Have you ever wondered if you were on the right professional track? Or daydreamed about a more fulfilling journey? You’re not alone. In today’s ever-evolving job market, contemplating a career change is more common than ever.
But is the change worth it? And if you’re determined to follow through, how can you make the transition successful?
To look further into these questions, let’s dive into the story of Chanel Divine. She’s a passionate GoSkills learner who went from being a beauty consultant to a self-employed bookkeeper by leveraging the benefits of online learning.
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What's a career change?
A career change, simply put, is when you switch from one type of job to a completely different one.
This change would normally involve pursuing a different role or function within an industry or sector where you haven’t worked before. A career shift, on the other hand, might mean taking on a new position or responsibilities within your current industry, leveraging your existing skills and experiences but in a different capacity.
Chanel is a good example of a career change. She went from being a Mary Kay beauty consultant to a self-employed bookkeeper without any prior experience in the accounting industry.
Reasons for changing careers
Although a career shift is typically easier to achieve than a career change, people still pursue the latter. So, what are the reasons for changing careers? These are some of the most-cited reasons:
- A bigger impact. Kevin Kruse said: “Life is about making an impact, not making an income.” While high paychecks might be attractive, the chance to have a bigger impact in another field or venture can be a stronger driving force for many. The longing to leave a legacy, make a difference, and contribute positively to a community or industry often compels individuals to pursue new careers.
- A new passion. Over time, our interests and priorities inevitably evolve. Sometimes, an untapped skill or even a cherished hobby can catalyze a profound career change. Take Chanel as an example. Initially seeking Excel courses to bolster her efficiency as a beauty consultant, she stumbled upon GoSkills. While she was drawn to the platform for its Excel training, the QuickBooks Online course caught her attention. This unexpected discovery marked the beginning of her career change.
- Better work-life balance. The demands of certain careers can take a toll, leaving little room for personal projects, family, or self-care. For many, pursuing a balanced life becomes a priority, outweighing promotions or hefty salaries. Changing careers can be the avenue to finding a role that respects boundaries, offers flexible hours, or simply aligns better with one's personal and family needs.
- New challenges. Stagnation can be a silent career killer. Many professionals thrive on challenge and growth, and when their current role no longer offers that stimulating environment, they might feel confined or unfulfilled. A career change can be the answer to reigniting that spark.
5 tips for a successful career change
1. Assess your current skills and gaps
Before diving into a new career, take a moment to reflect on your existing skill set. What are your strengths? What skills have you acquired over the years that can be transferred to a new role?
Once you’ve taken stock of your current skills, identify the gaps. Are there any specific technical skills or certifications you’ll need for your desired career? In Chanel’s case, because of her beauty consultant position, she had developed strong communication skills and was looking to expand her Excel knowledge. Both qualities served as the perfect base for her current bookkeeper profession. Still, she needed QuickBooks training to become a certified ProAdvisor—a certification that proves her expertise in QuickBooks and accounting.
2. Embrace online learning
Online courses have revolutionized the way we learn. They've become a great ally for professionals who want to pivot their careers without investing a fortune in developing new skills or consuming much time when doing so.
Progressing at your own pace—a key benefit of online learning—allows for flexible, convenient, and effective learning experiences. Chanel said:
GoSkills removed the stress and urgency from learning on someone else’s time. I was taught in-depth and could access the courses and materials from any device at my own pace. I also enjoyed taking notes within the platform. It helped me follow the instructor and grasp the new knowledge better.
3. Network with professionals in your desired field
Building connections is invaluable, especially when changing careers. Start by attending industry-specific events, joining online forums, or connecting on social platforms like LinkedIn. Engaging with other professionals in your desired field will give you insider insights, help you identify potential job opportunities, and may even lead to mentorship.
Furthermore, focus on leaving a lasting impression on your new connections. For this, honing certain soft skills, like communication and body language, can help tremendously.
4. Pursue freelancing and volunteering opportunities
Taking on freelancing projects or volunteering in your desired field can provide invaluable experience before a full-fledged change. These opportunities will allow you to apply your new skills in real-world scenarios, bolstering your resume and expanding your professional network. In addition, they offer a risk-free environment to gauge if your newly chosen path aligns with your passions and expectations.
5. Rebrand yourself
Switching careers often requires a fresh approach to how you present yourself professionally. Here are a few ways you can revamp your professional brand:
- Update your resume. Ensure your resume emphasizes transferable skills and any new training or experiences relevant to your desired field.
- Revamp social profiles. Prioritize updating your LinkedIn to reflect your new direction and showcase your expertise.
- Create a work portfolio. Building a new portfolio can also be a game-changer, especially if your desired career is in a creative or technical field.
- Network. Actively engage on social platforms, sharing insights, articles, or projects related to your new profession. This consistent online presence will help you establish your expertise and signal to your network the evolution of your career journey.
Changing careers requires major effort, but in return, the rewards can be life-changing. While a career change marks the end of an era in your professional life, it also means a new beginning that aligns better with your personal values and goals.
As with any major life change, it’s important to prepare accordingly. With these tips, you can start setting goals and crafting realistic plans. The rest is about being consistent and staying curious about what your new career has to offer you.
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