When’s the Right Time for a Career Change?
So, you had a job. You liked it; you did well. You got another job in the same field. Then another. All of a sudden you realize you have a career, but something just doesn’t feel right. Don’t worry, it happens to lots of people. In fact, today’s young adults change jobs over seven times in the early part of their careers. This happens for lots of reasons and it reflects a willingness to keep looking for a career that meets their personal, professional, and financial needs. Let’s talk about what might be missing for you, and explore some signs that you may be ready for a new career.
Where’s the Passion?
Be honest – most of the time you’re just plain bored at work. You feel like you’ve encountered every possible challenge at this job and there’s not much more to learn. While it can be great to know exactly what to do, it’s not very exciting. Which brings up the next problem…
Where’s the Opportunity?
Ever since you mastered the day-to-day tasks of your position, you’ve been looking for new responsibilities. You keep working for that promotion, but nothing is really happening. If there’s no way to move up in your position and growth in the company is limited, the next question is…
Where’s the Money?
A viable path to more senior positions is the best way to ensure that your paycheck will keep up with your skills, experience, and value to your company. Have other people in your position been promoted? Can you see yourself as the boss in ten years? If you’re asking yourself these questions a lot, it might be time to explore what other careers are out there.
Evaluate the Job Market
With the US in its sixth year of employment growth, now might be the right time to look at the opportunities available to you. A strong job market means that employers are more willing to hire and more people are willing to change careers to try to find a better fit. In this economy, new kinds of employment and types of careers are popping up all the time, particularly in the healthcare, technology, and energy sectors. Take a look at some of the jobs available in your area and see what looks interesting to you.
I Found Something I Like, Now What?
First, you have to assess your strengths and passions. The best part about a career change is that you get to apply all the knowledge and experience you already have to a new job or a new field. Let’s take inventory of what you can bring to your new career – your transferrable skills.
- What are you great at in your current job? For example, working with customers, solving problems, helping new coworkers, organizing inventory, or even fixing the printer.
- What do you love to do in your free time?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
Next, talk to your friends and family. You can think of these conversations as informational interviews about other possible professions.
- What do people like best about their jobs? And what do they hate?
- What kind of training do they have? Did they get a degree or certificate? Did they do internships?
- What advice would they give someone who is just starting out in their field?
- Who else do they think you should talk to?
Now that you have some better ideas about other career options and what you’ll need to pursue those careers, it’s time to make a plan. For those career paths that look best to you, find out:
- What degrees, certificates, or formal training will you need? Keep in mind that different types of career paths in the same profession can require different kinds of training.
- What kind of experience will you need? Will you need to complete an internship before entering your new field or does your previous employment meet the requirements?
- How do professionals in this field advance to higher-paying positions?
Even though you feel a little stuck right now, with some research, planning, and training, you can be well on your way to a career that makes more sense for you. Just remember, you’re not alone! While you’re working towards your new profession, be sure to check in with UEI’s Career Services Department for guidance along the way.