How to Make a Career Change
By Elijah Thomas
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many professionals searching for new roles. Some have been laid off or furloughed and are in need of a job.
Others may still be employed but are looking for an industry that is more stable or recession-resistant. Many others may be business owners or entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of unique loan programs put forth by the federal government.
No matter what is driving the decision to potentially change careers, professionals can take comfort in knowing they are not alone. According to a 2019 Indeed.com survey, nearly half of the people they interviewed said they’ve made a dramatic career shift, like from marketing to engineering, or from teaching to finance.
What Drives a Career Change?
You might think money is the motivating factor for most people to change their careers. In fact, 58% of workers in the survey said they are willing to take a pay cut in order to completely change industries.
The No. 1 reason why people made a significant career change was because they were unhappy in their previous job sector, according to the survey. No. 2: Higher pay and greater flexibility tied for the second-biggest reasons workers jumped into a new field.
Here’s the best news: The Indeed survey reports 88% of career changers say they’re happier since making the move.
Behind the Numbers
Here are some additional statistics from Payscale that shine a brighter light on the career-change phenomenon:
- The average person who switches careers is 39 years old.
- Pay growth for the average woman peaks at age 40; meanwhile, men’s salaries continue to grow until age 49.
- The average worker takes 11 months to consider a career change before
- making the move.
How to Switch Careers
The first step to making a successful career transition is understanding your goals.
Think about what you like to do in your free time. Do you enjoy tinkering with small motors in the garage or working with numbers for a friend’s business?
Maybe you can translate your key interests and skills into a completely new career that you just haven’t had the time — or the courage — to go after.
Enroll in specific educational or training programs in order to make the transition. Especially with today’s technology, learning a new skill through virtual or online training is right at your fingertips.
Don’t forget to network. Talk with friends or family members who may work in your target field. Search for professional development opportunities or virtual conferences where you may be able to interact with experts from your desired industry.
Remember Your Goals
Switching careers can seem like a scary proposition if you’re not motivated to make it happen. Remember why you are considering the switch, whether it’s for more money, more happiness or more opportunity for growth. Keep that focus top of mind to make sure you’re doing all you can to stay dedicated to making the change.
Find a role that offers you an opportunity to advance your learning and creativity skill sets. Without continuous improvement of your expertise, you’re likely to become stagnant and start to feel the pull to find something new.