Making a career leap? Some strategies to help

Published: Monday, January 3, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 11:50 p.m.
Statistically, we change careers two or three times during our professional lives. Changing careers is scary and difficult, but often, very necessary.
Here are a few reasons why you might consider a career change:
  • You're totally burned out by your current job and need a drastic change.
  • Automation and computers have eliminated a job that was performed by a trained professional - you.
  • You're really bored and just want to do something else.
  • A health issue surfaces that prevents you from performing a job you've done in the past.
    So you've become bored, disillusioned, disgusted or burned out by your current job.
    Now what?
    Well, here's a simple question: What do you like to do? Here are a few things to think about:
  • What are your likes and dislikes?: Let's assume you know what you like to do. I was always taught that if you like what you're doing, you do it well; and if you do something well, chances are you'll like doing it. Let's suppose you like the idea of teaching. A friend of mine had this dream and transitioned from a career in human resources to teaching high school kids how to pass their SAT tests with flying colors. She took her love of teaching and turned it into a paycheck.
  • Do you need additional education or training?: Education is another consideration. Find out exactly what kind of education, certification and other requirements are necessary for your dream job. Many times, career changers need to go back to school for a short time to fulfill educational requirements.
  • Are your skills transferable?: There's a phrase that recruiters and career counselors use often: ''transferable skills.'' What does it mean to the career changer? One example: A few years ago, I thought about changing careers. At the time, I was a recruiter, but unfortunately, because of the economic downturn, my skills weren't exactly in great demand (fortunately, this has changed for the better!).
    I was thinking about what career would make the most sense, and I decided to look at career counseling as my next professional endeavor. So I decided to do some homework. I did a Google search and checked out some career-consulting firms in and near New Hampshire. I called and spoke to a career counselor. I asked for a few minutes of her time and asked her questions such as:
  • What kind of an educational background would be ideal for a job like this?
  • What transferable skills could a person in recruiting use in the career-counseling field?
  • What is the working environment like?
  • Are there nights and weekends involved?
    Get the idea? Doing your homework and research up-front can save you lots of time in the long run.
    Working for a living When changing careers, ask yourself, ''What kind of work environments do I like?''
    For instance, are you more comfortable in a small or mid-sized company, or do you like the feel of a larger, corporate environment? Do you enjoy the flexibility of something other than a typical nine-to-five existence, or do you like being on a schedule? Are you comfortable working alone or do you prefer working on a team? Are you happy being mentored and managed or do you like a boss who is ''hands-off''?
    Networking is just talking to other people Let's say that you're a teacher looking to get into sales. Let's also say that your neighbor is a salesperson for a company that sells office furniture. Ask your neighbor what his job is like. He can give you the inside scoop, let you know the pros and cons of the job, and even connect you with his boss if you're interested in pursuing it further. This is called networking.
    Not an overnight thing Changing careers is not something that happens overnight. Think about it and realize that something as important as what you do every day for eight hours or more is serious business. Take your time, do your homework, network and at some point, your dreams (or, your dream job) will come true.
  • Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

    ▲ Return to Top