How To Change Careers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 17 September 2022

Published 29 June 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you are currently considering changing careers, you are not alone. Millions of workers are looking to change their occupation every year. There are several steps you can take to determine when and how to make a successful career change.

A career change would usually involve researching new career paths, assessing your current skills, and finding opportunities that fit well with your lifestyle. In this article, we would outline several steps when planning how to change careers.

Related: Why Consider A Career Change To Recruitment? (With Tips)

How To Change Careers?

As you consider how to change careers, it can be helpful to reflect on things you have liked and disliked about your previous positions. Start by creating two lists: One for what you do not like about your current career and another for what you want in a new position.

It is also helpful to organise the items in both lists by how important they are to your career goals.

For example, your two lists might look like this:

Current career

  • Long hours and low pay

  • Little opportunity for advancement

  • No support for additional training

  • Few openings in other locations

  • No travel

New career

  • Schedule flexibility

  • High pay good benefits

  • Opportunity to advance career

  • Emerging or growing job market

  • Opportunity for travel

As you are making your lists, try to include only items that are true of your position or career in general, not those that might be specific to your current employer. Additionally, keep in mind which qualities on your “new career” list are most important both for your lifestyle and long-term goals. While you might not be able to get every item on your list, you would find several opportunities that can provide your most important non-negotiables.

Related: How To Change Careers At 30 Years Old In 7 Simple Steps

Assess Your Experience And Skills

Now that you have a good idea of why you want to leave your current career and what you are looking for in a new one, consider which skills and training you currently possess that make you a strong candidate. While your new career might not exactly align with the experience you have, you likely have several relevant, transferable skills valuable to employers. You may even have acquired new skills in your current career that are in-demand in another field.

To organise your thoughts, create another list of both your hard and soft skills. Hard skills are often acquired through training and practice, such as knowledge of specific software or speaking a foreign language. Soft skills typically involve your personality and interpersonal skills and include things such as creativity, ability to work as part of a team and timeliness.

Here is what a list of your hard and soft skills might look like if you are looking to transfer from a customer service career:

Soft skills

  • Punctual

  • Effective problem-solver

  • Adapt well to new processes

  • Communicate well with clients

Hard skills

  • Significant product knowledge

  • Knowledge of Python and HTML

  • Advanced WordPress skills

  • Excellent writing and grammar skills

For ideas, sometimes it can be helpful to think about specific accomplishments in your career or personal life and what qualities and/or skills helped you achieve them. Remember to be honest when listing your skills.

You may also want to list any technology platforms you have used in your current career such as CRMs or workflow and customer support ticket applications. Even if the next field you pursue uses different technology, there may be similarities in how or why it is used.

If you do not feel comfortable performing a certain skill in the workplace, consider leaving it out until you have had more practice with it.

Related: 10 Benefits Of Pursuing An MBA For A Career Change

Research New Careers

Now that you know what you are looking for in a new career and the relevant hard and soft skills you currently possess, it is time to discover what career options are available to you.

Your career research goal consists of three parts:

  1. Careers that would not require any new knowledge or training (jobs where your current hard skills transfer immediately)

  2. Careers that may require a small amount of additional knowledge or training (jobs where some, but not all, of your current hard skills transfer immediately)

  3. Careers that may require a moderate or significant amount of new training (jobs where few, if any, of your current hard skills transfer)

For this step, have three separate sections for different career options, and write down which of your hard skills transfer to those careers, and which of your desired career goals are met.

Soft skills tend to be transferable to most career paths, so it is up to you how much those factor into your selection of a new career. Consider which soft skills you would like to use in your next career. The most important ones can become part of your selection criteria.

You can start your search using indeed.co.in. Not only can you search by type of job, but you can also search by specific keywords. This is a good method to find new career opportunities that align with your current hard skills.

For example, if you are knowledgeable in WordPress, enter “WordPress” in the search engine. From there, you would see a long list of openings ranging from WordPress Developer to Graphic Designer. You can refine your search by typing in multiple words. If you put those words in quotations marks, such as “WordPress” and “HTML,” you can further refine your search to only get results that have those exact sets of keywords.

Be creative and thorough in your career search. Remember that for now, you are not necessarily looking for a specific job but a career change. You would hopefully learn about what additional skills may be required for new careers you did not know existed or find careers that you qualify for immediately.

When done, your list of potential new careers may look something like this:

Developer

  • Higher pay

  • Potential to work remote

  • Opportunity to advance

  • Paid training

Technical Writer

  • Similar pay

  • Potential to work remote

  • Opportunity to write

  • May need more training

Software Analyst

  • Much higher pay

  • Marketable for future jobs

  • More training needed

  • Python skills advantageous

Once you have a list of careers you want to explore, reach out to friends and family that might currently work in those fields. Ask people in the field whether your current skills are easily transferred to that career, and what other skills you might want to acquire before sending out job applications.

Related: How To Find A Career Change Coach (With Essential Benefits)

Update Your Resume

After you have found a few potential career options, update your resume to reflect the relevant skills and experiences that make you a valuable employee in these positions.

It might be appropriate to develop more than one version of your resume, depending on the positions you would be applying for. For those careers which you believe you may already qualify, update your resume to emphasise the hard and soft skills important to those positions.

For example, you may have WordPress skills on your current resume in a secondary position. If you are applying for jobs as a WordPress Developer, you might consider including a personal website in the first section of your resume that highlights the extent of your skills and abilities in WordPress. You would also want to include more details about your WordPress training and skills in your skills section.

Repeat those steps to tailor your resume to each position. For clues, look to the job postings for relevant skills, experience and qualities the employer is looking for.

Related: How To Write A Resume Summary For A Career Change

Find Additional Training

If you are dedicated to applying for and getting hired in a career where your current skills do not exactly align, try to acquire as many requisite skills for that career as possible before sending out applications.

That may mean delaying your career change for several weeks or months but it may be worth it if you are able to spend time developing additional skills. In some cases, better pay, benefits and career satisfaction is worth the extra time preparing yourself.

Depending on the type of skills you require to acquire, you might consider:

  • Taking self-taught online courses

  • Taking online courses through a local college or university

  • Volunteering at organisations where you can acquire necessary skills

Regardless of which route you take to acquire those needed skills, make sure you update your resume to reflect your acquisition of skills the employer requires. While you do not require to have completely mastered a new set of skills, you would want to be confident in your new ability.

Related: How to Explain Reason for Job Change (With Examples)

Make A Transition Plan

It may be tempting to leave your current job with the hope that you might get a new, better one soon. But, you may want to avoid leaving your current career until you have a job offer in hand. There are no guarantees with any career change, even those within the same career.

After you have received a job offer, it is important to leave on good terms with your current employer. A nice and respectful resignation letter would help maintain a positive relationship with your employer even as you leave for another career.

Related:

  • Guide: How To Change Your Career To Be A Business Analyst

  • How To Make A Career Change To A Software Engineer Role

  • How To Make A Career Change To Marketing In 6 Steps

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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