5 Tips for Choosing a New Career

So you graduated from college and found a job. It provided a good salary, job security, benefits, and it was close to home. It was the perfect job! So why are you now considering a career change? Well, there could be several reasons. More than likely, your current job isn't as perfect as you thought it was. Yes, good pay, stability, and convenience are important, but you're now finding out that there's much more to a fulfilling career than stability. Or it may just be that you're bored and need a change - it does happen. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure that (1) a career change is the answer and (2) your new career addresses the issues that have driven you to the crossroads where you find yourself.

The following are 5 tips that will help you make a successful transition.

1. Look at the issues that are pushing you toward a career change.
When contemplating a career transition, the first thing you should do is determine what has caused you to be unhappy or discontent with your current situation. At the same time you should also consider what it is that you do enjoy about your current job. Almost everyone making a career change can put together a list of reason's they need to make a change, but most can also think of quite a few things about their current job that they enjoy. It's important you do both. Are you not making enough money? Are you unsatisfied with your company's management? Are you sick of the people you work with? Once you've compiled a list of the pros and cons of your current career, ask yourself whether or not these issues are likely to get better or worse once you change careers. Are you likely to make more money by changing careers? Is the work environment going to be substantially better? Are the people you work with going to be more enjoyable? Also, will your new career provide all of the benefits of your last career? In about fifty percent of cases, making a career change does not improve an individual's situation - and in some cases it gets worse. Make sure that pursuing a new career is the right answer. Once you've determined that it is, make concrete goals to support your career change and don't look back.

2. Work to understand your inner critic
Take some time to determine what is really preventing you from reaching your career goals. Sometimes it isn't your career that is keeping you from the career success or wonderful life you envision, it's you. Are there other professionals in your career finding success? Have you been passed up for promotion opportunities by individuals who you perceive as less qualified? Are you making less than what you were expecting to make before getting into your current profession? Are you finding it difficult to get along with the people in your field of work or at your company? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before looking to a new career as the solution. If you can answer yes more than one of these questions, there is a good chance that things won't improve even after finding a new career. If after analyzing your current career you come to conclusion that the issues driving you to a career change are intrinsic to the career itself, then by all means start exploring new career opportunities.

3. Recognize recurring patterns in your life
Don't jump ship immediately. Take some time, while at your current job, to better explore what it is that you seek in a career and work setting, and what really fulfills you. Don't start searching for a new career based on a momentary whim or because you've had a bad week or tough project. Once you've begun entertaining the idea of changing careers, just sit back, focus on your current job for a while and observe what it is about your current situation that you don't like, as well as what you do like. Keep a detailed record of what you discover. This will help you identify what exactly it is you need to look for in a new career. Individuals who are hasty about their career change often find themselves several months, or even years, later back in a career they don't like.

4. Network and investigate career interests that map to your goals and needs
After you have discovered what you are seeking in a job and work setting, try to locate a few careers that meet your criteria. Also take some time to meet with professionals working in careers you are considering in order to find out what they like and dislike about their jobs. Take time to evaluate any career meeting your criteria, so you do not rush into another unsatisfying situation. Investing the time to investigate different careers by meeting with industry professionals will also help you start developing a professional network that can launch into a great position in your new career field.

5. Make a plan that takes your current and future financial situation into account.
It is not easy making a career change so consider all costs associated with transitioning into a new career. You may have to go back to school, move, or acquire a loan to meet your new career objectives. Be realistic about your finances during a career transition. When considering any potential career, you'll also want to think long and hard about what your earning potential will be. When individuals move into a new career field they are often not as experienced as other professionals who have been working in the career for many years. Will your earn as much in your new career as you do in your current job? Taking a paycut can make a new career unsatisfying for some. Just make sure you know what you're getting into and be prepared.

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