This topic is about changing from your current carer to a different one. If,
instead you are interested in advancing in your current career, then see Career Advancement. If you are interested in selecting a
career, then see Career Planning.
Sections of This Topic Include
Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Career Change
In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs
that have posts related to career change. Scan down the blog’s page to see various
posts. Also, see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of
the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog.
The blog also links to numerous free related resources.
© Copyright Marcia Zidle
Are you looking for more than just a better job?
Rather, you’re seeking a more rewarding profession, one that better aligns
with your skills, interests, values, and plans for the future. It will not happen
overnight. It will take reflection, planning, and motivation. Here are five tips
for making the transition into a new, rewarding career.
1. First be sure of your reasons.
Just because you’re unhappy in your current job isn’t a strong
enough reason to make a total career break. Carefully analyze whether it is
your actual career you dislike or whether the problem is your employer, supervisor,
or workplace environment.
If you’re unhappy with your boss or the politics of the job, an option
is to stay with your career choice and try to find another department or division
to work in. However, after much soul searching, you truly feel you would be
happier in another career, then start looking.
2. Decide what’s important.
Take an honest inventory of your likes and dislikes, and evaluate your skills,
values, and personal interests. You may want to consider consulting a career
coach or taking a career assessment to determine what is the right career for
you. Many people who want to change careers do so to find a balance between
their personal and professional lives; to get the juices flowing again; or to
achieve a better mix of meaning, money, and motivation.
3. Check your qualifications.
Do you have the necessary experience and education to be considered a qualified
candidate in another career field? If not, then find a way to bridge the credentials
gap. This might mean making your goal more long-term while you go back to school
or receive additional training.
Also, don’t expect to begin at the same level of seniority in your new
a career that you held in your old one. You probably will have to take a lower-level job to gain the requisite skills and then move up the ranks. You must
realize that it’s not starting at the bottom but really starting from
a place that will give you mobility for career growth and, most importantly,
4. Look before you leap.
Be sure to examine all possibilities before attempting a career change. Do
an information interview with people who are actually in that career field.
Test the waters to see if you would like that work by volunteering or by doing
freelance work. You can also meet with a career management professional to
guide you so that you make a wise career choice. You do not want to jump from
the frying pan (your present career) into the fire (a career that does not meet
5. Update your job search skills.
When was the last time you looked for a job? If it’s been 5, 10, or more
years ago, then it is especially important to polish up your job-hunting skills
and techniques before you get out there. I’ve seen too many good people
fail because they made the following mistakes:
They quickly put a resume together without focusing on what they are “selling”;
they primarily looked online for open positions rather than networking; they
did not prepare for each interview thinking they can “wing” it;
and they felt uncomfortable in self – promotion (it’s on my resume,
why do I have to explain what I did?”)
Career Success Tip
Keep in mind that a successful career change can take several months, or longer,
to accomplish. The keys are a specific plan, a lot of patience, and an attitude
© Copyright Marcia Zidle
Change is a fact of life. Don’t resist it; thrive in it!
In these days of takeovers and mergers, of downsizing operations and multiple
rightsizing, chances are you’re going to be caught up in some form of
major workplace change at least once in your career. Probably several times!
Whether it’s a new job or a new boss or a new direction, the best career
survival strategy is to respond effectively to these four stages of workplace
Stage 1. Something’s Up: What To Do Before The Change
If you’re lucky, you’ll have some advance warning and time to prepare.
But most of the time, you just have an uneasy feeling. There might be lots of
hushed conversations or closed-door meetings. Top management might seem especially
busy and inaccessible. Or the rumor mill is running high.
This is not the time to stay buried behind your desk or in your office hoping
everything will be OK. Rather get out there, keep informed, and start thinking
about your options for riding the waves of change.
Stage 2: Getting Acquainted: The First Couple of Months
In the first weeks of the transition, take extra care to be visible, productive, and open to change. This is not a good time to go on vacation for two weeks.
Ask yourself: Is there still a career opportunity here or should I now begin looking
elsewhere more earnestly? You need to decide to put your energy into making
a go of it or start to let go.
If you have a new boss, ask for a meeting to discuss your background, provide
an update on your projects and find out about the new priorities for your
team, department, or division. If it’s a restructuring, understand the
reasons behind it. What is the company dealing with now, that it wasn’t
dealing with in the past? What goals is it trying to accomplish in the reorganization?
In what way can you contribute to these new goals?
What do you see on the horizon? I bet it’s change and more change!
In these days of takeovers and mergers, of downsizing operations of multiple
“rightsizing”, chances are that you are going to be caught up in
some form of major workplace change at least once in your career. Probably many
Stage 3. Settled In: The Six-Month Benchmark
Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to gauge your career health.
Do I feel like an active participant or am I on the sidelines looking in? Have
I gotten reassuring comments or positive feedback? If you are in the dark, take
the risk and request a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance.
You need to be direct. Say, “I’ve been working hard to cooperate
and adjust to the changes. So how am I doing? Are there things I need to work
on to be more effective?”
You may get an indirect response such as: “You’re doing fine, keep
up the hard work”; or “Let’s set a time to discuss this further.”
However, don’t be satisfied with an evasive or avoidance answer. Performance
feedback is essential during times of organizational transition. If all the
signs are looking good, you can start breathing a sign of relief. But, don’t
let your guard down completely. The next six months are also very important.
Stage 4. A Year After Is The Coast Clear?
By the time you’re a year or more into a major change, it’s reasonable
to wonder: Has my work life settled down at last? Has the sense of crisis passed?
If this is the case, great! You’ve come through the storms of change and
now are going on to calmer times, at least for the short term, – long
term who knows?
Or, is the atmosphere still very hectic despite many attempts to try to fix
what’s not working? Or, is everything on hold again for the nth time waiting
for someone to make the decision? Or your workload is not easing up but getting
worse? Sad to say, sometimes things never calm down, especially in troubled companies
or rapidly changing ones. If this is your scenario, you may decide to take a
break from the relentless change. You can try to find a calmer port within your
company or you may need to seriously consider finding a new position somewhere
Career Success Tip
Taking control of one’s career sometimes means making some very hard
decisions. But once a decision is made and action is taken, then you can get
on with your life. Isn’t that what career management is all about—taking
charge of one’s destiny?
Readers, are you currently dealing with a new boss, a direction, or other workplace
changes? If so, what stage are you in? How well are you doing? Let me hear your
10-Step Plan to Career Change
Ways to Conduct a Secret Job Search
Changing Careers in Midstream
Unconventional Midlife Career Change Tips
Career Change Do’s and Don’ts
Career Change Decision Making – Remember This Vital Piece
Means Everything in a Resignation Letter
How to Avoid Impossible Assignments
Changing Careers at 40: Should You Make a Midlife Career Change?
Visualize a Career Change Several Steps Ahead
Career Change Work For You!
Satisfaction: Is it Time to Stay or Leave?
Leave Your Job the Classy Way
Seven Keys to Switching from a Big Company to a Small One
Knowing When to Say Goodbye
Financial Considerations When Changing Jobs – Creating a Smooth
Transition Into a New Career
Tips for Negotiating an Earn-out
How to Improve Your Employment Application
How to Quit Your Job
6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Quit Without Notice
Plateau: Feeling Boxed In?
Jobs: Don’t Have Buyer’s Remorse
Moves: Will They Advance Your Career?
Out For These Seven Career Mistakes
Turning Down a Job Offer
Am I a Bad Employee or Do All My Past Bosses Stink?
Why I’m Glad I Got Fired
Career Change: Don’t Jump From the Frying Pan Into the Fire
Job Transition: Do It the Right Way
Build Your Change Muscles! Build Your Career!
Career Change: Is It the Best Move For You?
Career Change Without Leaving Your Organization
Tips For Starting a New Job
Are You About To Lose Your Job?
Moving to a New job or Company? Do It Right!
For the Category of Career Development:
To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.
Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been
selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.