Have you reached a point in your career where you no longer find happiness in your work? Do you get bored, fed up, and frustrated at the office? Do you want to put your hands up in the air and say I quit? Or are you between jobs and decided to change your path? If the answers to all those questions are yes, it might be the time to start thinking about shifting careers.
Jumping a ship is not as easy as playing it out in your head; it requires careful planning, research, and time. But with some effort and a lot of patience, you can effectively change your career without getting stuck in limbo.
First, let’s define what a career shift is.
What Is A Career Shift?
Carrer shift means changing the type of job or profession you’ve been doing. It can be a move from Marketing to Design, for example, or from Sales to Website Development. A career shift can be a simple change in industries, a complete change in a profession, or a change in your type of employment.
An example of industry change is when someone works in the Oil and Gas industry and searches for jobs in Clothing eCommerce. The knowledge required is different, but you can stay in the same business area, in an other sector.
A complete change in your profession happens when, for example, you work with marketing and decide to pursue a career in medicine. You go through years of study to get your new degree, besides the years of residency, and those are certainly more significant moves.
A change in the type of employment happens when you work for a company and decide to become an entrepreneur. You open your own company and become your own boss.
Now that you know what a career shift is, you can ask yourself. How do I make a career shift? That’s our next topic.
How Do I Make a Career Shift?
To make a career shift, there are eight recommended steps to follow:
- Check and decide your options
- Make the plan
- Start your workday early
- Use resources available
- Network with the right people
- Get the right education
- Start changing careers as a side project
- Learn in and from your career shift phase
In the next section, we will detail each step.
1) Decide What You Want to Do
Take some time to figure out what exactly it is that you want. Are you looking for a promotion? The same job in another organization? A different industry? Or do you want to switch direction and go for an entirely new career completely?
If you’re naturally good at something (it may be sales, marketing, coding, writing, etc.), if there’s a market for it, and more importantly, if you are passionate and care about all this, then this is your thing.
There’s a way to monetize almost every skill by leveraging the power of the Internet. Find your superpower and do something about it.
2) Make the Plan to Shift Careers
While you’re still at the old company, do some analysis of everything you love doing, all the things you’re good at, and the ones you aren’t, considering the things people are willing to pay for.
Write down your goals and ambitions and charter a plan that will get you there. A detailed action plan spanning a few months will give you focus and help you make the right decisions.
To shift careers takes time, but without a plan, you’ll be in the transition phase for a much more extended period.
You may want to find a mentor or a career counselor. Professionals that have been there and know the ins and outs can help you plan your shift.
3) Start Your Workday Early
Here comes the time to start making sacrifices to reinvent yourself. You need to be up early and work on what you believe in every morning no matter what, and it will increase your productivity.
Begin by doing your research. Who are your competitors, your target audience, where are they spending time online, and how can you reach them.
Then, start building your portfolio. If you’re already known in the niche (meaning if the service you’ll provide is something you’re currently doing in your job), find potential clients and do some work for free.
Let them know you’re available and are starting something on your own. Ask them to tell their friends. Use this free work (but which will be super quality) for your new portfolio.
Create a site and add it together with a touching and professional-looking about and contact page. Add a blog and update it frequently. Share your insights on what’s going on in your industry, write practical articles on things you’ve struggled with, etc.
4) Use Resources Available
There’s a lot of valuable tools and resources to help you to shift careers.
Use job review sites like Glassdoor or The Job Crowd to get insight into what it’s like to be working in a specific industry, company, or job. You’ll get a good idea of what responsibilities the job entails, as well as its financial implications.
Sometimes a quick Google search can give you plenty of content on all those questions you have on the top of your head, but when it doesn’t, try Quora.
The community on the Q&A site is brilliant and gives well-researched answers. Contributors to the site are most often people from the industry themselves.
If you wonder how it would be to work in marketing at Walmart, don’t be surprised if an actual current or ex-employee responds to your question. Search through old questions and some helpful information about challenges to shift careers or your potential future career.
5) Network With the Right People
If you want to break into a new industry or company, contact people on the inside. When they know that you’re interested, they’ll inform you of a new job opening or perhaps personally recommend you.
Hiring managers are always more likely to hire somebody who has been recommended by somebody they know.
Change your environment to change your mindset, and thus your reality.
Start networking with the people in your surroundings. If you’re regularly communicating with people who complain all the time, who aren’t ambitious, or who put you down and don’t believe in you, you won’t get far. Instead, find new like-minded, creative souls.
Do it online first – connect to influencers on social media, contact potential clients of yours, join communities of people with the same vision.
Another great way to meet new people is at conferences and events in the industry. Do not directly ask for available job openings when you first meet them but instead show an interest in their products and services, creating a relationship.
6) Get the Right Education to Shift Careers
Depending on the career you are aiming for, you might face a gap in skills and qualifications for the position.
Do some research beforehand, when making your plan, on the necessary education and experience required. Many places offer part-time classes for working people in the evening after work, where you can take courses for specific skills or even a degree.
You can also learn skills online in the comfort of your home on sites like Udacity. They give a certificate as proof of completion of the course for you to keep as a record.
If you can, you should also take the time to gain some experience in the job market you are targeting as an intern, volunteer, temp, or consultant. Develop a parallel career alongside the one you are in until you reach a level of stability in your new position when you can feel safe to quit and go full-time in your new career.
7) Start Your Career Shift Project On The Side
Setting up a side business can be a welcome strategy to start moving slowly to a new career without breaking the bank. Besides, you will be learning new knowledge and skills at the end of the day or at least giving your resume a face-lift.
If it becomes successful, you can eventually quit your job to pursue the business full-time. A home-based business makes you independent of work constraints and the stagnant environment, allowing you to work flexible hours at your own will.
If you have a good idea, then partner with somebody you trust and pursue it.
8) Learn In And From Your Career Shift Phase
Learning, like reinventing yourself, must be a never-ending process, so accept it as a journey and find a way to enjoy it.
It means that you should be reading books on the subject that concerns you all the time. It will help if you stay up-to-date on the latest news in your industry. Trying to shift careers is going to give you an excellent opportunity to learn.
Attend seminars, take online courses to get better at what you do. Also, learn other useful skills in demand, like copywriting, coding, web design, etc.
To shift careers is a serious mission. So, get clear about what you want to achieve and what you don’t want to have or be in your future ideal lifestyle.
It’s best to write that down in detail. Then, read it out loud every few days. What’s more, journal your thoughts every morning and go back to this vision. At the end of each day, review what you did connect to it and how you performed. That’s a sure way never to lose track of yourself and your goals or get distracted.
When the right time comes, and you’ve started making some income from your new endeavor (it may take more time, depending on how much effort and time you invest in it daily), quit your job and never look back again.
Christian has over ten years of experience in marketing agencies. Currently, he has been dedicating his time to a tech startup and also writing for major publications. He loves podcasts and reading to keep up with the latest trends in marketing.