Advice for Career Changers

Higher pay, better hours, boredom, office politics, and more flexibility are some of the main reasons why you might want to change careers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a relative novice; if your current job or industry doesn’t meet your needs, there’s no reason why you should stick around. However, making the transition takes some careful planning. Below are some tips that can guide in the process:

Look for Tangential Areas to Your Current Career

The easiest careers changes are often to industries that are related to your current job. So social workers might become teachers. Restaurant managers might become caterers. Sometimes this transition can be smooth, while other times you might need additional training.

Become Certified for your Career Change

Additional education is one of the smartest ways to change careers. An associate’s degree or certificate is sometimes enough if you have sufficient professional experience. Other times you might need to go back for a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you can somehow relate this training to your current job, there is an outside chance that your employer might cover some or all of the cost. Although you might be expected to stick around at your current job for a few more years.

Expand Your Career Change Search Globally

Career requirements in the United States don’t always match those of other countries. To become an English teacher in the US, for example, you often need a specialized degree. To become an English teacher abroad, however, sometimes you only need to be a native speaker. This is just one example of course. The rigorous training and certification that might be required for a career change in the States can sometimes be bypassed if you go abroad.

Lastly, be prepared to take a small salary cut or demotion during your first year or two. Without extensive work experience and without specialized training, you might have to make some momentary sacrifices. But if it’s a job you enjoy, the money should eventually come.

Places to Launch a Career

With the current financial crisis, you might need to reassess where you send future resumes and cover letters. Analyst firms on Wall Street and manufacturing plants in Michigan might not be the best options. There might be other places (industries and locations) where your current training might enjoy higher demand.

Industries to Launch a New Career

When it comes to the hottest industries of today and tomorrow, most of them seem to be in high-tech or health-related fields. Computer science, alternative medicine, nursing, programming, dentistry, and Web design are just some examples. They’re all service-oriented, and most of them are expected to enjoy faster-than-average growth over the next 8 years. Almost all of these areas, however, require specific training. So you usually need to become certified before you can begin practicing professionally. The flipside is that rising demand can potentially offer you greater job security and earning potential in the long run.

Locations to Launch a New Career

Despite our recent financial troubles, the US is still one of the leading forces in job creation and innovation. However, there are other countries that are doing as well, if not better. China, India, and Brazil are popular destinations for many globally oriented employees. But there are many other nations that desperately need to fill various sectors. For example, Australia actively recruits people from abroad due to its labor shortage. By sending your resume and cover letter out of the country, you can potentially tap into a much larger pool of opportunities.