Are you feeling stuck in your current career? Do you dream of a new challenge, but you’re too afraid to make a change? It’s normal to feel intimidated by the unknown and to fear the potential risks that could come with a career change. However, with the right guidance and mindset, you can confidently navigate this transition and embark on a new, fulfilling journey towards reinventing your career.

In this blog, we will share essential steps to help you overcome your fears and successfully make a career change. Get started on a new, exciting career journey with these essential steps:  

Reflect on your Interests, Values, and Skills

First, take time to reflect on your interests, values and skills. What are you passionate about? What do you value in a career? What are your transferable skills? Understanding your strengths and what you enjoy will help you identify potential career paths that align with your interests and values.  A deep dive into your favorite hobbies and products can also be a great start to see what could fuel your next career. 

Research and Explore New Career Options 

Once you clearly understand your interests, values and skills, begin researching and exploring possible career options. Look for information on job descriptions, qualifications, salary expectations and growth opportunities. Find a few positions that interest you, then allow yourself to fall into the rabbit hole of open positions you have never even thought to explore.

Pro Tip: New terminology for roles emerge daily, so don’t overlook that posting for Wizard of Want (aka Marketing Director), Chief of Chatting (aka Call Center Manager) or Chief Beverage Officer (aka Bartender). You’d be surprised at how creative some job postings can get! 

Assess Your Transferable Skills

Remember to take advantage of the opportunity to identify the skills you have developed in your current or previous roles that can be transferred to your desired career. For example, if you have strong communication skills in your current job, those skills may also apply to a different industry or role. Highlighting your transferable skills in your resume and during interviews can demonstrate your versatility and adaptability to potential employers. 

You may be thinking, “But what if I don’t know my transferable skills?” If you’re unsure, a great way to get started is by reflecting on advice or compliments you have received. Someone may have told you how patient you are with people when presenting instructions as a sales associate.

Or maybe they applauded your ability to write thorough step-by-step instructions while working in a data entry role. These transferable skills speak to your ability to possess the right skills for your next role and are often the key to you landing that first interview.

A person working in their work from home office.

Career Change: Create a Career Plan

What are your short-term and long-term career goals? What steps do you need to take to achieve them? Develop a clear career plan that outlines your goals, timeline and action steps. Your career plan will serve as a roadmap to keep you focused and motivated throughout the career change process.

These are also the types of questions you want to have an answer for, as they often come up during interviews. Having goals and deciphering the steps to get there is also a great way to become associated with how companies set KPIs and plan to hit those targets.  

Upgrade Your Skills or Gain Additional Education

Depending on your career, you may need to upgrade your skills or gain additional education. Research the qualifications and requirements for your desired career and identify gaps in your skills or education. Consider enrolling in courses and workshops or earning certificates to enhance your skills and make yourself more competitive in the job market. 

Another great way to close the gaps and make new connections is by attending industry events or volunteering in related organizations. Some companies need volunteers for both in-person and online events. Try including “volunteer” during your job search often so you don’t miss out on opportunities (like these with Merit America!). 

Network and Build Relationships

Networking can be your secret weapon when making a career change. If you took the opportunity to volunteer in a recent event, capitalize on it developing contacts in the organization. Building relationships with professionals in your target industry can provide you with insights, advice and potential job opportunities. You can also connect with professionals in the field through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Fishbowl. This not only helps to gain connections in the organization, but it also gives you a first-hand account of what the company is looking for and what other employees hope to gain in a new colleague. 

Update your Resume and Cover Letter

You’ve gained additional knowledge and made connections in the industry. Now, it’s time to bring it all together! Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your transferable skills and relevant experiences for your new career. Be sure to emphasize how your skills and experiences align with the requirements of the new role, and highlight any achievements that demonstrate your capabilities. 

Prepare for Interviews

Be sure to brush up on your interview skills and prepare for potential questions related to your career change. Practice articulating why you are interested in the new career, how your skills and experiences align with the role, and what value you can bring to the organization. Try using the S.T.A.R. method to structure your answers to questions that are thrown your way. 

Stay Persistent and Resilient

This could quite possibly be the most difficult step by far. A career change can be a challenging process that requires time and effort. Stay persistent, resilient and optimistic throughout the journey. Be prepared to face setbacks and challenges, but stay focused on your goals and keep pushing forward. 

Remember, a career change is a personal journey, and everyone’s experience may be different. It’s truly important to be patient with yourself and take the time to plan and prepare for your desired career change. With determination, effort and a positive attitude, you can successfully navigate a career change and achieve your professional goals. 

Looking to break into a new career in tech? Explore our Merit America career tracks!

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current Merit America job openings!