Tips for Career Changers

In the 21st century, the definition of a “career” has changed. The average worker will hold ten different jobs during their lifetime.  Millennials may have as many as 15 different jobs! It’s practical to invest your energy and training on career paths that will offer multiple opportunities for change and growth so you can find your own unique path to success. If you’re thinking about starting or changing careers, consider these steps to finding a career that can change over your lifetime.

Identify Your Passions

We spend a huge amount of our lives working, and a happy life depends on having a satisfying job. Think about your values and the change you want to make in this world, and look for careers that are meaningful to you. Do you care about education? Teaching is an obvious career path, but a more flexible career might be in communications where you can help people understand ideas in a variety of areas. Do you care about animals? Veterinary jobs might be a good fit, but becoming a natural resource specialist may give you more flexibility to explore animal care, habitat protection, and conservation education fields.

Take Stock of Your Skills

Sometimes we don’t choose our career, our career chooses us. If you have a strong sense of what you’re good at, certain careers may jump out at you. But don’t limit yourself. Do you want to be involved with health care but hate the sight of blood? Decide whether you have the other skills to excel in a nursing career like patience and people skills: there are plenty of careers in the health care field that won’t ask you to draw blood! If you’re organized and enjoy solving problems, for example, IT might be a great field for you even if you don’t love computers, although some people do and spent all their time programming computers, and playing games with their good cs go mouse and other hardware. Narrow down your choices to one or two broad fields that appeal to you and will offer flexibility for the actual jobs you can apply for.

Invest in Education

All meaningful careers require some foundational skills and training, but not all will demand a traditional degree path. If you’re passionate about commerce, IT or nursing, for example, you may be able to begin your career with only a two year Associates degree. Later, as you refine your interests and gain experience, many employers will contribute to additional education in specialized areas.

Scaffolding your education for different stages in your career can keep your options more flexible, save you a ton of money by making sure your degrees are useful, and may allow you to earn a full salary while you learn. If you already have an undergraduate degree in nursing, for example, you may choose to branch off into medical sonography and obtain a master’s in nursing. That extra year or two of school will open a whole range of career opportunities you might not have considered when originally deciding to go into healthcare.

Explore and Take Risks

A great career, like a marriage, doesn’t look the same over time. With an educational foundation in a flexible discipline, you can spend your 20s playing the field, getting experience and figuring out what you like, and what makes you happy and fulfilled. Use the early stages of your career to network with people in related fields or who have transitioned into or out of your position form other places. If you don’t love your current job, be courageous about looking for ways to move up and out into new positions. Don’t make the salary your only consideration: take chances on new positions that offer challenges or duties that connect to your passions and will expand your current skills.

A career is more than a series of jobs, it’s a path that connects our passions, skills, education, and experience to employment. Invest in a career by intentionally choosing a broad discipline that will offer you room to grow and change throughout your life. Knowing you’ll likely have many jobs before you retire, use education as a way to prepare yourself with a growing skill set that can adapt to the many opportunities for success that will arise.

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  1. Hi, this is what I’ve done. I can’t say I’m totally confident because I’ve changed careers, in fact, I wish I had spent my whole life in my current career but you never know what will happen in life and you take each change and consequence as it comes and try to make the best of it. I tried to follow my passions and here’s where it took me:

    As a short rundown of my life, I wanted to be a doctor, I still do (I tell myself, if I ever win the lottery, I’m going to go through med school again to get it right!). I got through all of med school just to get stuck at STEP 2 (for those who know – that’s supposed to be the easy one!)

    Anyway, short on money and a career after years of trying, I started part time teaching at a school for English and Computers. That made me enough money to stay in medicine and go to Rad Tech School and MRI school at a community college. I worked in MRI for about 2 years but never was lucky enough to get a union job. Had to work 6 days a week, sometimes 7 just to make enough to survive in NY city.

    BUT! This gave me enough money and mornings (I worked nights) to go back to a coding intensive program and beef up my programming skills. In the last 3 years, I have a good job with a great health plan and schedule, and I make 3 times what I did as an MRI tech.

    I’m still not where I want to be in order to take care of my family and be confident in my skills in my new chosen field that i love but after (in a sense) botching my intended career goals, I can finally talk about it without getting depressed, have a wonderful wife and 4 month old son, and a house to call my own. Life is starting to straighten out. Only took 17 years and counting! Now if I could just get rid of the med school debt … still fighting the good fight !

  2. Yes sir, you are right about the fact that sometimes career chooses you but sometimes it’s very difficult to know what your skills and where you can work.

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