Your Guide to Changing Careers

Your Guide to Changing Careers - Style Nine to Five

There’s no reason to feel stuck in a job you hate or that you’ve outgrown. Maybe it’s what you went to school for, and maybe all your prior experience was leading up to this, but if you’re unhappy, it might be time to move on. If you’d just like to explore different industries, it’s worth a shot. It’s never too late to switch career paths – you just have to figure out how to go about it.

Start With a Brainstorm Session

If you’re already positive about what field you want to switch into, skip ahead to the next step. But, if all you know is that you want to move to a new industry, there’s a lot of thought and research that needs to go into it.

Before you take any big steps, consider your education, work experience and current skills. Is there anything new you can do with those? For example, if you worked in journalism previously, what else can you do writing-wise? Would you be interested in other communications jobs, like public relations? Consider all the types of jobs adjacent to yours.

If you want a new field completely, you can at least view your work experience as a starting point: maybe you want to move from journalism to writing fiction, for instance. You’ll need some practice in that area and maybe a course or two, but it’s not impossible. Browse the Internet for ideas of fields that would make good use of your skillset. Try attending job fairs and information sessions (plenty are online now, and therefore more accessible!) or taking career quizzes that break down your personality and skills to see what jobs are best suited for you.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it right this time, either. You’re switching once and you can always do it again if things don’t work out! No one ever truly knows where their career journey will take them.

Test the Waters

Although you have a better idea of where to go now, don’t take the plunge yet! There are plenty of ways to make sure this is the field you’d actually like to work in. If it’s a possibility, take on an internship or volunteer position in the field. Reach out to employers to see if this is a possibility, or look for online groups dedicated to the field and see if anyone has space for you.

If you can’t land an internship or volunteer role, you still have options. Look for events related to the field or job, like question and answer sessions led by people in the field. Another thing that you can do is talk to people in these fields – reach out on LinkedIn or through career-specific Facebook groups and set up informational interviews. If possible, you could even shadow people on their jobs to see what a day in the life looks like.

Map It Out

Once you’ve settled on the destination of your career path, you have to figure out what the journey looks like. For instance, will you be heading back to school, and how long will that take you to complete? If you happen to already have all the skills and education in place but just need the experience, what jobs should you look into taking on before making it to the ultimate dream job? Determine the steps that would be best for you to take to get to your dream job – it sounds like a stressful task, but once it’s done, it’ll make the transition to a brand new field look a lot less overwhelming.

Rebrand Yourself

It’s finally time to get your new career on the road! Edit your resume and LinkedIn to line up with your new career path. Get creative with the way you describe the duties at past jobs so that they can fit the new field, and put a lot of focus on your transferable skills. Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn about section to specify why you’d be a good fit in your new field, and post an update letting people know you’re open to a brand new side of the work world. Keeping your network aware is very important, so feel free to even send off messages to people who could help – you never know who can help you get your first job in the new field!

From there, you’re free to dive into the brand new industry and see where it takes you. No career path is linear – you’re allowed to experiment with different fields and figure out what makes you happy. A job is a big part of your life, you should enjoy it!

Ready to enter a new field? It’s time to book a Style Nine to Five Resume Refresh!

Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock