Changing careers can be a daunting task for someone who has spent 20 or more years in the same occupation. Admittedly, it takes a lot of courage and strength to leave your comfort zone and possibly even your paycheck to start a new career later in life. But the good news is that plenty of people have successfully achieved this accomplishment numerous times over.
A career change most likely will not occur overnight, but with proper planning and steadfast action, it can be done. The ultimate goal is to get it done without trying to take shortcuts. And I know that this may sound frustrating to some who have already spent years obtaining their education and even longer honing their craft. But, it is not always easy or efficient to simply uproot your career without taking the proper steps.
PREPARING FOR A CAREER CHANGE
I was faced with this same dilemma a few years ago when I decided to transition into coaching. I have over 17 years of experience as a health science educator. My bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees are all aligned with my previous career path. When I felt the need to venture out on my own and start my own business, I did not want to spend a great deal of time studying or learning a new skill. But, I had to in order to be successful at what I currently do.
So I dug my heels in and started learning the necessary skills for becoming effective in these areas as well. It took me about two years of planning, preparation, and practice to get to a level where I felt confident in starting my own business as a coach. But I did it, and so can you if you follow a few simple steps.
To successfully transition into another career, you must become knowledgeable in key skills. This may be in the form of formal or informal education. You must have a license or certification to practice in some professions legally. Even if you already have a terminal degree, you may need to get another degree to enter a different career field.
It typically won’t take you as long to complete another degree if you already have one. You may be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in two years or less if you already have an undergraduate or higher degree. So the good news is that you may not have to start from scratch. In other instances, you may have to start fresh, but it’s worth it when it comes to fulfilling your soul mission.
However, it is not always necessary to get a formal education to become proficient or legally practice in certain career fields. You may be able to take a few online courses, read some books, or study under a guru to transition into a different career path efficiently. For instance, you can make a lucrative career as a spiritual coach or health coach. But it doesn’t require any formal training to start a career in these and other areas of coaching.
Gaining experience in a new career field is an invaluable asset for making a smooth transition. In many cases, colleges and universities provide internship or apprenticeship experiences, which makes a strong case for getting a formal education in a career field. On the other hand, there are a number of internship and apprenticeship opportunities for prospective career changers that are not linked to formal education programs.
If it is difficult to find such opportunities, volunteer experiences can also provide you with valuable experience in your chosen discipline. This can be in the form of volunteerism through established organizations or volunteer opportunities that you create on your own.
When I decided to transition into coaching, I started off by volunteering my services to family, friends, and various organizations. I provided my coaching services to my family and friends without charging fees. I also spoke at various events related to my coaching areas. This gave me the chance to hone my skills and get some constructive feedback on how to improve.
GET CAREER COACHING
Another valuable asset in the career change process is career coaching. A career coach can point you in the right direction through one-on-one coaching, live or virtual classes, books, etc. They can help you can make the most efficient use of your time and resources. Such a professional can get you through the challenging aspects of your career transition, especially when you feel like giving up. They can also help you get unstuck.
FINDING YOUR PURPOSE
Career coaching is a great way to clarify where you want to go in life. It helps you gain insight into what makes you unique, what drives your passions, and how to make the most of your talents. With the help of a career coach, you can explore different options and create an action plan to reach your goals. Career coaching will also provide support and guidance to help you live with a sense of purpose.
WRITING RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS
A career coach can also help you develop a stellar portfolio, including industry-specific resumes and cover letters that can get you noticed. Many career changers end up selling themselves short when they start their job search. They may play down their previous experience that is not related to the career they are transitioning into, or they may not properly emphasize the new skills and traits that they have gained. This is why having someone with an objective eye is critical in the job search process.
A career coach can also help you prepare for important interviews or salary negotiations. Oftentimes career changers do not truly understand their value when they transition into a new career path. They sometimes ask for less than what they deserve because of their career path trajectory.
With the right preparation, making a successful transition to a new field can be done. It’s important to research the industry and its job market, expand your network, create an effective resume and cover letter, update your skills with any necessary training, and practice interviewing. With careful planning and dedication, you can make your dream of changing careers become a reality.
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