Over time, professionals’ interests and career ambitions tend to change. It can be intimidating to consider a career change, but with the right mindset and preparation, career changes can be exciting opportunities to enter a new phase of your life.
Before making any lasting decisions, you should consider the underlying reasons behind your desire for change. Take a mental inventory of the job functions within your role, and reflect on what aspects of your current position you find dissatisfying. Are you looking for a change in pay and benefits, working environment, or company culture? Do you simply want a better work-life balance?
Depending on your priorities, you will want to frame your job search with a specific goal in mind. Once you have defined your aspirations for a new job, you should next consider whether there is a specific industry that you want to work in. If you already have experience in the industry, that’s great, but don’t let a lack of experience prevent you from investigating a new field. There are a wide array of roles within every industry, and many of the necessary job skills are transferable between fields.
By now, you’ve likely had the opportunity to assess your skill set. By reflecting on the various roles you’ve held in your previous careers, you may notice common job functions that you feel especially drawn to or competent in. If you are currently working, now is the time to talk to your boss or coworkers about your professional strengths and competencies. Speaking to your professional peers can reveal insights you hadn’t yet considered or may have overlooked.
If you are concerned about lacking the necessary hard skills for a particular job, you can always upskill yourself. Check the job listings for the career you’re interested in, and take note of the common skills you will need to develop. Don’t let a lack of prior experience stop you from developing new skills to get the job you want. Recruiters will notice your commitment to the new role and consider your initiative to pursue self-improvement as a positive in your application.
A career change doesn’t always mean an employer change. Sometimes, the right fit for a new career can be available within your own company. An open secret of job recruiting is that internal hiring is one of the top preferred ways for recruiters to fill an open position. This can be an especially attractive option if you enjoy your company’s culture, work environment, or coworkers but want a change of pace from your current role. Talk to your company’s hiring manager to learn more about the available opportunities within your organization. You may be surprised to discover a better-fitting position was hiding right under your nose.
Once you have found a desirable new fit, you want to begin preparing for the interview. One of the most exciting aspects of job hunting in 2023 is that many other applicants are in the same spot as you. During the pandemic, millions of people reassessed their current positions, and career shifts have become more popular than ever. The best hiring managers and recruiters have adapted their practices to be more flexible and inclusive for newcomers to fill job vacancies. A job hopper may have been cause for concern in the past, but these days, a lateral shift in positions and fields can be a sign of initiative, passion, and personal growth.
During your interview, be sure to follow interviewing best practices, such as arriving on time, dressing for success, and bringing copies of your resume. Always speak positively about previous employers, as you want to show respect for the experience they brought you. This is the best time to convey the aspects of the position that attracted you to the role and highlight how you have prepared yourself for the daily job functions. Think back to those priorities you outlined in your job search and consider the ways this position satisfies them.
Meet Our Contributor — Julie Lindgren
Julie Lindgren is Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Whitman Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based staffing agency. Julie brings over 25 years of staffing experience along with a wealth of knowledge and insights to the staffing sector, and her long-standing relationships with industries and leaders in the DC make her a thought leader in the staffing conversation. As a National Association of Personnel Services Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), Julie is highly qualified to counsel both companies and candidates on effective hiring practices and revenue-generating results.