There are plenty of valid reasons to want to change careers. Maybe you no longer feel fulfilled or interested at your position. Maybe you are looking at industry trends and are worried that your job may become obsolete due to automation. Maybe you believe switching to another industry will help you earn more.
Regardless of the reason, know that you are not alone. Millions across the globe harbor similar dreams but are afraid to act out of fear of the unknown. But changing careers today is perfectly normal, as it is reported that “the average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life according to career change statistics.”
If you methodically plan out your industry change, you can turn the unknown into the known. Here are a few crucial tips that can help get you in the right industry that can boost your happiness and long-term earnings.
1. Do You Really Need to Change?
Before talking about the best way to change industries, you need to understand that changing industries may not necessarily be the right move for you. The grass is greener on the other side. You absolutely do not want to make the effort to switch into a new industry if you just end up in a similar unhappy situation. It is possible that keeping the same job at another company, or even just changing your lifestyle in ways unrelated to your work, can improve your quality of life enough.
Consequently, take some time to figure out why you want to leave your current career. The Muse lists some signs indicating that you might be fed up with your career. Have you lost interest in your industry, and not just your company? Do you feel apathetic going into work or jealous of those in other careers? These can be signs that it is time to change your industry. But while changing your career is not a bad thing, making such a decision at the drop of a hat is little better.
2. Figure out what you want to be
When you are looking to change your industry, some industries will be easier to change into than others. A writer will have an easier time changing into marketing or a job which values communication as opposed to a more blue-collar industry.
But thinking about what new industries best fit your skillsets is a trap. After all, your current industry likely fits your skillset well after years on the job, but you want to change from that industry for a reason. The better course of action is to think about the industry and job that you want. Go with the biggest dream that you can think of, even if you currently have no idea how you will end there.
Obviously, it is very possible that you will not attain that exact dream. But just getting close can put you in a better position than you ever dreamed of.
3. Research Online
There are two things which are keeping you from your dream industry: you do not know the right people, and you do not possess the right skills. Use the Internet and social media to fix those two problems.
Knowing the right people is the more important problem, as the right people can tell you what skills you need to get into their industry. LinkedIn is a great place to research for people and look for entrepreneur resources as well. Do not actually contact people by messaging them through LinkedIn. Try to find a way in, whether by using LinkedIn to find industry events or looking for areas where your network and their intersect. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
There are many ways to develop your skills by going online. You can take free or paid online classes. You can learn about seminars or conferences and attend them. But until you land yourself solidly into your dream industry, you must keep looking for new ways to learn more and develop new skills.
4. Show your Knowledge
When you are making those initial important introductions, you need to show that you care deeply about their industry and have the knowledge to make a valuable contribution. In order to show that knowledge, share it.
Start up a podcast or blog on your chosen industry. Fill it with your insights on recent events, what the industry’s future might be, or anything related that strikes your fancy. If you do not have the time to maintain a blog, even regular status updates on Facebook or Twitter can suffice.
The Balance in this useful guide on building a blog observes that small businesses can use blogs to market themselves to consumers. You can also use blogs and content marketing strategies to market yourself to potential useful connections.
5. Prepare Financially
A major roadblock to changing careers is the realization that the change will come with financial burdens. You may have to take a pay cut, or go back to school, or obtain a certification which will cost time and money. Only you can decide whether switching is worth the time and effort, but money can seem empty when you hate going into your current job every single day.
Build up a financial cushion to deal with the transition and consider cutting expenses or picking up a side job. If you do have to go back to school, speak to your boss to see if they offer tuition reimbursement. Keep in mind that your boss may demand that you sign a contract locking you into your career for some years in exchange for paying for your tuition.
Switching careers is not going to be easy, and there are more steps than this so you can land in your dream job. But if you plan thoroughly, develop the right skills, and get in touch with the right people, you can make this transition and be much happier with your work.