Monday, January 31, 2011

Preparing to Transition Careers

Chances are you will eventually have to transition careers some time in your lifetime. Career transitions can be categorized three ways:

  • A new occupation in a new field
  • A new occupation in the same field
  • The same occupation within a new field

Career transitions can be voluntary or necessary, but either way, you’ll benefit by giving them careful thought and preparation.

Identify Your Reasons

Consider why you’re changing careers. Are you basing your reasons on temporary circumstances or issues that could be solved? For example, did you give yourself ample time to adjust to working for a new, difficult manager? If you are no longer feeling challenged have you requested more complex projects?

Know Yourself

Assess your interests, values, skills, and personality traits to target a suitable occupation. Tap into the extensive self-assessment tools/tests available to assist you, many of which are free.

Do Your Homework

Take the time to thoroughly research occupations, industries, and companies of interest. Read career and industry overviews, job profiles and postings, and growth projections. Talk to people who have experience. The more homework you do, the better informed your decisions will be.

Formulate a Plan

Develop a clear transition plan by factoring in your current life situation and any financial, educational, and timing considerations. Think about small steps you can take toward your career transition, such as enrolling in a class or volunteering in a field of interest.

Gain Experience

Any experience you develop in your targeted career will be extremely valuable, whether it be volunteering, interning, working part time, freelancing, or temping. In addition to gaining experience, you will acquire insight and, hopefully, develop professional contacts.

Career transitions require patience and time and may be humbling; however, with the right planning, you can make a smooth and satisfying transition.

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