Contributed by Mitali Shukla
Mitali Shukla is a junior content marketing specialist at Siege Media. A graduate of Chapman University, Mitali currently lives in Southern California where she writes about startups, entrepreneurship and small business. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, perfecting her skincare routine and cooking delicious breakfast food.
It’s natural to want a career change so you can try something new after a few years in a professional role. However, it can be tricky to decide what direction you want to take your career.
Despite the potential excitement that you may feel about taking a big leap, it isn’t always a smooth transition from one career to the next. You might feel hesitant to leave the job you’re accustomed to and unsure of what lies ahead.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to make this process easier and less stressful. Start by asking yourself:
- Why am I looking for a career switch?
- Are there aspects of my current job that I dislike?
- Am I looking for a more fulfilling career?
Once you narrow your motivations for a career switch, you will be able to pinpoint what job will provide the most happiness and success for your personal and professional life.
1. Analyze Your Current Position
Whether you enjoy your job and are simply looking for something new, or you don’t like your current job at all, consider how you feel in your position. This will help you decipher where to take your next step.
It can be valuable to have experiences that challenge you and that show you what career path you will not explore next. Create a list of pros and cons to define what you are looking for in your next role. For example, if you are looking for a hybrid work from home model, add this attribute to your list so you can keep it in mind as you evaluate job opportunities.
2. Consider Your Skills
When it comes to interviewing and starting a new position, your job skills often help determine your success in a given role. While employee training may help you to overcome obstacles and meet deadlines, you want to make sure that your skillset is used in your position.
You may be more inclined to succeed in one position than another due to your skills. One tip to discover what skills you may be able to contribute to a role is to do some research for job roles that exercise similar strengths to your own.
3. Think of Various Career Paths
When considering a new field to enter, brainstorming is a great tool. Maybe you have always been curious about the music industry but never had the opportunity to work in that field. Perhaps you want to put your financial degree to the test at an accounting firm. Maybe you’d like to switch from a startup to a corporate job, or vice versa.
Brainstorming will help you discover what you are really interested in!
Make a career map for different industries like IT or project management. Depending on the fields that interest you, make sure your skills, experiences, and talents align with these areas.
4. Look Into Job Opportunities
From here, you can look into company reviews, employee satisfaction surveys, and the reputations of companies that are hiring. Make sure your values, skills, and intersecting interests match up with any given company and role.
5. Plan to Apply
Once you find a role that fits your job preferences, having a visual representation of where you want to go in your career will help you gather your thoughts. Create an actionable plan for how you are going to take steps in your new career.
It is important to take this step before applying to a position. You may receive interview notifications and communication from the company soon after applying. Having your plan already outlined will help you provide effective answers to interview questions and write compelling follow-up emails.
6. Look Over Your Resume
Update your resume to highlight information that will be important to the companies where you’re applying. Include details that will highlight your technical skills as well as soft skills like creativity. You can also add your college GPAs and any relevant certifications and awards.
7. Prepare Your Exit Strategy
When leaving one job to begin another, you’ll want to notify your employer two weeks in advance of your last day of work. Writing a professional resignation letter will allow you to keep a good relationship with your manager and colleagues.
Before sending your letter, make sure that your decision is final and that you have your next job lined up. If you have been an asset to your current employer, they may want to give you a counteroffer to stay at the company. Make sure you are prepared for this situation and keep an open mind.