Making the decision to switch careers is a big one! It’s not a decision you should take lightly, which means you have probably spent a lot of time thinking it through and deciding where you want to work. But, once you have decided you want to make the switch, what comes next?
Work on Your Leadership Skills
No matter what career you have decided to take on, it’s a good idea to improve your business and leadership skills. It’s a great way to build more confidence before you take on a brand-new role, and it shows prospective employers that you’re serious about making the switch and sticking with it.
A few ways you can work on your business and leadership skills include:
- Sign up to see an expert speak on a topic you’re passionate about
- Take a class online or in-person
- Get a new certification or endorsement
- Take on a new project at your existing job
- Work on your communication skills
- Practice your leadership skills outside of work
Just because you think you know what new field you want to get into doesn’t mean you’ll actually like it when you get there. As you’re working on your leadership skills, you should also look for ways to put your new skills into practice in your chosen field. The best way to do that is to volunteer.
Volunteering may not pay you any money, but it’s a great way for you to experience a new field. Not only can you learn more about the specific position you’re interested in, but you may also discover other positions within the same field that you never considered. Not to mention, it’s a great way to meet people who work in the field you’re interested in. They make great references, and you never know—one of them may be able to refer you to your dream job!
Create a Timeline
Just because you have decided you want to make a career change and you know what career you want doesn’t mean you know how to make it happen. It’s especially important to get realistic about exactly how much time it’s going to take to meet your goals.
It can take a long time to find a job, and it can take even longer if you’re switching careers. Create a timeline so you can break down the switch into manageable steps. You’ll want to include any classes, degrees, or endorsements you need to get first, set aside time to create a new resume, consider how many job applications you want to fill out every week, and more.
Although you may want to make the switch sooner rather than later, it is much better to create a timeline and go slowly. Make sure you save plenty of money throughout the process so you have funds to fall back on if things don’t go according to plan.
Focus on Your Boundaries
Making the switch to a new career isn’t something you can do overnight. While you wait it out at your existing job, it’s a good idea to focus on your professional boundaries.
Just because you think you will like your new career better doesn’t mean it’s better for your overall quality of life. Think about the kinds of boundaries you want to set to ensure the transition is successful, and give them a try at your existing job. Don’t reply to emails after a certain time every night, insist on taking all of your vacations, and work on communicating your needs more clearly, just to name a few.
Manage Professional Relationships
Just because you have one foot out the door at your current job doesn’t mean you should burn bridges there before you leave. You should work on maintaining your existing professional relationships while you build new relationships with people in your new field.
For example, you’ll want to tell your boss in person when you resign rather than doing it over email. Give your job 100 percent through your very last day, and make sure those you worked with know you’re thankful for the opportunity you had to learn and grow. You never know when those old connections could come in handy!
There’s a lot more work to be done when you decide you’re ready for a new career. Follow these tips and the switch will be as painless as possible.