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A No-Nonsense 8 Step Guide to a Triumphant Career Transition

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Despite the fact that the average person will have 12 jobs in their lifetime, employers tend to assume someone with multiple jobs on their resume is unreliable and likely to quit suddenly.

Professionals who get their first job out of college will stay in one place for approximately 3.5 years if they retire at 65.

Job hopping is very common, especially for workers aged 25 to 34, whose median tenure is approximately 2.8 years. At this point, they’ve already worked 3 jobs.

With 39 being the average age for when a person changes careers, a professional who shows up at a job interview with 3-5 jobs under their belt or more is unlikely to be hired.

Unless you have relevant experience pertaining to your new career, you’ll experience a rough transition.

Making a 180-degree career shift will still be difficult with a new degree because you’re competing with other experienced people in your industry who have no intention to leave. 

While all of this sounds daunting, a career change isn’t impossible. In fact, the job market is shifting drastically, making it easier for you to make a no-nonsense career transition.

Still, as software developer recruiters we know it will take a bit of work. In this article, we’ll provide tips that will make this process smooth and easy.

How To Transition Careers: Before and During the Transition

No one said that a career choice had to be preeminent, which is great news for anyone considering a career pivot. Before taking the leap, consider the following advice.

1. Why Do You Want to Change Careers?

It’s difficult to find a job that you enjoy every single day of your life. Even our dream jobs can start to feel a little stale.

Alternatively, you might just be in a rut, or you could be experiencing burnout. Consider taking a vacation before committing to a total career change.

If you’ve already taken a vacation or you’re convinced time off won’t help, consider part-time employment that fits your current industry.

For example, some mortgage lenders will research real estate licensing requirements because they already have their foot in the door.

If you’re absolutely sure both your career and industry of choice aren’t for you, ask yourself why that is. Is it your current job, or do you see a pattern? People transition careers because they:

  • Want advancement or more opportunities
  • Are frustrated or bored at their current job
  • Want to have a flexible work schedule (remote work)
  • Want higher pay or better benefits
  • Need a better work-life balance
  • Desire to reduce total stress levels
  • Are currently laid off or jobless
  • Desire a more meaningful job

Once you feel that the benefits of a career change outweigh the risks, move on to the next step.

2. What Does Your New Career Look Like?

What does your new job and/or career look like? What’s it called? What doesn’t it look like? 

Although offering advice like “follow your passions” is a nice sentiment, you’ll be more successful transitioning from one career to another if you have transferable skills.

This way, you can draw upon what you’ve learned over the years and express it in new, creative ways.

While thinking about how you can leverage your contacts, skills, and brand, do the following:

  • Identify What You Have: Include hard skills, soft skills, and technical skills
  • Identify What You Need: How long will it take to get what you need?
  • Identify Lifestyle Changes: Will you need to relocate and be away from your family?
  • Identify Industry Changes: Do I know my industry’s vocabulary, duties, and equipment?

The goal here is to make your transition simple, so choose a career that uses similar skills.

3. How Will You Be Able to Transition?

Are you lacking certain skills that would make you an attractive candidate in your industry? Do you need to go back to school, or is an online course sufficient?

Knowing what you need to transition can help you make an action plan and will allow you to answer these questions:

  • Can you resign from your current job on good terms?
  • Are you able to start networking in your dream industry?
  • Do you need to go back to school for a license, certificate, or degree?
  • Will your resume need a complete overhaul?
  • Are you comfortable with applying for entry-level positions and accepting a lower salary?
  • Are you prepared to answer interviewers when they ask why you made the switch?

Now that you have a good idea of the why, what, and how, we can move on to specifics.

4. Make a Game Plan

What’s your ideal timeline to reach your primary goal? Once you’ve figured that out, separate your timeline into major milestones.

This can include quitting your job, gaining the necessary skills, and editing your resume. Assign daily tasks to yourself to avoid a last-minute scramble.

5. Monitor Your Efforts

Set up reminders on your phone or calendar to accurately track your progress. You’ll never get off the ground if you don’t monitor what you’re doing.

Use software like Excel or Google Sheets documents to ensure you invest in the time and energy it will take to complete your transition.

6. Switch Up Your Branding

Never use your old career resume in your prospective industry as you make a career shift.

If you’re applying for a position in the senate, but you look like a retail employee on paper, you won’t get a callback. Instead, leverage your volunteer efforts, leadership, and communication skills, not your past jobs.

7. Get Your People On Board

Don’t just tell all of your co-workers that you’re planning to make a career shift; only speak to your most trusted contacts and ask for their help.

You may have some friends in the industry that will offer you an interview, or they may even be able to teach you needed skills.

8. Never Stop Networking

It’s essential to connect with people who currently work in your new field of interest.

Before asking for anything, build rapport by complimenting them or stating that you’re curious about their work. Exchange emails and thank them for their input and/or advice.

How To Transition Careers: After Transitioning

After taking our no-nonsense steps to conquer your career transition, look for continuing education opportunities that can aid in your professional growth. Career advancement is a gradual process, so don’t forget to be patient on your path to success.

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