How to Successfully Shift (Switch) Jobs
1. Understand What You’re Capable of
Perhaps you’re not happy with your current role but it’s a great place to learn about your capabilities. What tasks can you handle and which ones have you struggled with so far? Let your current job act as a yardstick in measuring what you enjoy doing and what throws you off balance.
Today, many job candidates are discovering more about themselves by switching into industries they never gave thought to in the first place. Start by asking yourself what value you would like to add to yourself, the companies you keep checking out and then, the industry as a whole in the long run. Then identify your strengths and weaknesses by drawing from a pool of your experience and previous feedback from your boss, co-workers and yes, even trusted family and friends. Self-assessment is essential to self-development.
2. Carefully Examine The Job Description
Critically examine the new role or field of interest you’re interested in by doing some online research. In the job listing, you may find some terms you may not be familiar with. Let Google simplify the process for you.
When you’ve done this, you could also reach out to people in those roles who can give you some more background into the career you’re about to step into. Researching will take time but it’s worth the effort.
3. Have A Proper Plan
Quitting your current job without moving into your dream role is a risky move, especially when you’ve got bills to pay and rising debt. It’s always good to have a cool headed approach by coming up with a plan.
Write down your goals and prepare a detailed, realistic and actionable plan tailored to directing you on the right path. This may take time, especially when you also need to build an emergency fund with your current job.
You don’t have to struggle alone with the planning process. Seek counseling from a career coach. Free counseling comes from networking and also reading blog posts and LinkedIn featured articles on the same subject.
4. Take Online Courses
Your new area of interest would require getting your creative juices flowing so investing time in learning more about the new role is very important. Whether it’s a self-paced talent acquisition course or time sensitive course with deadlines, it’s a constant reminder of your ultimate goal to make that shift.
Also, you’re more likely to push through with the course especially if it’s not free. At times when you may feel demotivated, remind yourself, “If I don’t develop myself, I will not move to a better job, better work environment and better pay”
It’s always great to set time aside to prepare for each class; rest, eat well and read up in advance so you don’t feel lost. Joining in with other eager course mates has an unspoken effect of challenging you to keep showing up. It’s important to always have a positive mindset. You could also try reaching out to those colleagues who seem a bit advanced in the subject area. You’d be surprised after spending sometime receiving value simply because you asked. Remember, every step, no matter how small, counts.
5. Modify Your Network
The people you choose to associate with have an effect on the job you’re seeking. If you’d want to make a successful switch to a new role or field, connect with people who can encourage you along the journey; people who will be vulnerable, tell you the truth and support you.
Interact with achievers who were able to switch into the role you’re currently planning to shift to. Since motivation and positive attitude from such a network will be contagious, dare to associate yourself with motivated people who share your interests. There’s always something you can learn from each of them.
6. Job Shadowing
This is a great way to learn more about the role you wish to shift to. By carefully observing a professional while they work, you’ll have a firm grasp of what the job entails. Job shadowing could take weeks or months. It could also involve helping the professional you’re following out and, depending on his/her personality, he/she may give you the opportunity to receive the much needed answers to the burning questions you have.
If you’re current job allows room for some flexibility, go ahead and try this approach and before you know it, you’re already gaining experience before you land your next dream job!
7. Prepare Your Resume and Cover Letter
Switching to a new career means you need a fresh resume. While preparing a resume can cause a slight headache to many job seekers, give yourself some space by bringing this up early enough so you don’t have to struggle later on.
Also, bear in mind that just because you’re switching to a completely different job or industry does not mean your current skills are no longer relevant. Your soft skills are transferable.In your resume and cover letter, portray how your transferable skills from your previous job are still very important to the new role. Be creative with the whole process. Find out what both jobs have in common and capitalize on that. Breakdown the complexity of the new role by explaining how you’re a good fit in an easy and understandable manner.
You’ve probably been overthinking making a switch. Just start. Don’t let your dreams remain buried by discouragement. A year from now, you don’t want to be the one wishing you had started today. If you never move, you’ll never know and if you never discover more, you’ll never grow.