There are many reasons in a person’s life that they will undergo a career change. Some change careers because they need a new challenge, while others change career direction because the job outlook for their current career has become inadequate. While career changes may sound a little intimidating to go through, they are actually quite normal. Here are ten of our top tips for a successful career change.
1) Leverage your Network
One of the best places to start is to find out as much as possible about careers you are interested in. Reach out to contacts in your network to chat about topics such as the job market, their responsibilities, and hard and soft skills that are important in their career. If you don’t have anyone in your network to ask for career change advice, consider developing a wider network through activities such as volunteering with community organizations where you’ll meet a lot of different people.
2) Consider Job Shadowing
While it may be difficult to break into some industries, a great way to get some name recognition and experience is through job shadowing or volunteering. This helps you learn some of the roles and responsibilities while also making contacts that could serve as references or inform you about open jobs. This is an excellent way to gain experience and build your network.
3) Make a List of Your Passions
One of the greatest ways to achieve success in a career search is to seek jobs that you are passionate about. Think about not only your skills and talents but also the things that you value. There may be a way to incorporate some of your passions in a new career. Review the list and think about potential industries or jobs that would allow you to work in areas you’re passionate about.
4) Find a Mentor
One of the most useful things when seeking a new career is finding a good mentor. This is something you may find from someone you already know or when doing job shadowing. A mentor can help provide important advice about your job search and things to know about how to get started in new careers.
5) Sign Up for the Second Career Program
The Second Career program is an Ontario government initiative that offers skills training and financial support for eligible laid-off workers, helping them find employment in high-demand occupations in Ontario. If you have been laid-off in Ontario, you may qualify for up to $28,000.00 for costs including tuition, books, living expenses, child care, travel, transportation, disability supports, and basic living allowance (during skill training). At Achēv, we provide eligible individuals with free, one-on-one assistance in applying for the Second Career Program.
6) Develop Your Pitch
You’ve likely heard of the term “elevator pitch.” While you probably will rarely give these in an actual elevator, it is a great networking tool to introduce yourself in a short amount of time to someone new. You’ll want to be able to briefly highlight who you are, your skills, and why you are the best person for your new career. Practice this in front of a mirror to increase your confidence. Brevity is key, as a good elevator pitch should be about 30 seconds.
7) Highlight Transferable Skills
When you market yourself for a new field, you may find that you do not have many experiences that directly relate to your ideal new role. However, an important part of your job search is being able to illustrate transferable skills. Many jobs focus on skills such as communication, problem-solving, leadership, project management, and other key skills that are applicable in many different industries. Thus, think about the jobs you’ve done and how the skills you displayed could benefit your new career.
8) Know How to Explain the Switch
When changing careers, one question you are sure to encounter in the job search is why you want to change careers. Make this a positive moment for you by highlighting what draws you to the new industry, new challenges that you want to take on, and new opportunities for growth. This is a great way to answer the question while elaborating on your skills and abilities.
9) Leverage Job Boards
One excellent way to see options available near you is to peruse your local job boards. There are many job boards; however, one excellent option is this job board for the Greater Toronto Area. Checking job boards can help you find openings in your future career, allowing you to quickly apply in hopes of landing an interview.
Changing careers may seem like a huge step, but it does not have to be a difficult one and can really be very rewarding. However, practicing some of these tips will help you excel at your job search and find your new career quicker!