Shifting careers is the ultimate step you can take to reach a path that’s aligned with your long-term goals and core values. It can provide you with fulfilling opportunities that you might otherwise miss if you stayed in a job that offers the bare minimum.
Career shifts allow you to redesign your life if you’re willing to take the risks. After all, fortune favors the brave. However, you can’t pivot the direction of your professional story on a whim.
It takes some serious self and lifestyle reflection to evaluate the risk vs reward ratio of a career shift. When done right, you can lessen the number of regrets in the future.
Signs it’s time for a career shift
Our bodies offer subtle hints when it’s time for a career shift. But if you fail to notice these signs, it can affect your overall health and wellbeing. To maintain a work-life balance, keep your eyes peeled for these 5 clues that you need a career change:
1. You are burnt out
Burnout reveals itself as exhaustion, negativity, and lack of work engagement. About 3 in 5 American workers said they experienced work-related stress in 2021. If you feel like you can’t manage workplace stress any longer, it’s a sign it’s time for a career change because it can also affect your personal life.
2. You only stay for the money
Many people choose to stay in a job they don’t like because of desperation. Even if you need the money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, working just to survive is not a way to live a meaningful life. So changing the direction of your career path might be what you need to live a life that you deserve.
3. You lost your enthusiasm
Work won’t feel like work if you enjoy doing it. To tell you the truth, there will be days when you won’t have the motivation to work. But if you always have to fake a smile every time you clock in, think about what parts of your job you want to change.
4. You feel disconnected from yourself
The purpose of having a career is to bring you closer to your goals and values. When your job feels like it’s rerouting you to a different path, you might be ready to change careers. Perhaps this role no longer speaks to your creativity, so find a new role that brings out the best in you.
5. You’re jealous of other people’s jobs
Comparing your job to others is not healthy because it shows that there’s something missing in your current work culture. So instead of letting it affect your confidence, write about the things that make you jealous of their jobs. Doing this can help you make better career plans.
Embarking on a career shift isn’t a simple decision. At this point, you’re at a crossroads between enduring a monotonous job or risking it all to find a new one. Understandably, you want what’s best for yourself. So evaluate your current situation and carefully plan your career transition.
How to make a career shift the right way
People shift careers all the time, 5-7 times to be exact. But if you’re confused on where to begin or how to make a career shift, the answers are in your values and passions. The activities that ignite your fire hold the key to making a better career decision.
When you feel like it’s time to make a change, go over these steps to make a swift career shift:
1. Research your options
Changing careers without knowing what lies ahead isn’t the right way to go about it. So do a thorough research of your career options to help you identify which job suits your lifestyle. For instance, if you want a role that allows you to travel, look at job listings that offer remote work to their employees.
2. Create a career plan
You may have heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Whether you’re chasing a side hustle, starting your own business, or applying for a new role, creating an actionable career plan can make transitioning easier.
Think of the financial responsibilities that’s built around your current job. So make sure that you have enough savings that will sustain you during the career makeover period.
3. Take an inventory of your skills
Instead of using your time to envy other people’s jobs, make use of that time for some self-reflection. Go over your strengths, transferable skills, and core values.
Take an aptitude and personality test if you think you need it. Although these tests are not 100% accurate. They can still offer an eye-opening experience.
4. Fill any skill gaps
After taking a careful inventory of your abilities, identify which skills you can take advantage of on your career shift. Then spot the ones that you need to work on to manage those skill gaps since improving your weak points can help you in the career change process. So maximize free and affordable online courses to turn your flaws into strengths.
5. Update your application credentials
No matter if you’re 59 or 35 and looking for a change in career, keeping your application credentials up to date is crucial. While many people may simply stack their professional backgrounds, tailoring your narrative parallel to the job description can boost your hiring chances. This will make your application documents attractive even if you lack experience.
6. Grab opportunities to shadow or intern
Job shadowing or becoming an intern is the perfect way to get an insider scoop on your work life in your field of interest. This learning experience will allow you to observe a professional’s work routine.
Ask your professional network if their company offers an internship program. Or search on the internet for job shadow opportunities because this will help you gain a good reputation in your desired industry.
7. Make connections in your desired industry
Connecting with people outside your current industry is only awkward in the beginning. But as you make networking a regular habit, this social bridge can lessen your career transition stress.
Start with your close network of professionals first. Ask them if they can connect you with people in your desired field.
8. Get a mentor or talk to someone experienced
Mentors can give you helpful career switch advice such as presenting yourself to potential employers and repositioning your resume and application letters for your new industry. These useful recommendations are key to defining and achieving your career development goals.
Finding someone who is experienced in your desired career is no easy feat. But there are online mentorship platforms that will make your search effortless.
9. Track your progress
Not many people are fond of the job application process. Let alone tracking it. However, tracking your application success and failures will help you examine your favorable outcome.
For example, you applied to 50 companies in the same industry for the same role and you only got 3 replies. This data shows that you might have to examine your resume or cover letter.
Tracking your progress will help you discover why you’re not getting your desired results in your career search.
10. Submit your resignation letter OR start applying to jobs
The final step on a career shift is to submit your resignation letter. After careful deliberation and you think it’s better to change careers, write a formal letter, saying that you’re quitting your role. Include the reasons for resigning and the date of your last day with your employer. Not only will this letter inform your current company, but it’s also an opportunity to solidify good work relationships.
On the other hand, start applying for jobs while you’re still earning an income from your present-day role. This will give you a vantage point to negotiate terms for the new role. And if all else fails, at least you still have a job to make ends meet.
What to do if you fail with your career shift
Career shifts are costly, which is why people are hesitant to take their professional journey to the next level. So do it scared because you’re more capable than you think.
Here’s what you can do next if you fail with your career shift:
1. Learn from your failure
Failing on a career shift is not the end of the world. Although it may feel like it. Still, you can maximize your failures by gaining insights on what you can improve on your job application process.
Hop on an industry-related project or offer a few free services to clients in your desired field. This will give you invaluable experience and feedback that you can use in your next job interview.
Think of your failures as improvement points rather than your weakness. Then take the necessary steps to assess and act to level up from your current situation.
2. Re-assess yourself and your skills
As with any loss, a rejection from a job you see yourself enjoying is painful. Take some time off to give yourself a mental break and do some self-reflection.
Analyze the cascading events that led to where you are right now because you might find some key takeaways—lessons, if you will—that can shed light on your career shift.
3. Reach out for help and support
Understand that there are people who will support your endeavors no matter what. Reach out to them because shifting careers can be rough. There’s uncertainty through big life transitions so you need all the support you can get.
Talk to a family member, friend, or professional. This is where mentors come in handy because these people can give you career recommendations in your chosen field.
4. Reframe your mindset
Your mind is a powerful tool that enables you to look beyond your current career status. Thus, having a growth mindset will unlock doors and allow you to thrive in the changing job market.
But reframing your mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a continuous journey of learning and unlearning the truths about yourself and how you define success.
5. Keep trying
Once you’ve developed a career shift action plan but still managed to fail some of your job applications, don’t give up. Stay persistent and have grit. With hundreds of job applicants, the only ones who fail are the ones who give up after the first try.
Remember this when you feel like your career change is going nowhere: Only a fool repeats the same formula but expects different results.
So when you hit a roadblock, instead of pushing yourself forward, reassess the situation, find what you need to tweak, improve it then try again.
How can online courses help with your career shift?
Online courses are taking the internet by storm. Some of these courses will take you on an in-depth learning experience on various topics including career development, personal improvement, business, and so on.
Here’s how you can take advantage of eLearning platforms for your career shift:
- Some companies accept online eLearning degrees and certificates as a form of credential.
- Taking online courses lets you balance work and education priorities, since some virtual lectures offer self-paced programs.
- For career changers who don’t have enough financial resources to enroll in traditional schooling, online learning platforms are an excellent budget-friendly option.
- There are online learning resources that allow you to interact with other students and instructors. So choosing to subscribe to this new wave of educational strategies can expand your network.
- With thousands of online courses, you’ll never run out of things to learn.
Online courses are a great way to stay on top of your career development, especially if you think you’re plateauing in your current field. It lets you add value to your skills, which makes you more marketable in the fast-changing work environment. With all these advantages of online learning to further your knowledge, they’re worth the shot.
Reach your potential through career shift
A career should be the perfect blend of your passions and expertise. However, fear and limiting beliefs can hinder a person from remodeling their profession. So ask yourself why you want to quit your job in the first place. Is there anything that’s holding you down?
Asking yourself this question may uncover some truths that you actually love your job and you just want something new to play around with. But if you think a career shift is the only way out of your disagreeable position, take the leap!