Changing careers can be a tricky business, whether you’re a soon-to-be college graduate finding a job unrelated to your major, or if you’ve been in the same industry for an extended period of time. If you’ve found a new direction you’re passionate about, don’t let the idea of making the change deter you! Here are a few tips to complete the transition painlessly and find success in your new career.
Know Your Field
If you’re switching to a new career, you obviously have an interest in the field you’re wanting to pursue. An interest won’t get you far, though, if you aren’t passionate about it. Do some research. Find job descriptions, talk to professionals, read articles, and do whatever you can to get a solid, rounded understanding of what exactly you will be doing.
Once you are familiar with the realm of work, take your research one step further and learn as much as you can that will help you do your job. Chances are if you have an interest in it, you already have some knowledge that will be useful, but you typically won’t be hired based on a vague interest in the subject matter. Take the initiative to study up on anything you can get your hands on. Your resources are virtually endless. Grab a book, take a class, watch some videos, even shadow someone in your field for a day! If you have the means to support it, be willing to accept an internship. You’ll have the chance to gain hands on experience, and it looks great on a resume. Potential employers will appreciate your eagerness to learn and your thirst for knowledge, especially when you carry that into the workplace after getting hired.
Find a Job that Fits You
Not all employers are created equal. Just like people, businesses have personalities, too. Figure out what matters most to you in a company culture, and don’t settle for any less. You can do the exact same job at several places and have a totally unique experience at each one.
Are you looking for a generous work-life balance? Do you like the thought of sitting in a cubicle all day or would you prefer a startup culture? Do you need flexible hours? Do you want to consider your coworkers a second family? Really take the time to consider what is most important to you, because without it, you’ll find that it is much harder to be successful.
Ask Questions, but Not Too Many
Never be afraid to seek out the help you need to get ahead and accomplish your goals. No one can be expected to solve the world’s problems entirely single-handedly, so don’t act like you have to. When you hit a roadblock, find a way around it, even if that means going to a higher-up for help. Caring enough to set your pride aside and admit you don’t have all the answers shows others that you’re willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
There’s no such thing as a dumb question, right? Well, kind of. Before you go knocking on the boss’ door for every question you have, take the time to attempt to solve the problem on your own. Often you’ll find that a simple search or a little poking around will get you exactly the answers you need. When you start asking for help too often, you come across as unable to help yourself, which is the opposite message you want to convey. Put the work in to find the solutions you seek, but realize that people are resources too, and no job can be done completely independently.
Once you find your place in your new career, it’s time to make connections. There is something to be said for dedicated hard work, but the truth of the matter is, sometimes all it takes is one connection to take you where you want to be.
Don’t waste any time getting to know your coworkers. Each one of them was in your shoes as the newbie in the company, and each one of them has a unique story and insight that could help you on your journey.
Even if your network of coworkers is huge, don’t be afraid to reach out further. Keep your LinkedIn profile current and keep in touch with your connections. Join a professional society and actually stay involved with it. Committees are a great way to get to know people and show off your leadership and teamwork skills. You never know where you’ll meet the person who will set you off on your next big, new career adventure, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Love What You Do
Get excited about your work! Nothing will make success easier than loving what you do, and nothing will kill a career faster than allowing yourself to be miserable in a job you hate. If you don’t feel satisfied, find a way to fix it. Sometimes, it’s not the job, but the environment you’re working in that can put you in a rut. Find what parts of your employer package deal are non-negotiable and don’t compromise. Nothing is ever permanent, so take advantage of that idea and make changes when needed. Once you find your fit, you’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in your life.
How have you found success in your new career? Let us know in the comments below!