time for a career change? take these five steps to get it right

Millennials, the largest generation in workforce today, are known for their penchant for jumping at new opportunities in their quest for job fulfilment. According to a recent Linkedin survey, over the last 20 years, the number of companies college graduates work for in the first five years after completing their education has doubled. As their idea of a dream job changes frequently, today’s workforce isn’t shying away from making career changes – a dreaded preposition for their predecessors. But there’s a huge difference between effectively changing careers and merely switching jobs. A career switch, when done right, can reward you - financially and emotionally.

Here are five steps you can take to make a satisfying career switch:

1. Step back, analyze, and mentally prepare:

Like every other life change, a career move should start with self-reflection. What is it that you value most from a job, what are your non-negotiables, and what are the factors you can make peace with, even if they are not exactly up to your preference? It is best to take advice from a mentor to effectively analyze yourself and see what you are capable of achieving in the future. The results of the analysis may not always be to your liking, so be prepared to face the truth - for it’s the first and the most important step towards effective change.

2. Assess if your dream job is really that:

The adage ‘grass is greener on the other side’ holds particularly true for jobs. To avoid disappointment, talk to people who have your dream job. It’ll be like killing two birds with one stone. You’ll get a real perspective on whether that job is what you perceive it to be and you’ll get connected to people in that field of work who can prove to be invaluable resources while job hunting.

3. Identify your transferable skills and those that you need to acquire:

You don’t need to go back to school for every career switch. There are some core skills such as communication, collaboration, self-leadership, ability to work with data, and more that are transferable across industries. Even skills that you do need to acquire in order to make a career switch may not require you to go get back to full-time study. There are technical boot camps, part-time online courses, internships, and many other options that you can choose from - to build your skill set for the job you desire - without sacrificing tremendous amounts of time and money.

4. Try before you commit:

Talking to those that have the job you want and actually experiencing the job yourself are two very different things. For instance, let’s say you have spoken to scores of others in the same field to understand its prospects and pitfalls of your chosen career. Yet, nothing can prepare you for the unseen challenges and resourcefulness you will need to build - unless you see it first-hand. Look for ‘job-shadow’ options or in your field of interest that can offer you a first-hand feel of the job before you commit yourself to it fully.

5. Connect the dots and customize your approach:

When you get that coveted interview for your dream job, don’t forget to articulate clearly, and with examples, why you think you are a great fit for the new career. If you are not the perfect candidate in terms of ‘years of relevant work experience’, explain what differentiates you from others and what value you can generate for the company.

Making a successful career switch is all about staying committed to the process of getting it right and having loads of patience. Are you ready to reinvent your career goals?

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