Things to Consider When Planning a Career Switch

Jumping to a new career is always a daunting prospect, even if you’re completely tired of your current line of work. It requires a lot of planning and patience, and you’re always taking on a huge risk. Sometimes things won’t play out exactly as you anticipated, and it’s important to have the resources to work around those situations until you’re in a good spot. If you play your cards right though, this is one of the best things you could do for yourself. Let’s take a look at some of the most important considerations.

Identify the Reason You Want to Make the Switch

Before you even begin, you have to be honest with yourself about why you’re doing this. It’s perfectly fine to be motivated by “vain” reasons like a bigger salary or more free time. This is your life, and nobody can tell you how to live it right. But it’s important that you have a good understanding of why exactly you’re doing this, because it will help you figure out the best move at every step of the way. Being dishonest with yourself about why you’re looking for a way out of your current career will most likely lead you into another field that you will ultimately want to leave.

Look Beyond the Most Popular Fields

Don’t just focus on the biggest fields on the market at the moment. There will always be new developments on that front. Plus, by the time you’re up to speed on your chosen career, it might already have been replaced by another “flavor of the month”. Instead, stick to what you know you can do (or can learn to do), and focus on fields that have good long-term prospects. After all, you’re probably making this switch with the intention of only going through this once. You should avoid jumping on fields that could be driven out of the market in a few years.

Plan Your Approach Carefully

Know exactly what you’re going to need in terms of skills and education in order to succeed in your chosen field. It’s best to start working on your profile immediately after figuring out what field you’re going to focus on. Identify the core skills and qualifications that will be expected of you and start working on that list. A DNP executive leadership program from Baylor is a great way to give yourself a head start if you’re planning to work as a nurse, for example. Programs like this one also have the benefit of giving you more flexibility in your studies, allowing you to schedule your time exactly as you need to.

Don’t Quit Your Job Just Yet

It’s normal to get excited about a prospect like this, but you mustn’t let it get to your head. Remember, you’re still a long way from actually being stable in your chosen field and earning anything at all. So, keep your head down and don’t quit your job yet. That applies even if you need to invest a lot of time into improving your professional profile. This is a huge gamble, and if it doesn’t play out like you anticipated, it can leave you in a very awkward situation. Preventing this is as simple as ensuring that you still have your regular job as a fallback option. This can also give you more confidence in your upcoming negotiations. And in some fields, that will easily set you apart from other candidates.

Be Patient

Remember, things are going to move slowly at first. This is always the case when you’re new in a field, and you must arm yourself with a lot of patience if you want to get through this. It might feel like you’re not going anywhere at all, which can be discouraging and might make you consider giving up. This is when you really have to roll up your sleeves and keep pushing forward. If you’re able to get through that initial slump, things are going to pick up sooner or later. Just be certain that you are adequately prepared for the grind that awaits you once that happens, because you don’t want to miss your shot.

Talk to People in the Field

A good way to gain understanding of how a certain field works, and also become more confident when applying for jobs in it, is to talk to as many people in that field as you can and probe them for their experiences. This will provide you with a diverse range of opinions, some of which might not match your expectations. Those are the ones that you should really focus on and dig into them in as much detail as you can. Because if you have any doubts about the field, those conversations are going to be the ones to clear them up. Or, in the worst case, confirm them – but then you’ll at least not have that nagging feeling in the back of your head.

Have a Backup Plan

As we mentioned above, it’s also important to have something to fall back on in case things don’t work out as you were planning. This is going to be even more important in complex fields that take a lot of time to break into. It’s possible that you might be left without any response or feedback for a very long time and might even have to go back to your regular job for some time until things pick back up. That’s why it’s important that you don’t leave that job behind you just yet. This goes for any other resources you might have available. Keep as many of those options open in case you decide that you want to go back.

This is going to be a difficult part of your life, but one that will lead to great things if you do it right. It’s going to be a pretty big challenge, there’s no gentle way to say that. But as long as you know why you’re doing this and stay focused on all critical parts of the process, you just need to be patient.

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