Changing careers can be scary and difficult. In some ways, you may feel like you are throwing away all the hard work you have invested in your previous career path. Maybe you have worked in that field for years and have now reached a level of significant achievement and expertise. Do you really want to throw that away and start something new?
Before making any big changes, take the time to reflect on what it is about your current work that you like and don’t like. Sometimes it isn’t the field that you are unhappy with…sometimes it is the work environment. Would you feel differently if you were working with a different employer?
Remember that changing careers can indeed mean starting over. You may need to begin at an entry-level position, which could have an impact on your financial situation. Make sure that you have thought through all the implications of your decision before you quit your job.
If you still feel as though you want to try something new, here are some ways you can get started:
Join Online Networking Groups
Look for groups related to your field of interest. There are groups for every possible interest online. Join a few groups and participate in discussions. Ask questions, listen and grow. Build relationships with people that share your interests. You never know if a connection you make online will help you get your foot in the door.
Identify Your Strengths
Remember that we all have hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those skills that are specifically related to a certain type of work.
You may think that if you are an accountant, you don’t have the skills to be a computer programmer, but not so fast. Being able to balance a budget or write code are hard skills related to those specific roles, but there are soft skills that tie those jobs together.
If you are an accountant, you have learned how to pay attention to small details, to troubleshoot problems when the numbers don’t come out right, and to figure out solutions. Computer programmers also need these skills to succeed.
If you are interested in a new field, look for the skills you already have that will help you succeed in any line of work.
Get Out There
It can be challenging to land a job in a new field. You are going to have to work harder to show that you have the necessary skills. Without prior experience in the field, you may struggle to get even an entry-level position.
Networking can help. Look for organizations, conferences or talks that are related to the field. Get out there and meet some people. Make connections with people who can help you get started.
It may be tough to change careers, but it can definitely be done. If you are willing to accept a potential decrease in pay and have the determination to start over, you can use the tips here to chart a path to success.