Growing up, we’re told to college and earn a degree for a job that we will hold for the rest of our working lives. Or so they say.

However, reality paints a different picture. The truth is, only 27% of college graduates actually have jobs related to their degree.

While we’re not trying to disparage college, we are trying to show you that it’s okay to change your career. Very few people choose a career path that they stick with for the rest of their lives.

The only question is, how to change careers in a responsible and effective way? Whether you’re 25 or 45, choosing a new career path is never out of the question.

We’re here to help you make it happen. Keep reading for a quick guide on how to change careers smoothly.

Examine Your “Why”

First, it’s important to define why you want to change careers. The answer to this question is what will provide you with the motivation and drive to make it happen. For example, do you want to:

  • Find a career you’re passionate about?
  • Make more money?
  • Find a job with more opportunities for growth?
  • Etc.

Determine what it is you dislike about your current job. This will help you discover what you’re looking for in your next career.

Understand Your Financial Situation

Before changing careers, it’s important to understand how the transition will affect your finances. This is undeniably important if you have kids, a mortgage (or rent), car payments, bills, and debts. Just because you’re putting your professional life on hold, it doesn’t mean your financial obligations are going to take time off as well.

If you can transition seamlessly from one career to the next, great. However, if you need to work less so you can go to school and earn a new degree (or take a certification course), it might interrupt your cash flow.

Plan ahead for these situations and put money aside to cushion your bank account. This is one of the most important tips on how to change careers responsibly.

Think About Healthcare and Insurance

Along the same line of thought, if you’re leaving a job that offers valuable benefits, you need to find a substitution for these in the interim. If you’re transitioning immediately into another job that offers healthcare, dental, and retirement benefits, it won’t be a big deal.

However, if you’re taking time off to go to school, find the right path, or get certified, it’s a different story. There are short-term healthcare insurance options out there for situations like these.

Focus on Your Strengths

Once your safety nets are in place, you can start focusing on choosing a career path. Begin by listing your strengths and weaknesses. For example, you might be:

  • Creative
  • Hard-working
  • Independent
  • Driven
  • A natural leader
  • Etc.

In terms of weaknesses, take an objective look at yourself. If you aren’t self-motivated, you need a job where you’re given direction and an incentive to perform. Maybe you require close management to be productive.

Additionally, prioritize your professional goals. If you’ve worked in an office all of your life, perhaps your primary goal is to find a more active career path. Conversely, if you have physical limitations and your current job is too physical, you might need to find something that allows you to sit all day or work from the comfort of your own home.

Look Into Your Career Options

Now, let’s talk about how to change careers and find the perfect job for your new path. There are endless types of jobs available to you. To find the best one, you need to answer a few questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What type of work would make you happy to show up every day?
  • What type of work will help you find meaning and fulfillment in what you do?

People who love working with and being around animals can look into becoming a veterinarian or working at a zoo. If you care about the well-being of animals on a large scale, perhaps you could look into working at an animal sanctuary.

Or maybe fitness is your thing? In this case, you could open a local gym, become a personal trainer, open a wellness clinic, etc.

Seek the Proper Certifications

Once you have a pretty good idea about the types of jobs you want to pursue, you can start filling in the details. What certifications, licenses, or degrees do you need to begin a career in this industry?

Finding a new job in your chosen career path will be much easier if you are properly qualified. You should also look into additional courses that might not be mandatory, but will improve your creditability.

For example, if you’re looking for management positions, it might prove beneficial to complete a SAFe Scrum Master course. If you want to be hired as a personal trainer, you can look into wellness coaching certifications and nutrition certifications.

Update Your Resume

Once you have the certifications you need to be a competitive applicant in your chosen industry, you can update your resume to reflect your new qualifications. Remember to keep your resume relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Yes, it’s important to list your recent job titles and places of employment. However, the company with whom you are applying probably doesn’t need to know about the fast-food job you had when you were in high school.

Be Flexible, Explore Options

Finally, when learning how to change careers, you must be patient. You might not get hired at the first, second, or third place you apply. You probably won’t land your dream job right away.

It might take time to gain experience and become a more credible applicant. During this time, you might need to accept a relevant, but less ideal job. And that’s okay.

Furthermore, we suggest applying for several jobs, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. Apply for your most desired job first, but give yourself some backup options.

Do You Know How to Change Careers?

Now that you know the basics of how to change careers, are you ready to start taking the necessary steps to make it happen? We know change can be scary, but you must allow space in your life to allow new opportunities.

We wish you the best of luck on your new career path and hope you find the best careers for your professional goals. And if you want more advice or guidance, don’t go anywhere. Take a minute to look through some of our other blog articles to find more information to help you succeed.