Wondering How to Change Careers?

Looking to change careers? Focus on what you do like.

Everton Vila, via Unsplash

Struggling in your current job? Looking to change careers? I get it, trust me, I’ve been there.  You take a job because you think it’ll be great, or you convince yourself that you need to make a little more money – that’s usually how it happens.  Then you end up working just for a paycheck instead of actually feeling connected to what you do every day.  It’s not a fun situation.  If this is the situation you are in, you aren’t alone!  Today we are going to give you a few tips on how to make the best of a situation you aren’t in love with, and how to prep for a career change by asking some hard questions.

Change Your Mindset

When you don’t love your overall current job situation, find one thing that you do like, and focus on that.  For instance, you may hate your job, but you really like spending time with a couple of your co-workers.  Focus on building relationships with those co-workers and have fun with it.  Your current situation isn’t permanent, and you’ll eventually move on to a new job, and you can maintain or grow the relationships that you’ve built. While you wait to change careers, you can focus on the good, rather than the bad.

Find one thing that you like in your current job, and get really good at it.  Perhaps you are a supervisor and you don’t necessarily like managing others, but you really enjoy reconciling the cash register. You can apply that attention to detail to other job tasks.  This also might be a good time to discuss what you enjoy doing most with your boss.  Perhaps there is another opportunity at your current company that’s a better fit for you.

Know Thyself: Questions to Ask

When thinking about changing careers, you’ll want to really know yourself first. Ask these questions when you’re feeling calm and have some time to reflect:

  1. What about my current job is enjoyable?
  2. What tasks do I dread?
  3. What responsibilities are challenging – in a good way?
  4. What parts of my personality align with my current role?
  5. What outside of work am I passionate about?

The main thing is to get yourself past thinking that your life has to stink because you don’t like your job.  Your job is a small part of your life, and finding some joy in small parts of your job can drastically change your outlook and how you feel going to work.

List Past Experiences

Perhaps what you are doing now isn’t ideal, but you are getting by.  How do you know what to move toward next?  An easy way to figure out what you like doing is to make a list!  List out each job that you have ever held, and write down everything that you enjoyed doing about that job.  Maybe it was interacting with people on the phone every day.  Maybe you enjoyed reporting weekly revenue numbers to your boss.  Whatever you enjoyed, write it down.

You should also highlight things that you didn’t enjoy.  If something seemed uninteresting to you, write it down!

Try to notice common themes on your list!  Perhaps in multiple jobs, you enjoyed the same things.  This should be a clear indicator that your next job should include the things that show up multiple times.  This is also a way to identify key skills.

Resume Rewrite & Keyword Search

Now take your notes, and pull up your current resume. With your focus on what you love and don’t love about your work history, craft an objective that highlights your favorite activities. Be sure to prioritize your preferred skills as well as those you’ve used in multiple roles.

Use your preferred activities to search career sites as a keyword search. This will potentially identify opportunities outside of your current industry based on the tasks you enjoy. And you might discover some new job titles you had not considered previously.

Once you’re clear on a few job titles you want to explore, create a copy of your resume for each, carefully inserting keywords that pop up often in job descriptions so you will perform well with resume scanners.

Change Careers by Matching Skills

Now that you have a better attitude about your ‘not so perfect’ current job, you can begin to align with your next job.  Taking a career-fit quiz can help any type of job seeker figure out what roles they may have success in.  There are many online quizzes that you can take to figure out what may be a good career fit for you.  Here’s an assessment offered by Future Ready Iowa. Making an appointment with a career counselor can help you as well.

Job Search and Job Success