready—your resume is polished, and you have the right training—start sending it out and filling out applications. Use those valuable contacts you made while researching the industry, in HR, in unions and professional organizations, and while shadowing. Stay in your current job until you find the right opportunity. That salary and good job reference will be important when you’re finally ready to leap to a new career.
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