- Assess your current career satisfaction. We highly recommend keeping a daily journal of your thoughts, feelings and reactions to different situations and themes occuring during the day at your current job. Are there things about your job that just really hate? Are there some things about your current job that you enjoy? If you’re dissatified with your job where does the dissatisfaction stem from? Are dissatisfied with your boss, company culture or specific people that you work with? Review your journal entries to determine if there are things that you could do to improve your satisfaction with your current career before making a career change? If you determine that a career change is in order you can then use your assessment of your previous career to determine a future career path.
- Assess your interests, values and skills. When considering a career change it is important to assess your skills, values and interests. Making a career change without knowing what you’re good at, what is really important to you and what motivates you could be a recipe for disaster. The last thing you want to do is go from one unsatisfying situation to another. You should determine whether your core values and skills are addressed in your current career and whether or not they’ll be addresses in your new career.
- Come up with alternatives. By discussing your values, skills and interests with friends, family, professsional associates and career counselors, brainstorm ideas for career alternatives. Getting insight from others will help you consider all the alternatives, the associated risks and rewards. You may also consider visiting the library or use online resoures to explore career alternatives.
- Explore a variety of career opportunities. Explore, compare and evaluate several fields in order to identify a few career opportunities that merit more indepth research. Identifying career fields that are a match with your interests, values and skills will help you to make a successful and smooth career change. To explore different career opportunities visit the career exploration section of this site.
- Learn as much as you can about each career you’re considering. While reading is a first step to learning about different career fields you need to reach out to contacts in those arenas and conduct personal interviews. Talking with career professionals will provide you insight that can be acheived through reading. By meeting with individuals in each career field you’re considering you’ll get a much better feel for whether or not a specific career will meet your requirements and what will be required to be successful in that career.
- Shadow professionals in career fields of interest. We highly recommend spending a few hours to a few days working with career professionals who have jobs that interest you. By participating directly in the career field where you hope to set up camp you’ll be able to determine if a specific career is what you’re looking for or if you need to keep looking. One of the best ways to locate professionals who are willing ot host “job shadowers” is to check is your local college career office. They typically will have a list of alumni volunteers you can contact.
- Find volunteer and/or freelance activities related to your target career field. For example, if you’re considering a career in veterinary science volunteer for a few days at a veterinarians office. Volunteering or freelancing in the career industry you’re considering will help you determine if the a career change is merited.
- Investigate job training and education opportunities. Frequently, a career change will require you to develop new skills and knowledge. Making sure you are qualified for a specific career will help you hit the ground running and avoid a large learning curve (which could prove very costly). When investigating educational opportunities you may also consider contacting professional groups and associations in your target field for recommendations.
- Explore way to develop new skills in your current job. Developing new skills in your current job will help prepare you for a change. Sign up for any training or educational programs offered by your current employer. Participate in new job activities that would help you develop skills valued in your new field. Look for any opportunities that will make you more attractive candidate to your new employer.
- Consider other opportunities within your current industry. For example, if you are a construction laborer and you’re tired of operating a tractor take a look at the possibility of becoming a project manager. If you’re working as dog groomer but feel you’re in a dead end job consider other career opportunities that would allow you to work with animals but that would provide you with greater career opportunities. If you’re a technician who doesn’t want to repair computers any longer, consider a technical sales job in the same industry. The reality is that most individuals who are considering a career change simply want to have more satisfying career experience. More often than not this can be achieved by looking for new career opportunities in your current industry.