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At The Liminal You’re Limitless: How To Navigate Transitioning Careers

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Finger pressing a new career start button. Concept of occupational or professional retraining or job opportunities. Composite between a hand photography and a 3D background

The prospect of changing careers can be intimidating. You might be concerned about taking on extra debt to pursue more schooling or making the wrong choice in a new career. The good news is that there are ways to jump from a job that’s not fulfilling to one with more opportunities and better pay.

Wondering how to get started? Keep reading to learn how you can navigate transitioning careers!

Know Your Goals in Making a Career Change

If you’re trapped in a job without any opportunities for advancement, the motivation for finding a new career path might be pretty clear-cut. As some experts suggest, a desire for advancement opportunities is the leading reason people change jobs. No, it’s not always a bad boss or wrong benefits package.

On the other hand, if you hate your job, you might need to find a new calling. Ensure it’s the job or career path you’re dissatisfied with and not the people you work with. Sometimes a few bad apples on your work team can sour you on a career path you might otherwise like in a healthier work environment. 

But in other instances, you might feel lost. The job doesn’t inspire you to work hard. In those cases, it’s essential to know why you want to make a career change and take some time to write down your goals in making a career change.

Talking things over with a loved one can help you weed out career paths that don’t measure up, and it can help give you more ownership of where you want to go next. You may crave a better income, but you may prioritize the ability to live anywhere or work remotely more than income. It is important to keep tabs on which attributes are the most important for you.

Jump Right In

A big obstacle to making a career change is apprehension. It’s easy to start wallowing in self-doubt, but if it is your true desire to see change happen, you have to push through it. The best advice is to jump right in and research and explore, even if you’re not an expert in the area you want to work.

Are you still learning how to code or write the perfect press release? That’s okay, as long as you’re making progress and can show evidence of initiative.

Jumping right in and sending out applications or meeting face to face shows a level of ambition that employers will notice. Even if you lack a big resume of experience, you’ll show eagerness to learn on the job until you get it right.

Roughly half of all workers make a significant career change, so if you’re thinking of hopping from business to healthcare, you’re not alone. Making a significant change can be stressful for even the most prepared people, so find an outlet to work through your concerns.

Make a habit of journaling each night before you go to bed. Jot down a list of the pros and cons of a given field or plan of attack. By doing so, you’ll create a written record of your thought process that you can refer back to in the months ahead. Talk with people who are in the career you seek to join.  Talk with your friends and family about your desire to enter a new field. 

Own Your Transferable Skills

When you’re chipping away at a new career path, it can seem like you’re starting from scratch. But in nearly every instance, you’ll bring something to the table to help you in a new position. Remember that persist onward every time you feel like throwing in the towel!

You may have developed into a fast typer at your previous jobs, a personable presence in the office, or a creative contributor. These are all intangible skills that will transfer to any job.

Know how to articulate these skills on a resume. Employers want to see that you’ll be an easy and dutiful trainee if they decide to hire you. Choose clear language and lead with your successes.

And when in doubt, seek the help of others who are already in the career you are seeking. They will understand how to frame your skills in a resume or cover letter to attract an employer.  You can also talk with a career counselor who may have suggestions to guide you toward a new and better career.

When Transiting Careers, Know It Will Take Time

One of the most important things to know is that it can take time to make a move from one career to another. Be patient with yourself, and give yourself rewards when you achieve certain milestones along the way. Most importantly, make sure that you have a support group in your corner to rally you when the workload or stress starts to feel overwhelming.

Changing careers means that you’re sitting in a liminal space — and on the threshold of something new. Don’t beat yourself up if you think you should have made a change earlier. Embrace the opportunity now, and look for the right new path.

A good step is to pursue additional education. Career-focused training programs offer an efficient and faster education path to a new career. Within significantly less time than it takes to earn a 4-year degree, you can be certified for an in-demand job within a year.

Look into careers as a receptionist in a medical setting, or try something hands-on like repairing HVAC systems. Or switch things up and go into business or addiction counseling. The options are endless, so it’s a matter of determining what you’re passionate about, what can provide the hours and income you need, and let you grow.

Choosing an online program means more flexibility in your schedule. If you’re able to take your class asynchronously, you could add a part-time job within your new field to your daily schedule.

Gather As Much Info As You Can

Information gathering is a critical component of transitioning careers, too. If you’re making a career change at 40, your needs will be different from those of a college student just starting. You’ll have to learn about the costs of continuing education and the time commitment necessary to move on to something new — especially if you have a family.

Can you shadow someone in the field you’re pursuing? Can you volunteer a few times a week to gain experience and connections? Can you talk to others about your career ideas and ask them what they think?  Have you always been told you have specific skills that will enhance your desire for certain careers you are considering?

Remember, the more hands-on experiences — and face time — you can get, the more informed you’ll be. And the bottom line is that you want to find ways to take advantage of the resources around you.

Also, understand the expenses you’ll incur for making a career switch. You might not be able to make a clean jump from your current job to the next one, so stash away some savings to cover any gap expenses or plan on picking up a short-term gig to tide you over.

Network Like Crazy

Knowing how to network is one of the best skills you can develop as you search for a new job. Networking involves developing contacts in areas of interest — and then maintaining those contents over time. Since creating a strong reputation and projecting a sense of likability is vital, you’ll have to be persistent in cultivating new connections.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can do this. Social media sites like LinkedIn are built for networking and allow you to showcase your resume and talents to recruiters and people in your network. Attend speaking engagements and try to be present and mingle at community functions if you’re hoping to land a job in the same place.

In the same vein, you can find networking events in most major cities. Dress confidently, show up on time and start talking to people in related fields who might help you find the job of your dreams. And don’t forget to bring a clean and memorable business card that you can handle to new contacts.

When you connect with someone in your chosen field, ask if you can buy them a coffee and talk. Often people are very willing to share their career experiences. And someone who knows that you’re interested in switching to their field can provide a more honest account of the latest trends in the industry, including the job market.

There’s no harm in asking! After you’ve scored an informal meeting with a new connection, be sure to follow up and thank them for their time. You never know when this person could help you find the right role down the road!

Make Your Move

Transitioning careers can take a lot of work and time, but it can be worth it in the long run. Don’t toil at the same old job that makes you unhappy or leaves you feeling underappreciated. Make a change, and you’ll boost your confidence, happiness, and potentially your income.

All you have to do is jump in and get started. When you’re ready to reroute your career path, contact us, and see if we can help you!

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