Assessment Career Change Are you facing that career change decision-point? Do you wish you were? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is change careers. Remember that career change is a natural life progression. Most studies show that the average job seeker will change careers several times over the course of his or her lifetime. Use this 6-step plan. This will ensure that you will be on the right footing and on a path toward career change success. 1. Assessment of Likes and Dislikes. A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company and so forth. Identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step. You will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes. What do you really like doing when you are working, when you are at home and in your spare time? What excites you and energizes you? What is your passion? If you are still unsure, consider taking one of more of those career assessments. The key is spending some time rediscovering yourself and using your self-assessment to direct your new career search. 2. Researching new careers. Once you have discovered your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers that center on your passions. Do not worry if you are feeling a bit unsure or insecure; it is a natural part of the career change process. How much research you do also partly depends on how much of a change you want. 3. Transferable skills. Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career. You may be surprised to see that you already have a solid amount of experience needed for your new career. 4. Training and education. You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly. If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab. Take a course or two to ensure you really like the subject matter. If you are going for a new degree or certification, make sure you check the accreditation of the school. Get some information about placement successes. 5. Networking. One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking ability. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. Even if you do not think you already have a network, you probably do. Consider colleagues, friends, and family members. You can also broaden your network through joining professional organizations in your new field and contacting alumni from your college who are working in the field you want to enter. A key tool of networking is conducting informational interviews. 6. Be Flexible. You will need to be flexible about nearly everything, from your employment status to relocation and salary. Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change. Do not let these things get you down. Besides totally new careers, you might also consider a lateral move that could serve as a springboard for a bigger career change. 7 Steps to Help You Change Careers and Establish a Workable Career Plan If you are thinking of a career change or if you are trying to lay out a tangible career plan for yourself, there are several important things to consider. Step One – Self Assessment Self-Assessment is an important first step in considering where you are currently and discovering what direction you would like to go in the future. Some questions you might ask yourself include: * What are my interests and aptitudes? * What are my strengths and weaknesses? * What are my major personality traits? * Do I have areas of interest outside my current field? Step Two – Consider Career Assessment Testing Have you ever considered taking a Career Assessment Test? There are many of these tests available on the Internet that can be easily accessed and completed free of charge. This can be a great starting point to help you discover areas of interest that you might not have considered before. Step Three – Set Goals and Objectives It is also important to discover your goals and objectives for the future. Not only do you need to think about where you are in your current career, but also where you want to go, and how, when, and where you would like to advance in the future. In considering your own goals and objectives, some possible questions to consider are these: * Where am I in my current career? * What are the possibilities for advancement? * Do I want to remain in the field I am currently in, or would I really like to pursue something of greater interest? * Is there something else I’ve always really wanted to do? * If I remain in the same area, what steps will I need to take for advancement? * Are there credentials or certifications that would be helpful? * Do I need to upgrade my degree to a higher level? * Do I need to earn a degree in a completely different field Step Four – Make a List of Possibilities Making a list of all the possibilities that you are interested in considering is another helpful exercise. Start by listing all the jobs you might be interested in pursuing. If you have no qualifications in your areas of interest, think about what your options are for obtaining them. Can you attend classes locally or would online learning be a better choice for you? Many times your current family and work responsibilities weigh heavily on the choice for the convenience of online learning. Step Five – Research Your Favorite Careers After you have a list of possible interesting careers, choose your favorites and begin researching them. There is, of course, a wealth of knowledge on the Internet, but another great avenue is to talk to people who currently work in the field in which you are interested. You can also consider making an appointment with a career counselor at a local college or community college for assistance. Your local library is always an option -- peruse the library’s collection of career guide books. Researching should give you a better perspective and understanding of the careers that interest you and what steps you will need to take in order to pursue a new career. Step Six – Narrow Your Choices Once the research phase is complete, you must narrow your choices down and consider the pros and cons of each one. This will help you to make specific choices that you can begin to pursue. Step Seven - Determine Educational Requirements Once you make the choice, it is time to begin seriously considering the education options available to you. Begin by discovering what type of major is associated with the field and consider whether a minor would be beneficial in any way. Many careers do not require a degree; you can get into certain fields with certificates or diplomas. Once you establish yourself in the area of interest, you can continue to upgrade your credentials with certifications and even earn a degree online while you continue your work.
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