Making a Successful Career Change

Making a career change is a strong and decisive choice to improve one's career and salary. There are many things to consider when making a career change, the foremost being having a plan, evaluating your skills and having reasonable expectations.

Prioritize, strategize and deploy

Tackle a career change as a priority project, creating a strategy that will help you through the entire process. It goes without saying that switching careers takes time, energy and patience, so you must be prepared for this. One of the first things to do when deciding on a new career is to evaluate transferable skills that will help you get a boost in a new career. It is not essential to limit yourself to similar jobs, especially if you intend to go in for specialized education.

Finding a mentor to guide you through the process can be very helpful. Utilize the resources of your networks, career and alumni offices from previous schools and current employers. Getting a part-time job in your new career field might be a good way to see how you can adjust. The following article, Careers and Job Outlook contains further information regarding career changes in a technical or vocational industry.

Assess your skills

The first step to a successful career change is assessing your long term plan and the kind of work you want to be doing. Next, evaluate your career options and make a plan to fill in the gaps through education and networking - in essence, acquire new skills and learn how to find a new job.

Being able to pinpoint your transferable skills is essential. These are skills that are learned from a variety of sources and are often closer to reality than formal job descriptions. Transferable skills form the essence of a job and are very useful in a new career. Use a worksheet to categorize and rate your transferable skills.

Use professional resources

It's also a good idea to look for occupational information, from job and career sites and HR professionals, so you can make an informed decision. Reading the help wanted classified ads is a great way to find out about specific skills or qualifications that employers are searching for. It is also essential to write a resume that highlights all your skills: a functional resume, which describes your skills and gives examples of how you put them to use; or a combination resume, which lists your skills and combines them with your work experience, working backwards chronologically.

Job security vs. high salary

With the major changes in the labor market, it's a good idea to switch to a high paying yet stable career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has good information on the highest paid jobs in the US along with future trends and labor cycles. Keep in mind that many high paying jobs might not necessarily be stable, so instead search for options that will build your long term career.

Trade schools or traditional colleges: which are better?

There has been a continued debate over whether a four-year college education is better than a diploma from a trade school. The essence is that for job-specific training, trade schools are a good option, since the education and training is particularly focused. Many colleges also offer majors that have a strong focus, but the learning has a wider and more theoretical base, so it takes more time and is also more expensive. Another huge advantage trade schools have is the way that they incorporate hands-on experience, which is great experience for the real world.

The number of students going to trade schools has been increasing steadily, especially for non-traditional students and adult learners who want to make a career change. An important aspect to keep in mind is that credits earned at many vocational schools can often be used for earning a degree at a regular four-year college, so many are using trade schools as an important first step to start a career.

Rising fields

Careers in education are poised to offer great potential as the number of returning students grows. The Federal government is also a very steady and safe place to work and has jobs in a huge range of fields. Healthcare, nursing and pharmacy are also great fields to get into in this slow economy, as they will continue to grow.




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