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How to Make a Career Change

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It is NEVER too late for a career change! Sure, you might not have direct experience in a certain industry or job, but you need to prove to any hiring manager that your existing skills are, in fact, transferable skills.

If you’re debating about making a career change, don’t be afraid. Even if a career switch later in life seems like a completely radical change with many possible consequences attached to it, you should still go for it if it’s something you really want to do. My best advice is to set up a plan before making the dive. A large-scale transition will not happen overnight, and this is why it’s important to ensure you have a “plan of attack.”

Also, make sure your career change is realistic. Although I encourage everyone to follow their dreams, you also need to stay realistic. If your dream is to become a pilot, but you’ve worked in banking for the last 15 years, the chances of you becoming a pilot are a lot harder (but not impossible)! Also remember to be flexible. You are making a career change that could involve a lower salary or relocation. These are some of the sacrifices you could be asked to make in the short term.

When you begin applying for new roles, you need to ensure your resume is targeted toward this new job. Obviously you are not going to have direct experience, so it’s important to highlight not only your current skills and achievements, but also (and most importantly), that you are able to adapt your skills for this new job.

In making the career change, your skills are by far your best selling point. Many skills that you use on a day to day basis (such as leading, managing, liaising and communicating, for example) are all transferable skills that you can use to prove to a hiring manager that you are right for a particular job.

5 point plan to making a career change:

1) Make sure of your reasons for wanting a career change. One bad day at work or hating your boss do not suggest you want to change careers

2) Brainstorming – sit down and brainstorm ideas of the type of industry/job you really want to do

3) Planning – Set out a plan to follow. Make it realistic. Remember your career change won’t happen overnight. Realistically, it can take about 6-12 months. Don’t quit your job on day 1. Included in planning is financial planning. How much is this career change going to cost you? How much do you plan to get paid? You need to know these answers!

4) Networking – Talk to friends, speak to recruitment agents and sign up to online networking sites

5) Executing your plan. Speak to an expert in regards to interviewing, resume writing and cover letter writing. Apply directly, and begin to follow the steps of your plan.

Career Tips for College Students

Top 4 Career Tips for College Students:

If you do only 4 things for your career while in college, listen to these words of advice. These are easy, simple things you can do in college that can help you make an easier transition from student to job seeker when the time comes.

Get to know one professor well:

You can gain a great deal of real world advice from your professors. Many colleges and universities encourage professors to make time to meet with students outside of class, take advantage. Professors can lead you to resources and opportunities in the field, not to mention they sometimes take on research assistants over the summer or during the school term. It’s also helpful if a professor knows you well to provide recommendations and references in the future.

Find an internship:

Internships are a great way to boost your resume while you’re still in college. Internships also provide a great opportunity for you to determine the type of companies and positions you want to work for in the future. For many students, internships can provide some of the only directly related work experience to a field of interest and give you an edge once you graduate and apply for jobs with your internship resume.

Take on at least one campus activity:

Find a club, professional association or volunteer opportunity on campus or nearby that you can consistently be involved in during your time in college. Many colleges host events at the beginning of the school year to provide information on clubs and activities for students to get involved in on campus. Find something that interests you or relates to your field of study and get involved. You could join the Marketing Club or Debate Team on campus, help build houses on the weekends or tutor students at a local elementary school or community organization. Getting involved in an activity can help you gain experience while you’re still in school and demonstrate commitment and reliability to something outside of your regular courses.

Visit your career services office:

Besides providing numerous resources to assist you with career development, internships and job searching, the career services office can help you explore your interests and your options post-graduation. College is a great place to explore different interests and be exposed to new ideas, subjects and activities. The career services office is a great place to help you explore fields of study as well as possible career areas that are right for you. At the very least, visit your career services office and see what they offer.

Positive Body Language Can Help Your Career

You might have been a good student back in college, but your boss might think differently about you today. Your work ethic is good – you’re consistent and creative, but your boss doesn’t share the same sentiments… and this might all be because of your body language. Body language is very integral in building or destroying your career.

If you are currently completing an internship or you have a new job, employers tend to look for small details when evaluating the effectiveness of your performance, and this includes body language.

Your body language forms an impression to your employers. A smile or frown translates to an opinion. The employer asks themselves if you are likeable or if you can be trusted. What the employer believes about you could be used as a yard stick to gauge your reputation. Body language can be used to determine if you are hard working, result oriented, slack, or lazy. If you are always fidgeting, yawning or staring at the widow when you are conversing with your boss, then this gives an impression that you are always distracted and you cannot concentrate for long periods.

You can effortlessly prevent these career hazards by simply putting positive body language to use. This will remove any doubt from your employer and if he or she is to judge you, let it at least not be through body language because in most cases it is not always a true reflection of your personality. You should always be enthusiastic and positive, which creates the feeling that you are charismatic. This demonstrates to the employers that you are hard working and reliable, and this gives them a good impression about you. The key body language practices that you should put into consideration are simple to implement and most importantly will create the professional impression to help you succeed in your job.

Don’t forget to smile!

A smile is always welcoming, and it shows people your warmth and that you are friendly. Even if your boss frowns at you, you just smile back. Portray a professional image that you approachable and welcoming

Remember the importance of eye contact

Making eye contact gives the impression that you are concentrating on what you are being told and you are more likely to execute the instructions with acute precision. Poor eye contact demonstrates a lack of confidence, immaturity and can be considered a demonstration of low self-esteem.

Listen and be interested

Finally, you should have a genuine interest on what you are being told. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to help improve your knowledge and understanding.

Avoid the career pitfall associated with negative body language. Negativity can easily be spotted around the office and will be remembered by management when the time comes for salary increases, promotions and recognition.

The Process of Career Management

Career management refers to the planning, supervising, controlling, handling, coping and administrating one’s professional life. It comprehensively covers a detailed view of what you want to be, where you want to go, how you will get there and ultimately how long you intend to stay.

All the answers are directly related to one’s personal goals and targets. Being able to handle changes in your career will best enable you to avoid mistakes of the past, prepare a confident approach to the present and a implement a positive direction for the future. Overall, managing your career will help maintain and develop your professional growth, development and direction.

When should I begin to manage my career?

Successful career management can start as early as the first day you walk into school or college. One should clearly identify their goals before enrolling in a particular degree or course and preparing for a lifelong career. (This saves a lot of money and time later on down the track!)

Be specific with what are you good at and what you enjoy doing; most importantly what you can see yourself doing every day going forward. Being able to answer these questions will help you in understanding yourself better and what areas you are most likely to succeed.

If you find that you have made a mistake don’t panic. Exhaust your options, understand the value added skills that you have and how best you can utilize these existing skills.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask yourself if you are capable of performing the task or if you see yourself progressing in a certain area. If the answer is yes, then begin your quest to achieving your targets. Never forget to network and seek out as many people and opinions as possible. You just never know where the next door will open.

How long does career management last for?

Career management is a lifelong exercise. Balancing your work and social life is a juggling act. It is not just confined to one period in your life or a particular profession. In life many things change so don’t be afraid to change with the times. It is all about adaptability and learning.

The ability to learn from every setback will make you smarter in making your next career move. The employment market may seem crowded and not promising, but being open to change will help you survive during those dark months. The changing times are not moments of despair, but rather moments of opportunity.

Advice for Making A Career Change

If you wake up in the morning dreading going to work every day, feel like your job is sucking the life out of you or feel the work you do is not worth the pay you’re getting, it may be time to consider a career change. Although you may want to quit your current job immediately in search of a more fulfilling or higher paid field, the process takes time and should be considered carefully. Follow these helpful tips when considering a career change.

Take your time:

Changing careers generally doesn’t happen overnight. There is a lot of preparation needed before you up and quit your current job and expect to find another one in a completely different industry. Once you make the decision that you’d like to change careers, be patient and take the time to make contacts, do your research and get the basic qualifications you’ll need in order to make the switch.

Do your research:

Unfortunately if you’re a nurse and wake up one day and decide your true calling is to be a lawyer, you won’t get anywhere without first doing some research to figure out what you actually need to pursue that profession. Before you make any definite decisions, conduct extensive research on the field you’re interested in. Talk to any contacts you know in the field or contact professionals in the industry to get more information, review industry websites, related news and learn about the qualifications needed for entry level positions as well as the industry outlook.

Be willing to make some sacrifices:

Unfortunately when you switch careers, you’ll usually have to make sacrifices in order to do it. You’ll need to start closer to the bottom again and work your way up. This may mean taking a cut in pay, losing seniority privileges or having fewer benefits. You may also need to consider volunteering for a few hours each week in the field that interests you to make sure that you actually know what you’re getting into, gain some relevant experience and make sure that this is the right path for you.

Have a plan:

When you decide to make a career change it’s important to have a solid plan in place. Depending on what career you’re changing to, you may need to go back to school for further education, enroll in a training program or gain basic experience through part time or voluntary work. You’ll also need to start networking with other industry professionals in order to gain valuable insights and increase your chances of successfully making the transition.


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