BlogCareer Advice13+ Best Ways to Prepare for a Career Change [+ 5 Ideal Jobs]

13+ Best Ways to Prepare for a Career Change [+ 5 Ideal Jobs]

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A few things in one’s professional development can simultaneously be as exciting and daunting as a career change. This big move can be sparked by your desire to follow your passion, your need to obtain a better life-work balance, or your ambition to get into a more lucrative field, among other reasons.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll prepare you for the challenges that arise when someone decides to go on such an adventure. You’ll learn what to consider before opting for a career change, how to best prepare for it, and what jobs to consider transitioning to. Let’s jump right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Before making a change, you should consider your current career and goals, as well as the salary and education requirements of the field in which you want to transition.

  • To prepare for a career change, you should assess your skills, interests, and values, do the necessary research, prepare your finances, work on your skills, utilize networking, adjust your resume, and more.

  • Some of the best roles to transition to based on salary and outlook include financial management, IT management, teaching, marketing management, and web development.

4 Things to Consider Before Making a Career Change

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There are several things to consider before making a career change. Taking these factors into consideration will vastly improve your chances of success and smoothen your transition.

#1. Your Current Career

Before changing careers, evaluate your current field and your role in it. Take the time to perform an objective analysis to consider the aspects of your work that you enjoy and the ones that you find lacking. Take into account everything—from the skills required to everyday tasks and assignments.

For instance, you can determine whether you like your current job but don’t see ways of advancing. You might also be on the lookout for a more creative and fulfilling role. On the other hand, some individuals make changes because their current career is too restrictive or doesn’t offer enough challenges.

#2. Your Career Goals

Identifying your career goals is essential to helping you make a change that aligns with them. Before you start on the new path, you want to have a general idea of where you want to be. Think about what you’d want your life to be like, what your perfect workday would look like, what kind of professional environment or company culture would suit you best, and so on.

On top of that, you want to have a concrete plan with actionable steps that will help you reach your goals. Ensure that the objectives you’ve set don’t just align with your needs and aspirations but are also attainable within an established time frame.

#3. Education Requirements

Consider the education requirements of the career you want to transition to. While there are many high-paying jobs without a degree requirement, certain fields and roles require specialized training, certifications, or degrees that might necessitate years of studying to obtain. This can be very time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Understanding the education requirements upfront helps you set realistic expectations. You should consider where you are on your professional journey and determine how much time you want to invest in further learning and reskilling. That’ll help you minimize the risks involved with changing careers and prevent unforeseen circumstances from hindering your progress.

#4. Salary

Salary is one of the biggest motivators for a career change. Many professionals change careers looking for higher earnings and better benefits. On the flip side, when there are other reasons for changing careers, most individuals would want their new salary to at least match their old one.

When you’re changing careers, chances are you’ll have to lower your salary expectations as you’ll have to start over with an entry-level job. That’s why you should research the field in which you’re transitioning to figure out the salary range, the long-term earning potential, and how feasible it is to advance to a high-paying position.

10 Best Ways to Prepare for a Career Change

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Let’s learn about the best ways to prepare for a career change.

#1. Assess Your Skills, Interests, & Values

Before you start looking for a career to switch to, you should assess your current skills, interests, and values. You want to determine what you’re good at, what drives you, and what matters to you in your personal and professional lives. This introspection is essential, as it’ll help you identify a career that best aligns with your competence, goals, and passions.

For example, by analyzing your abilities, you’ll be able to determine in which fields you’ll be able to use a part of your skill set or adjacent skills, which you’ll be able to pick up quickly. On the other hand, you might want to focus more on your personal interests and core values while looking for a more fulfilling vocation and a better work-life balance.

#2. Research the Potential Careers

You should take the time to research multiple potential careers and jobs within them. Analyze the roles that you’d want to perform to determine the typical daily tasks and responsibilities involved, the necessary qualifications and requirements, average salaries, industry and employment trends, etc.

A lot of that research can be done online. You can look up job descriptions and experiences on the internet or contact people from the industry via email, social media platforms, and other channels to find out about their perspectives. Still, one of the best ways to go about it is to shadow a professional and gain first-hand insight into their work.

Meticulous research can help you choose a career that closely matches your needs, expectations, and current qualifications. It can also help you set clear and attainable goals and, ultimately, make a good choice.

#3. Consider & Plan Your Finances

Finance is one of the key aspects of your professional career, and robust financial planning is essential when preparing for a change. This step is all the more important if you expect to have a lower starting salary than your current one once you transition.

One important aspect to consider is the cost of any specialized training, education, and certifications you will need to obtain before you can start working. That’s why you should plan ahead and set up savings to help you smooth out the career change process.

This is vital, as it gives you a safety net to fall back on during periods of reduced income. It’s essential to have peace of mind and not be driven solely by financial needs while looking for new professional opportunities.

#4. Develop the Necessary Skills

Developing the necessary skills required for a new career is vital. There are two types of skills every professional needs to have in their arsenal, and a successful career change typically involves obtaining or improving both.

These are:

Two Types of Skills

  1. Hard skills, which are job-specific, and to obtain them, you’d likely have to take relevant courses and other types of specific training and education.

  2. Soft skills, which are transferable between professions and typically improved through life experience. Some examples include communication and leadership skills.

Skill development can be a lifelong process, and there are many ways to go about it. You can practice self-learning through online platforms, read industry-related blog posts, books, and other literature, attend workshops and seminars, etc.

#5. Make Connections Through Networking

Professional networking is invaluable for anyone looking to advance or change careers. There are many benefits to networking, including expanding one's web of connections, improving one's job prospects, enhancing one's learning opportunities, and more.

This is a continuous activity that you can practice during specialized networking events, like conferences and gatherings, but also online through social media, email, and internet messaging.

Networking can help you every step of the way during your career-changing process. It allows you to extract valuable information from other professionals about the field you’re transitioning to at first and then helps improve your chances of getting hired through networking with recruiters and hiring managers.

#6. Gain the Required Experience

If your biggest concern is how to change career paths with no experience in the field, the trick is to gain the required experience through analogous activities, such as volunteer work, personal projects, freelancing, internships, part-time work in the industry, and so on.

The experience obtained this way will greatly contribute to your resume and give you insight into the field that you want to enter. You can use it to determine whether you’ve made the right choice and to improve your skills further.

Plus, it’ll demonstrate to hiring managers and potential employers that you’re a motivated individual who is committed to their transition.

#7. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

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You should update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect the fact that your career is changing directions. That’s because chances are some of the skills and experiences obtained by that point won’t be relevant in the field you’re transitioning to.

You should either write a new career change resume or update the existing one to highlight competencies and accomplishments related to the job that you’re after. Certain terms, like your skills and job titles, also act as keywords, and they can help you pass the ATS scan.

The same goes for your LinkedIn profile. A good LinkedIn profile will make it easier for recruiters to find you, and it’ll improve your chances of impressing them and getting an interview.

#8. Have Realistic Expectations

Having realistic expectations when changing careers is crucial for staying driven, managing stress, and avoiding burnout. The process can take time and be volatile, so it’s important not to get discouraged by any potential setbacks.

It helps to have clear and attainable goals you can use to track your progress and motivate yourself. Remain patient and persistent throughout the career change, and always look for the opportunity to learn.

#9. Prepare for Behavioral Changes

Moving into a new field can result in changes that extend beyond your professional career. This can result in mindset shifts and behavioral adjustments. This is particularly prominent for a change of career at 40 or 50 instead of earlier since you’ll likely have established routines in place.

After a change, you’ll be in a new industry with distinct practices, working styles, and learning habits. That’s why it’s imperative to stay flexible and open to feedback. Learn to evaluate the changes as they come your way and incorporate them into your everyday life to ensure your integration goes smoothly.

#10. Practice for Interviews

Performing well during a job interview is paramount to getting hired. Fortunately, being good at interviews is a skill like any other, and you can learn it through practice. For example, it helps to know what the most common interview questions and answers are so that you know what to expect and how to prepare for the event.

On top of that, there are many industry-specific questions you should research and prepare for in advance. Other interview tips include polishing your communication skills, working on your posture and nonverbal communication, being on time, following a dress code, and preparing the questions to ask the interviewer, among others.

Top 5 Ideal Career-Changing Jobs to Consider

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Here are some of the best career-change jobs to consider if you’re looking to make the switch.

#1. Financial Manager

Financial managers are in charge of the organization’s financial plans, reports, and activities. This is a highly lucrative role that typically requires a bachelor’s degree and years of experience, but you can transition to it from a number of other professions, including accounting, financial analysis, and more.

The median salary is $156,100 per year, while the job outlook is 16%, which is much faster than average.

#2. IT Manager

IT managers are professionals in the sphere of computers and information systems. This is another field where experience is paramount, but the upside is that you can transition to it from any computer or information science-related field.

Another perk is a high median salary, which is $169,510 per year. More than that, the job outlook of 15% means the demand for skilled professionals is high. A well-written IT manager resume can help you best showcase your competence to recruiters and get one of the spots.

#3. Teacher

Transitioning to the role of a teacher is a great way to leverage your existing skills and experiences while significantly changing the work that you do. To switch your career to teaching, you’ll likely have to work more on your interpersonal skills than on your hard skills and then demonstrate them on your teacher resume.

The job outlook and salaries for teachers vary between the roles. For instance, elementary school teachers have a 1% job outlook and a $63,670 median salary, while postsecondary teachers fare better with a $84,380 median salary and an 8% job outlook.

#4. Marketing Manager

Marketing management is becoming increasingly accessible to self-taught individuals. The job involves creating plans and strategies to generate interest in products or services, a lot of which occurs on the internet and social media platforms.

The median salary of $156,580 per year and a faster-than-average job outlook of 6% make this the perfect field for creative individuals to transition to, regardless of their current career. All you need is a solid marketing manager resume that highlights your qualifications.

#5. Web Developer

If you’re looking for easy career changes that pay well, look no further than web development. While some employers ask for a bachelor’s degree, most value skills that can be obtained in boot camps, courses, and other specialized training methods.

As an upcoming web developer with a strong resume, you can expect a median salary of $92,750 and a job outlook of 16%.

Final Thoughts

Opting for a career change is a significant step and a big decision. That’s why it’s important to know how to navigate the process optimally and maximize your chances of success. Remember to do as much research as you can in advance and to consider the impact such a change would have on both your professional and personal lives.

Finally, temper your expectations, stay flexible in your approach, and practice your interviews. That way, you’ll transition to a rewarding career in no time!

Jeffrey Stromes
Jeffrey Stromes
HR Expert
Jeffrey Stromes is the backbone of our team and our HR expert. He is obsessed with making things fair, addicted to comic books, and in love with his golden retriever, Molly. He’s the big brain behind our company’s policies, the development and management of talent, and whatever else there is! Although he looks quite serious at first sight, Jeffrey is a sweet guy who is equally good at making our whole team laugh and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Just be sure to provide him with enough coffee!

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