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7 career change tips for working professionals

Last updated on: May 28, 2012 17:07 IST

7 career change tips for working professionals

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YouthIncMag

Thinking of changing your career? Take the right step forward.

There are many reasons why you might be thinking of changing your career path. Perhaps you have just lost interest or the market you are working in is contracting.

Whatever the reason, remember that most working professionals change their careers at least once in their life. There are, however, some important factors to consider so you can make the change that much easier.

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Courtesy:YouthIncMag.com


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1. Consider the pros and cons

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Don't just think of the negatives about your current job; that is the easy part. Consider the things you like about your work so that you know which direction to take for your next step.

What excites and energises you about your job? Is it your colleagues, the research or the people you meet?

Once you can figure this out, you can highlight the skills that you have developed in those areas and use them in your next job search.


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2. Do you really want to change your career?

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Consider why you want to change your career. Can you find another job with a different profile in the same career path that you are currently on?

This will help you maintain your current standard of living, as switching career paths will invariably result in a drop in income for most people.

Can you simply consider doing a similar job in a different sector? Can you even modify your existing job so that it fits in with your new perspective, such as working from home or doing less administrative work?

Thinking carefully about what exactly you want to change about your career will help you in the long run.


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3. Research, research, research

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Once you know which field you want to explore, find out as much as you can about that field. Speak to people who have been working in the profession for a few years and will be able to answer your questions and address your doubts.

Also consider speaking to recruitment professionals and advisors who can mentor you in this change.

The more you know about the field you want to enter, the easier it will be for you to manage any doubts that crop up from switching a career.


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4. Transferable skills

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You don't necessarily have to start from rock bottom when switching to a new career.

There are likely to be several skills that you have picked up in your current job, such as leadership, communication, networking, teamwork and so on.

Make a list of skills that will be a key part of your role in your new line of work and can help propel your career forward. Map out any crossovers of responsibility that apply to your desired work. Then tweak your CV and application letter to show the experience you have already gained.

This will help you to get the best possible job in your new career.

Social media marketing executive, Ritika Ranjan says, "Having worked in marketing and editorial for magazines for a number of years, social media marketing was the logical career choice when I was looking for a change. It strikes the perfect balance of clever content, strategy and market awareness that I was particularly skilled at."


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5. Further training

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Consider carefully if you need new specialised skills for the work you are looking to get into. If so, first find out if your current job will support or subsidise the cost of the training as part of the expansion of your current skill set.

Ideally, you should take a part-time evening or online course to gain the skills that you need. A certificate or degree course is important if you are thinking of switching from research into teaching, for example, and will give you a better understanding of whether job profiles in that field are the right fit for you.

Primary school teacher Maria Coelho was working as a sales executive when she took up a course in Early Childhood Education on the Internet. She says, "I always wanted to work with kids but had no experience in the field. My certificate really helped me to get my first job, and I haven't looked back since!"


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6. Work experience

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If you can gain some work experience in your chosen career as an intern or part-time working weekends before you switch completely, it will stand you in great stead in your next full-time job.

Work experience will show you the real side of what it is like to be working in that field and help dispel any rosy-eyed illusions you may have about the field.

What you learn while working is much more relevant than anything you may learn from a textbook set on a course.


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7. Network

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From finding an experienced mentor who can guide your career shift to finding vacancies at the right time, it helps immensely to get your foot through the door if you know someone on the other side.

While you are thinking of switching your career, go to meetings, conferences and parties where you can build a network of contacts in the industry you are interested in. This is one of the easiest ways to switch your career and start something new.

Writer Megha Rathod says, "When I first started to write while working at a finance firm, I went to lots of literary festivals where I met literary agents and publishers. They helped and supported me immensely in my endeavour and I don't think I could have managed otherwise."


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