Needing a change in scenery is normal. Wanting to move is just a part of life. Something that is also a natural is wanting to change careers, yet it is one of the changes that we resist most. The why is obvious; it takes a lot of effort to work your way up and through a career, and changing it takes effort, retraining, and courage.
When you aren’t happy or satisfied with how your career is going, however, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to make moves to change it.
There are a few ways if you are ready for career shift. The easiest way is to continue the same role but to work in a different industry. In this case, you will already have all the skills you need. So instead of needing to retrain on top of it all, you need to immerse yourself in that new field and build your network.
This can be done by attending events, workshops, and talks that relate to your new field. You’ll meet people who are already invested in that field and who could open some new doors. At the very least, you’ll speak confidently about the field you want to get started in during interviews.
The second method is far harder. If you want to change careers and need to retrain to do that, you need to first be absolutely positive it is right for you, and then you need to explore how you can retrain. Though it can feel like you are starting from scratch, that isn’t actually the truth. Again, professional experience and working references will play a huge part, especially when combining that experience with a new degree or license.
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How to Know It’s Time for a Career Shift
There are a few key ways to know that it is time for a big career change. One of the first key hints that you need to get started with something else is that you do not enjoy day-to-day work. This could be because you aren’t using your skills, you don’t find meaning in your work, or your values align with what you are doing.
Another key hint that it is time to change careers is that you don’t feel energized or excited about any part of the job (including the people you work with).
The final hint is that you feel, or you know, that your growth has plateaued.
Most of these, of course, are also indicative that it is time to change employers. Sometimes a new change of scenery and a new, better working environment are what you need to love what you do again. In other instances, they are signs that you need to change the track of your career entirely.
A good way to know the difference is by asking yourself this question: Am I excited about where my future will take me?
There are a few key, obvious paths forward for your career, and if you aren’t interested in any of them, then it is time to make a big career change.
How to Find The Right Shift for You
Knowing you want to leave is very different from knowing what new career you want to invest yourself in. Though putting too much pressure on yourself too soon is also a bad idea, you will want to be reasonably sure that you will enjoy your new career when you start retraining.
That is why you need to do two things before you commit to retraining: learn, and volunteer.
Explore and Learn
There are many careers and roles out there that you simply have no idea exist, yet one of those more obscure roles could just be what you want to do. You won’t know until you start to explore and learn.
A good way to do this is to invest in your passions and hobbies. If you are interested in any subject, read books, take free online courses, listen to podcasts, and so on.
Another way to find the right shift for you is to volunteer. A lot of people want to feel like they are contributing or working towards a better world. If you feel like that has been missing from your career, then volunteering can help you give back, but more importantly, get you involved in a cause that you care about.
If you want to pursue more of a career in that cause, then these volunteer hours will also do wonders towards helping you make that career shift. It will give you a chance to speak to the people who are in those roles and learn what it the job is like before you take on such a commitment yourself.
How to Retrain
Retraining is one of the biggest blockades when it comes to changing careers. You can technically just start applying to your role in a different field if that is the type of career change you are after. When you need to retrain, you need to invest. You need to invest your time, energy, and even your own money, which is why it’s good to know the many opportunities to retrain available to you:
Online courses, both free and paid, allow you to learn and develop your understanding in new fields. You finish, graduate, and even gain a certificate for completing the course in question. This option is great both for those who need to retrain and those looking to work in new fields.
Online courses are available for almost anything and should definitely be taken if you want to learn, and prove you can use a digital tool.
In some instances, the only option you have to retrain is to earn a degree. The instances where it is non-negotiable are where you will need a license to work, need a qualifying degree, and take a test. Many non-academics, for example, shift their careers into counseling, but counseling requires licensure. This career shift, then, requires the right character, dedication, and degree before you take the exam.
The good news is that it can actually be easier to find work after you graduate in these instances. These types of programs offer as much as a 100% graduate placement rate within six months, often because the degree includes practicum hours and internship hours to graduate.
In short, you’ll have the knowledge, and the experience, to get started with your new career when you retrain like this.
There are workshops as well that are great if what you need to learn is hands-on. Workshops can teach you any number of things, particularly in the arts. If you are interested in pursuing your creative side, they can be an excellent place to learn new techniques so that one day you may even be able to turn them into a thriving career.
Internships are a tricky one because they are typically unpaid and what you can learn from them varies drastically from employer to employer. What they are good for, however, is networking. Many internships become jobs later on, which is why they are something that you should look into.
Traineeships or apprenticeships are often paid and will have you shadowing and learning directly from someone in the field. They are often primarily offered to those working in the trades, but they are an excellent, lucrative career to get involved in. You will be giving back, building, and helping society thrive. You will also often get paid well for what you do and enjoy varied days.
Grow Your Network While You Retrain
While you are retraining, it is important to grow your network. For example, in some instances, if you are pursuing a degree that includes work placements, networking will be built right into your training. However, in other instances, you will need to network for yourself.
Networking can be done both online and in person. Being helpful, getting your name out there, and just making friends online who are passionate about the same things as you will go a long way.
Don’t underestimate the power of being social online, either. You don’t need to attend networking events or go to every event or talk in your area to meet people. Instead, you can learn and teach people online and grow your network and reputation right at home.
Grow Your Reputation While You Retrain
Being active online isn’t just for those that actively engage with you; it is also to grow an audience. When you want to change careers, showing your passion, your interest, and an active following is often more than enough to help you stand out from competitors.
You learn a lot of skills by writing, guest-posting, managing a following, and generally showcasing your expertise online. By being active online, you can be paid for your efforts and open a whole new world of possibilities for yourself. Bring people along with you on your journey, and you’ll be thrilled with where your life may lead.