Do you get home from work feeling content or dissatisfied? Is your career fulfilling or are you bored with what you’re doing? If you aren’t getting what you want out of your career, it might be time for a change. Whether you are looking at a career change out of necessity, or because you want to try something else entirely, the key to making the transition successful is having a detailed plan. Switching careers can be a really stressful experience. However, proper preparation can ensure that your career shift is prosperous and uncomplicated.
Research and Reflect Career Options:
Exploring where you really want to do will improve your job satisfaction immensely. If you feel disconnected from what you do for a living, there are resources to help identify your needs based on work style and personality. Online self-assessment tools such as those available for free through the Department of Labor can help you learn more about what kind of career best suits you. If you have the resources available, a career coach can also help you figure out what sort of job would satisfy your needs.
Preparation Helps Your Job Search:
Gathering information will help allow you to make an informed decision before moving into a new field. Government sites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics contain an online handbook of jobs which includes long term outlook, salary data, and career growth opportunities. Career networking sites like LinkedIn contain discussion boards centered on all kinds of career topics. You can observe what professionals in the field are experiencing and ask questions based on what you learn. Another great resource for career changers is attending conferences organized by a professional organization in your desired field. Conference speakers are usually highly-respected professionals that have a lot of valuable information to offer. Being surrounded by people who already work in your field of choice can give you a sense of what the career is like.
Leave on Good Terms:
Even if you are feeling mistreated, undervalued or poorly compensated at your current work place, remember that your present place of employment will receive the reference calls from your future employer. Keep good records if you think that your situation is so unjust that you might need to consult a mediator. It is standard business practice to give your leave notice at least two weeks in advance of your last day. Be sure your leave notice in writing and that you keep a copy of it for your own records.
Keep the official notice letter objective and professional. Many younger professionals feel the need to give a lengthy explanation, but “short and to the point” is often best. The human resource office basically just needs the information that you are leaving on a certain date so they can legally fill your position. Remember to send thank you notes to people who have been helpful in your career. You never know where your paths might cross in the future, so it is best to leave on good terms with a positive reputation.
Ease Into Your New Position:
Once you find a new position that meets your needs, be sure to pace yourself at the beginning of your new job. Take some time to observe the workplace culture. Eating lunch with coworkers, attending office social events and being approachable will help you understand how you can work harmoniously within the new environment. Instead of trying to replace a past employee, work toward establishing yourself into your new position. Keep yourself open to a wide variety of opportunities within the company. Let your HR contact and your new manager know you are open to advancement training and future growth.
Your Effort Will Make the Transition Smoother:
The smoothest career transitions will occur with detailed planning and a solid strategy. Research your options and engage in your new job with attention to corporate culture and long term goals. Having a position that makes you happy will enable you to work more effectively. Career satisfaction will also help you have a higher quality of life. That alone is well worth the efforts of a career change.
About the Guest Blogger: Erin Palmer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education, a company founded in 1971 by Nathan Bisk. Erin works with top-ranked universities such as Villanova University. Villanova offers a PHR certification prep course which can be taken 100% online. Erin can be reached on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.