Changing jobs is a stressful experience. Some will say it is like adding a new full-time job on top of your current position. If you want to change careers, you can expect to almost double the time it takes you to find a job. Before changing jobs or making a career switch, consider these 4 things.
1. Do you want a job change or career switch?
Changing jobs is a bit easier than changing careers. It means you still have the same connections within a career. This is useful to you as you begin your job hunting process.
However, if you are making a career switch, you have a whole new batch of connections to make. Some new networking is called for, as well as, things like resume makeovers or job interview prep. These will be needed as you will be meeting with new people in a new career. You also have new skills to learn.
This does not mean it cannot be accomplished. It simply means the workload is different. It is safer to first examine the reasons why you want to leave your current job. Is it the job you don’t like or the career?
2. Talk to a career coach
It is great to seek out a career coach to get a dispassionate point of view. A career switch can be an emotional time. You need that person who can look at what you are doing and give you honest advice.
You may not like what you hear all the time, but that is the point. The last thing you want is a career coach who accepts your money only to tell you what you want to hear.
Career changes do not happen overnight. Talk to someone who has experience in dealing with people who try to make the career switch.
3. Are you prepared to be paid less?
The job you have now pays you well because you worked for it. Changing careers could mean starting all over again. And typically people without experience are not paid as well as experienced professionals. You may need to consider that a career switch means getting paid less.
More so, given the time it takes to find a new job in a new career, you have to consider your current financial responsibilities. Bills, rent, mortgage, food, and yes, interviewing for work all carry a cost. Make sure you have a long-term financial plan in place.
4. Are you prepared to answer that one question without complaining?
You cannot avoid it. It will happen. These interview questions will come up in every interview you have during your career switch:
“So, tell me...Why are you changing careers now? You so much experience in your current career.”
What they are really asking you is something to think about:
“Are you just leaving your current career to take a break because you are unhappy? Will you go back to it again later, if this new career gets difficult?”
If your response to these questions sounds like complaining, they will assume you are not ready for a career switch. The reason is that the right time to switch careers is usually when you feel like you have conquered it. You did it all in one career, and now you are happy to try a new one.
Why does this matter? It paints the picture of you as someone who does not run away from challenges. Above all, you come across as confident and positive, the type of person a company loves!