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Monday, September 1, 2014

How to Change Careers and Find Happiness

“A tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he’s not careful.” This quote from Yann Martel, author of the book Life of Pi, exemplifies why it is important to be happy in your career. If you wake up every morning loathing your job or bored to death with your career track, it may be time to consider changing careers.

The first step to making a successful career change is to decide which new career will make you happy. After all, starting over is challenging, and you don’t want to have to do it more than once. Please, take the advice of someone who is already on her third career! The most important thing to consider when making this decision is: What are you passionate about? After all, if you do what makes you happy then you’ll never work a day in your life, right? Passion can come from many different places, and will be unique to each individual. 

The second step to making a successful career change is to identify your transferable skills and experiences. If you have tons of them then that’s great – you will just need to adjust your resume to highlight these transferable skills and experiences. If you do not have many transferable skills, then you should educate yourself on the industry and take classes that will help you develop the skills needed to be successful in your new career. Be sure to add this new education to your resume – even if it is ongoing. Also, make sure that your resume has industry key words in it. Many companies use an applicant tracking system that lets them enter in a keyword or Boolean phrase and pulls all resumes that contain the search word or phrase. You should also be sure to include a two to four sentence professional profile section at the top of your resume that explains why you are super awesome and will add value to the company.  

The third step to changing careers is to network and apply, apply, apply!  Have patience, and don’t get discouraged. When I was transitioning to a career in human resources, I applied to over 20 job openings before I landed my first interview, and to over 35 job openings before I got my first offer. I also suggest that you join networking groups in the field you want to get into and attend their events. Even though you may be uncomfortable and feel out of place, it will help you pick up industry jargon, and you may meet someone who will give you a great job lead!

The fourth step is to interview. You should go to every interview you are offered, even if you think that the role or the company isn’t perfect. It’s great practice for when you finally get to interview for your dream job at your dream company.  

The last step is to pat yourself on the back. Changing careers is hard work! If you haven’t already landed your dream job then it’s only a matter of time since you have followed all the necessary steps: you chose something you are passionate about, you educated yourself, updated your resume with your transferable skills and experiences, and have been networking and applying to job openings like your happiness depends on it. Keep asking good interview questions and following these steps and you will achieve your goal of successfully making a career change!

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