By Erin Tigro
Career Change Basics
While many times we jump into other careers out of desperation, this may not be the best option. Such a leap should involve significantly more thought and research. Whether you find yourself seeking a new career as a result of personal desire or just needing to because of a layoff, you should assess yourself, your lifestyle and the market before moving on. Perhaps you have one or several potential careers in mind. Whatever the case, here are some factors to consider that can help you decide on the right path for you.
Education, Lifestyle and Finances
Does your choice to change careers mean you'll have to go back to school? If so, you'll have to consider how this will affect your life. How will you pay for school? Will you need to get another job in the meantime to help you stay afloat? How will going back to school affect your family life? Once you answer these and similar questions, you may decide that going back to school might not be a viable option. If this happens, you can reassess your situation to find a career that falls more in line with your personal needs as well as your professional ambitions.
Skills and Experience
One of the first things to consider is how the experience, accomplishments and skills you've accumulated over the years can translate to your desired field. For example, you may have experience undertaking tasks in:
- Public speaking
- Multimedia presentations
- Writing and editing
- Human resources
- Fiscal administration
- Operations management
- Project management
- Computer usage and technical troubleshooting
- General problem-solving
While you may have to develop specific knowledge and skills in whatever new career you choose, you may be one step ahead with the skill set you already possess.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Communications and Journalism
- Computer Sciences
- Culinary Arts and Personal Services
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Medical and Health Professions
- Physical Sciences
- Transportation and Distribution
- Visual and Performing Arts
Helpful Tips for Career Changers
Utilize Career Search Tools
There are a number of organizations that can help you decide on a new career. The Career One Stop website, for example, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers free skill and interest profile quizzes. Based on the answers you submit, the programs provide a list of compatible careers. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also offers a wealth of information on virtually every career, including education requirements, average wages and field-specific employment outlooks.
Consider Mentoring Services
For those who don't mind investing money in their search, seeking the advice of a professional career counselor may be beneficial. Counselors who provide individual or group counseling sessions may be found through local postsecondary institutions or organizations such as the National Career Development Association. If you're leaning more towards entrepreneurship, consider mentoring agencies, such as SCORE, a not-for-profit organization that offers online assistance and has local chapters throughout the U.S.
Network with Professionals in Field Sought
With the rise of the Internet, making business contacts can be easily done online. Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn or BIZerc, offer platforms to reach other likeminded individuals. You can post questions to the site or converse with experienced individuals in the field you're seeking to enter. If you're more interested in face-time, consider looking to your local library or township, which may offer career networking sessions.
Continue reading for more information about career changes you could make that require minimal college work.