How to Successfully Switch Careers in Any Industry

Oct 24, 2019 by

In the past, we were all expected to pick one career path and stick to it. But in recent years, things have changed. Maybe your career or financial goals have changed, you’ve discovered new talents or interests, you’re looking for ways to earn more, or you’re seeking flexibility so you can spend more time with your family and friends or travel the globe.

Whatever the reason(s) may be, it’s easier than ever before to transition into a new career. Here are some concrete steps that you can take to get started on your journey:

Determine What You Like and Dislike About Your Current Career

If you’re unhappy at your job but you’re not exactly sure why, you may keep choosing new jobs that have the same characteristics that were making you unhappy in the first place. Reflect on the real reasons why you want to switch careers. If it’s to make more money, that’s an easy one. But what about the company culture – are you happy with the type of people who work in that field? Or is it the work itself – do you want more meaningful work, more responsibility or less, or more flexibility? Determining what you like and dislike about the career you’re in now can help narrow down your options and find a career that’s better suited for your personality.

Consider All Alternatives

If you don’t already know what career you want to go into next, keep an open mind as you search; you never know what will pop up! Use a career alternative test/assessment (you can find them for free online) if you need ideas. Make a list of all of the skills you want to put to use in your new career and prior work and volunteer experience that you enjoyed, and see which ones match up. Ask your family and friends to help you determine what your most helpful skills and values are.

Test Out Your Top Three

Try freelancing or volunteering in your top three alternative career choices before you make your move. I used to be a paralegal, but I realized one day that I didn’t actually enjoy the work or many of the people around me. I worked long hours with little pay, difficult clients, and unappreciative bosses, but I didn’t know where else to go. So, I made my list – pass on the 7:00 p.m. phone calls and working late on Christmas Eve, but check on the organizational aspects and helping people. After eliminating a few other options, I started freelance writing on the side, and immediately felt at home. I got to put my handy-dandy organizational skills to good use and help lots of different people, and I found a flexibility that I never had before. 

You can follow this same path. If you love animals, try volunteering at a shelter in your spare time to see if you enjoy being there. If you’re interested in publishing, volunteer to edit your school’s newsletter. If you’ve always wanted to write, join a free platform and start freelancing whenever you can. The options are endless.

Take A Class Or Two

Now, here’s where it gets fun: try to find an online or night class (or daytime if you can swing it with your current schedule) and investigate something that interests you. When I was searching, I not only took English classes to help sharpen my writing skills, but I also took psychology and nursing classes, too. I may not be a nurse or a therapist now, but I enjoyed the experience and learned things that I’ll never forget. I highly recommend taking classes in anything that interests you. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend DSLCC. You can find more information and their course schedule on the website:

Finding the best career choice for you may take more steps than the ones we have here, or it may take less, but if you keep searching, you’ll find something that’s better suited to your goals, skills, and personality. Where you work and how happy you feel in your position impacts other aspects of your life, too. It’s worth doing the extra work now to put yourself in a better place long-term. And it’s true what they say: if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!

This post is sponsored by Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. Our community college can help you switch careers in any industry with a variety of courses and certifications that fits your passion. If you’re looking for industrial welding programs in Botetourt, VA or a nursing course in Botetourt, VA, we have something for everyone. Please visit our full course program list on our website

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