7 Steps to a Successful Career Change (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Professionals may change jobs and even switch industries throughout their careers to obtain personal and professional benefits. They may also change jobs to increase their earning potential, find a new interest, or work in a different environment. If you're feeling unsatisfied with your current role, you might consider changing careers. In this article, we share seven steps to a successful career change for you to consider and discuss the benefits that making a career change can offer.

7 steps to a successful career change

If you're considering switching jobs, you might review these steps to a successful career change:

1. Evaluate your current career

If you're considering a career change, it's useful to evaluate your current position. Consider what you like and dislike about your career to help guide you in choosing a new one. You can journal to help track how you feel about the work environment, job tasks, and other aspects of your current career.

Related: How to Make a Career Change at 50 (With Reasons and Tips)

2. Identify your interests

Self-reflect and identify your interests, including types of people you want to work with, activities and hobbies you enjoy, and industries in which you may enjoy working. It's good to consider your skill set too, in case there are careers for which you already qualify. Your values can also help identify potential careers where you could have job satisfaction because your beliefs align with the company.

Related: "I Don't Know What Career I Want": How to Find the Best Job for You

3. Brainstorm alternate careers

With a mental or physical list of your interests and desires for work, you can brainstorm careers that match these criteria. Research career options by searching online, asking friends and family, and contacting your network. A career counsellor can help you find a job that suits you if you seek professional advice. This type of professional can also be a great resource in assessing your current career, interest, and skills.

Related: How To Write Career Change Resumes (With Example and Tips)

4. Research job opportunities

Once you decide on a few career types, you can do further research to find job opportunities. Your research can help identify job titles to use in your job search. For example, if you want to be a writer, your research can help identify careers such as author, copywriter, scriptwriter, or content creator.

Try to research career opportunities that are near to you or in a location to which you're able to relocate. This may help reduce your list of potential careers, making your career change decision easier.

Related: 14 Job Search Tips to Help You Find the Right Job

5. Gain experience

Search for job shadowing or internship opportunities in the field of a new potential career. This can help you experience what having this career may be like and help you determine if this new career may give you job satisfaction. Job shadowing is when you observe a professional on the job and an internship is a work experience where you perform duties to learn more about the career.

When changing careers, it's likely that you may need additional education or experience to qualify for a new role. You can use job shadowing and interning as relevant experience when applying for a new job, so it's useful for deciding on a new career and getting hired in a new position.

Related: Apprenticeship vs. Internship: What's the Difference?

6. Build your skill set

When you determine what career to pursue, look at the job descriptions from different companies for this career to learn what skills and other qualifications you may need. You can acquire necessary skills in a variety of ways, including, attending college, earning a certification, interning, or finding a mentor.

To qualify for a new career, you may also leverage your transferable skills. These are abilities you can use in any industry, such as:

  • Communication: The ability to convey your thoughts and ideas clearly helps collaborate with team members, interact with customers, and provide guidance or gain an understanding of job tasks.

  • Strategy: Planning and determining the best way to complete a task is useful for all jobs.

  • Multitasking: This is the ability to perform and manage several tasks at once and is useful for increasing productivity.

  • Computer skills: Technical abilities are invaluable in the modern workplace. Even basic computer skills can be used for emails, creating documents, data entry, and a variety of tasks you may have for any job.

  • Leadership: Being able to guide others and inspire them to be great employees is a great skill in any career. Employers seek individuals who are ambitious, independent, and skilled in helping others.

  • Teamwork: The majority of careers involve working with others whether they're clients, team members, or managers, so the ability to work well with other people is a skill you can use anywhere.

  • Creativity: Being able to inspire yourself and develop unique ideas or products can help improve a business's offerings.

Related: What's the Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

7. Apply to open positions

Use job boards and professional websites to find and apply for open positions in the career field you choose. You can also contact your professional network to learn about job opportunities. When applying for a job, you submit a resume and cover letter with your job application to highlight your qualifications to the employer. Include your transferable skills and any certifications or degrees you earn when preparing for a new role.

Related: How To Write a Career Change Cover Letter (With Example)

Why might you change careers?

Professionals change their careers for many reasons, including job dissatisfaction, stress, low wages, or incompatibility. As you progress in your career, it's not uncommon to seek new challenges to renew your interest in working. You may also change as a person or you may need a career change to suit a new lifestyle. For example, if you have a child, you may need more flexibility and work-life balance. Finding a career to suit your passions, lifestyle, and requirements can help you find happiness. If you're considering a career change, you may have an interest in learning about these potential benefits:

Job satisfaction

After gaining professional experience, you may be able to evaluate career opportunities that you enjoy more successfully than at the start of your career. This can help you gain more job satisfaction after changing your career because you can find a career that suits you. A career change also enables you to negotiate a new job contract with more knowledge of the industry and employment options. For example, you may negotiate a higher salary or better benefits when switching your career because you have prior experience in accepting a job offer.

Pay increase

Salary is often a motivator in career changes. You may search for a position that offers higher compensation when changing careers. This may provide you with more disposable income to provide you with comforts and joy in your personal life. A pay increase can also reduce stress and help you become happier in other parts of your life.

Productivity

After a career change, you may become more productive at work because you enjoy your job and the work environment. Your interest in job tasks can increase your engagement in projects, helping you complete more in less time. This is also beneficial because higher productivity can help you reach success earlier in your career.

Work environment

Changing jobs may allow you to work in a different environment. This can be beneficial if you want to relocate or don't enjoy to current culture or setting in which you work. Changing your work environment may allow you to enjoy your job more or help you increase productivity. For example, you might find that you can focus better when working from home instead of in a shared office. Or, if you're having issues with the physical demands of your work environment, such as working outside, you might switch jobs to have a more comfortable work environment.

Success

In combination with other benefits, changing your career to something you enjoy more can help you become more successful. In a role where you experience job satisfaction, you can give more focus to your professional goals. When you're happier, you may also feel more successful. Having this success can help you advance your career and find even more opportunities.

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