How to Change Careers

How to Change Careers

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If you are thinking about searching for a new career, you are not alone. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic changed the professional landscape in many ways in the U.S. and worldwide.

According to a recent survey conducted by iHire, 61.8% of 2,871 job seekers reported that they were considering significant career changes over the coming year. For many of those workers, the interest in a new career stems from the pandemic’s negative impact on the U.S. labor market. People want to find a career path that can withstand closures and stay-at-home orders, allowing them to thrive instead of waiting for something else to throw them a massive curveball.

Why Do People Change Careers?

Beyond any coronavirus-related effects, there are many reasons people opt for career transitions. Here are a few reasons that may resonate for you:

You Need to Feel Challenged

If you sense that your job will never offer you the challenges you need to grow professionally and advance in the company, you might need to move on. No matter how much you enjoy your co-workers and employer, the need to expand and express your abilities is often decisive for earnest, goal-oriented workers like yourself.

You Want to Work for a Company That Shares Your Values

Even if your values aligned with those of your organization when you signed on—or maybe you hadn’t developed a passion for your values at that point—you might feel differently now. It isn’t unusual to develop a more profound commitment to values as you gain more life experience. It becomes a strong component for job satisfaction. For example, if you want more financial stability to buy a home or start a family, your current job might not support your needs and goals.

You Feel Drawn to a New Industry or Career Path

It isn’t unusual to develop a new passion at some point in your career. The draw might become so powerful you feel it is worth the risk and effort to go for it.

When Is the Right Time for a Career Change?

This could be the right time for you to make a change and you have no doubt about it. But, for some, it’s not as clear. They don’t always know consciously that it is time to consider a successful career change. Are you unsure or know someone who has been thinking about it? A few key signs to look for include ongoing and overwhelming fatigue, diminished self-esteem, and a lack of drive for anything but a paycheck.

If you notice those signs or others, it’s important to allow yourself some time for introspection to determine what you want to do to both earn a living and find satisfaction.

You Can Make the Transition to a New Career on Your Terms

Whether you felt or are feeling the impact of the pandemic on your life through job uncertainty or a desire to make a career change, there are several ways to do it without causing unnecessary disruption to your current job and home life. Experts offer advice as well as a number of approaches for pursuing a new career path, including:

Choose a New Career to That Meets Criteria That Matters to You

The last thing you want to do is choose a new career that has no effect on the way you feel now. You want a change. You want to choose a career path that fuels your passion and offers you rewards, including and beyond compensation. Here are a few things to consider as you decide:

Evaluate Your Current Situation; Compare It to Your Goals and Values

Take stock of your current work situation and your responses to it. Do you feel stressed out? Do you feel unhappy or unfulfilled? Do you dread your daily tasks? Do you disagree with the vision of your organization?

Keep Job Security in Mind When Making Your Choice

It is imperative to consider job security when making a career change. While your reasons for exploring new options might have more to do with fulfillment, you want to make sure it will keep you employed for several years. If your specific career direction does not look promising, search for something with more stability in the same field and along the same lines professionally.

Don’t Discount the Value of Work-Life Balance

Like most workers, you don’t want to add more stress to your life. Try to determine how stressful an industry is and how other workers in your field manage to enjoy a healthy balance of work and personal life.

Take Stock of Your Current Skills and Talents

Before you decide to embark on a new career journey, review hobbies, goals and values, special talents and abilities, transferable skills, and previous volunteer projects or jobs where you excelled.

It’s just as important to identify any skills gaps you need to fill to take on your new career—scan job postings to explore a specific career before starting the process to take on that role. Learn about areas and abilities that might require upskilling or reskilling, which means learning new skills to succeed in your new profession.

Create a Career Action Plan

Creating a career action plan that lists your professional goals and the ways you plan to achieve them. It can be vital to your success, especially if you juggle an existing job or school and family. With a robust action plan, you are more likely to make smart decisions as you plot your professional course. Try using these steps as you form your action plan:

Revise Your Resumé

Updating your experience with the work you’ve done for your present company. You can compare your skills and experience to job advertisements in your desired profession, making it easier to detect any skills gaps and qualifications you’ll need.

Explore Learning Opportunities

Look for ways to gain the expertise you’ll need for success. Make sure your online program offers everything you need to bring your resumé up to speed.

Develop New Skills and Earn Certifications

You’ve probably already earned an undergraduate degree or, perhaps, even a graduate degree. Still, your new career might require advanced or niche studies and certifications to round out your knowledge and skills.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution—micro-certificates from select online universities. You can earn a micro-certificate in areas that will bolster your abilities, confidence, and marketability. These programs allow you to fulfill basic qualifications for your desired career that might otherwise call for an additional degree. Here are some micro-certificates you can earn to enhance your skills base:

Revamp Your Resumé

Once you’ve gone back to school or received some upskilling training to prepare for your career change, it’s time to revamp your resumé to reflect everything you have to offer your new employer. Highlight some of that training; be sure to add in those micro-certificates. Write a cover letter that hits the high points of the job postings.


With your resumé and cover letter polished and ready for submission, it’s time to start sharpening your networking abilities, if you haven’t already. Whether you make LinkedIn connections, join groups and follow desirable companies, visit job fairs, or contact mentors in the field, seeking advice from industry insiders can be critical to your career switch.

Continually search for ways to expand your network by joining professional organizations in your new area or reaching out to former professors and college peers. Also, you never know if a friend, family member, or current coworker might have a lead. One networking idea is to order up some business cards you can pass out at gatherings, when appropriate, and make a key impression. The key to networking is to approach your contacts with genuine curiosity and gratitude. Consider these opportunities informal informational interviews to learn as much as possible from people in-the-know.

Talk to a Recruiter

Reach out to a job recruiter in your field, and discuss the available options. This professional can offer insights into your new professional at the local level.

Apply for Jobs

This is the step you’ve been working toward, so embrace it. When you come across an opportunity that appeals to you and feels worth taking on, fill out your application and submit it, along with your revamped resumé and a customized cover letter. You might not find the right job on the first try, but it helps to be persistent. You may yet find the right fit for you and your future employer.

Launch Your Career Change Project Armed with the Right Skills and Knowledge

In today’s fast-paced professional world, employers need you to come on board with the skills and knowledge they need. JWU can help you prepare quickly and within the time frame that works for you. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].