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10 Things to Consider Before Changing Careers
Dec 22, 2010
Thinking about a new job? Make sure to look before you leap! There are lots of important things to consider before changing careers, such as your job prospects, salary expectations and whether or not you'll need more education and training. Read on to learn more about how to evaluate whether or not a career change is right for you.
There are many different reasons for changing careers: You're not satisfied with your current position, you have a new interest you'd like to pursue or maybe you're just seeking out a higher salary. It's important to truly examine and understand your motives in order to ensure that you're making the right career move.
When we meet new people, they usually ask us 'What do you do?' and they always mean your career. In American culture, our identities tend to be closely tied to our work. Make sure that you can identify with your prospective job field and will feel good about it being a part of who you are.
If you've already been working in your current career for a number of years, chances are you've built up a professional reputation. While that reputation can help you make contacts in your new field when you're switching careers, you will also lose some - or all - of it when you switch. Are you ready to be the newbie again?
4. Networking Opportunities
Do you know anyone in your new field? If so, this can be a great way to learn more about what it's really like and improve your job prospects when you're ready to make the switch. If not, get out there and make contacts - they'll prove invaluable to gathering information and securing a new job.
5. Job Prospects
Even as the economy slowly begins to recover, the labor market is still struggling. It's important to honestly assess the number of jobs in your new field and how easily you will be able to find work. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to hold on to your current job until you have a firm offer.
6. Education and Training
Even experienced professionals often need more education and training to change career fields, sometimes including a new degree. Before you make the leap, find out what knowledge will be required of you and make sure that you're willing and able to attain it.
7. Licensing Requirements
Many career fields don't just require more education - they also require state licenses. Whether you're considering becoming a lawyer, a teacher or a massage practitioner, find out what the licensing requirements are for your area (or the place where you're considering moving) and make sure that you're prepared to meet them.
8. Continuing Education
Most jobs require some new education and training. Many require licenses. And some even require additional education once you've started your practice. Find out if your new field will require you to pursue continuing education and determine whether or not you want to make that commitment - many industries will require you to earn continuing education credits throughout the duration of your practice.
If your motive for changing careers is a new interest, then you'll also need to assess your salary prospects. For some people, going down a rung in the financial ladder is worth pursuing their passions. But whether you have a family to support or a lifestyle to preserve, that may not be an option for you. Find out what your entry-level salary prospects will be, and how long it will take you to get back to earning what you currently make - or more.
Some fields are more concentrated in specific regions or cities. Find out where the most job prospects are for your new industry and consider whether or not you would be able to make the move.