Considering a Career Change? What You Should Know
November 9, 2021
A recent survey found that 52% of working-age adults in the U.S. are considering a career switch.
This is not entirely surprising, especially as America’s workforce deals with the effects of the pandemic. Dozens of the nation’s largest retailers have laid off thousands of workers in the past two years. At the same time, workers from all industries are quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates. In June 2021, there were more than 10 million job openings, the most ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you are interested in changing careers, you are not alone! Millions of people are pursuing a new career path. Here are some factors to consider as you decide whether or not to make this type of switch.
If you want to change careers, be sure you understand why, as this will help you know what you need out of your next job.
Why do people pursue a career change in the first place? Higher pay and greater flexibility are one of the most important factors when it comes to leaving one career to pursue another. Nothing else really needs to be said. If you want to make more money, and see that potential is there in a completely different field than the one you currently work in, you should go for it!
But some decide to switch careers even if it means taking a pay cut. One survey found that the number 1 reason people consider a career change is because they are unhappy with their current job and would take less to work in a job sector they enjoy.
Do you know why you want to switch careers?
It might help to make a list of what you dislike about your current job and what you hope for in a new job. For example, if you work long hours, you may want to find a job that provides for more flexibility. Or maybe you work a job with limited potential to grow into higher roles with more pay and you want to start a new career with a clearer path to promotions and raises. Creating a list is especially helpful if you don’t yet know what new career to pursue. You can narrow down your preferences and match that up with jobs that most closely match those preferences.
Assess your current skills, as these can help get your foot in the door faster.
Switching careers can be a lot easier if you consider the skills you already have, even if these skills were acquired on your own time and not in a professional setting. If you are an expert when it comes to working on cars, you may be able to translate those skills into a career as a mechanic. Or a metal worker. Or a welder. Or any similar job that requires work with tools and machines.
The point is, you may be able to leverage your current skills into a job. The bonus here is that your skills probably align with what you are passionate about! Switching to a new career that aligns with your skills and interests can make a career change easier and allow you to go to work doing what you enjoy.
Just keep in mind: if you don’t have previous professional experience, you will likely start your new career in an entry level position. This may mean taking a pay cut, at least initially, to do what you enjoy.
Some careers require newcomers to complete a certified training program before they are allowed to work in the field.
People that want to switch careers might consider going to school for the first time, or going back to school to earn a degree in a different field. Most people think college is the only way to earn that education—but it’s not! Other educational paths can be an option depending upon the career you wish to pursue.
Perhaps the most obvious of these paths is trade school. If you want to join the construction trades, you must first attend a trade school and pass any required exams before you can work in the field.
Careers outside of the construction trades also require training. These include emergency medical technician, certified nursing assistant, commercial truck driver, and cosmetologist.
Switching into a career with required training can actually set you up for long-term success. You will still start your new career as a beginner just like everyone else. However, you will already have the knowledge you need to do your job well on day 1. This can result in more promotions and more raises in a shorter period of time.
Millions of Americans are considering a career change. Making the switch to a completely new field can be a big challenge. Thinking about these factors can help:
- Ask yourself why you want to make a career change and determine what you are looking for in a new job.
- Assess your current skills and hobbies, as you may be able to translate them into a job and career you enjoy.
- Consider pursuing a career which requires a degree or certification. Your education may make it more possible for you to attain raises and promotions.
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