Many of us at one time or another have contemplated making a career change. The reasons may vary from being unhappy with your career choice, becoming disengaged in your job, or wanting to reinvent your career upon becoming unemployed.
Whatever the reason, there is one big four-letter word often standing in the way…….FEAR. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of not being able to make the money you want or need to maintain your standard of living.
Facing the obstacles of a potential career change in a way that mitigates fears and anxiety can help you make well-informed decisions about what to do. You are either going to change careers or not. The more information gathered about making the change can reduce the associated stress and increase your confidence regarding the path you ultimately choose to take.
In order to get started down the path, here are a few suggestions to begin your intelligence gathering:
1. Know What You Want:
Do some self-exploration. Take assessments such as Myers-Briggs, DISC, and StrengthsFinder to better understand your personality, natural talents, and how you perceive the world and make decisions. The results can provide insight into the type of work that you may find enjoyable and fulfilling.
2. Learn About the Labor Market:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor provides tons of useful information and statistics on job descriptions, education and training requirements, wages, projected job growth, etc. for most occupations. Use job boards such as LocalWork.com, Careerbuilder or Indeed to research the local job market. There may or may not be a lot of jobs and companies in your area that have careers in the field you are interested in.
3. Close Educational Gaps:
If your research indicates that you will require additional education or training in order to work in the career you desire, create a plan to close the gap that is achievable and that fits your budget.
4. Get Involved Before Committing:
Kick the tires before making the purchase. This helps not only in learning more about the career but is also useful in learning about local businesses where you might like to work. Join local associations related to the career you are interested in and attend their events. Make meaningful local connections with others in the industry. They can provide both a window into the career as well as insights regarding local companies you may be interested in working for.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Please share any other suggestions you have. Feel free to e-mail me if I can assist you, and good luck in your quest!