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Switching Career Fields

Switching Careers

Career field switches happen to many people for several different reasons.  Most of the time, it comes from some form of dissatisfaction in the current state.  Perhaps you have lost passion for your career field and want to try something new and more exciting.  Or maybe, you’ve had a shift in lifestyle and demand a career that is more financially rewarding.  Or it could also be the opposite, you start a family and want to take a more flexible position so you can spend more time on your family.  Whatever the reason may be, switching career fields is tough.  Here are some tips and tricks to help the transition process.

Be Practical

Here at find.jobs, we’re all about people pushing themselves and finding their dream jobs.  However, a certain level of practicality must be considered.  Chances are, you won’t be able to become a professional basketball player at the age of 45 and after a long career in IT.  However, it is still important to have big dreams to determine where your passions truly are.  If you are infatuated by professional sports, maybe you can find a role without becoming a player.  You could train towards becoming a trainer or physical therapist, or even work in the media sides of things.  This way, you can be in the field you are most passionate about, working in a position that is better-suited for you

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Expand your skill set

Making a drastic change in career fields might require entirely new skills.  You must assess the situation you are in and determine whether there are any skills you need to develop.  This might mean going back to school, or getting new certifications certifications.  For many, going back to school and making the time and monetary investment is daunting, so it is important to look for alternatives.  A great example of this is in the software development space.  Computer science is becoming one of the most popular fields of studies at undergraduate schools across America.  However, this is a long and expensive commitment for someone to make in later stages of their professional careers.  A great alternative to going back to school, in this situation, would be attending a coding bootcamp.  These bootcamps are much quicker than getting an entirely new degree at a university, and much less expensive.

Build a portfolio

If you do not possess experience in the new career field you are switching to, you will need to somehow prove that you are skilled and can perform well. Switching careers generally comes with the requirement of a new bank of skills.  Putting together a portfolio is a great way to do this.  However, portfolios are more relevant in some fields than others, so it might take some creativity.  If you’re looking to switch into a career in graphic design, you could put together an incredible portfolio of mockups and designs you’ve done in your free time.  For other fields, it might be more difficult to showcase your talent, but it is still possible.

Do what you can to get some experience when switching careers

Do you know anyone in the field?  If so, try seeing if you can shadow them or interview them to get a taste of what the field is like.  If not, maybe you can meet some people who are.  LinkedIn is a great resource for finding professionals in all fields.  Use the search feature and enter your keywords to find professionals in your local area.  Send them a message explaining your situation and mention you’d appreciate talking to them.  If you don’t have any luck on LinkedIn, perhaps there are local events and meetups you can attend.  Using apps like Meetup can really help you meet professionals in your area in different fields.  Get out there and meet people!

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switching careers

You might have to lower your expectations

Oftentimes, it is difficult to jump right into your ideal position in your ideal industry.  When switching career fields, you may have to settle for a more entry-level position and work your way up.  You should keep an eye out for internship opportunities as well as contract work opportunities.  These are more temporary and less than ideal, but they should be easier to obtain compared to a senior level full time role in a new field.

Conclusion

Switching careers and career fields completely can be very difficult.  This process can be greatly facilitated by networking and doing everything you can to get an advantage.  Knowing people in your ideal field will give you priceless insight into that field and might open new doors.  The strategy of looking for people as opposed to looking for jobs will make it easier to find new opportunities.

 

As you decide whether switching careers and career fields is for you, look for new opportunities by visiting our search (we put a button below) and also read out tips on how to find a job in a different city.