Any kind of change is scary, but when it comes to a complete career transition… that is terrifying!
My story begins with an enthusiastic recent college graduate (me). I was so eager to enter in the field of case management, but I quickly realized that the field was not for me – see this post on how to recognize you need a career change. I recognized that I was not happy, and it was showing through to my peers and clients.
I didn’t know where to begin with a career transition. Case management was my comfort zone… all that I knew. I sat down and evaluated my current career and what I wanted out of a career, out of life. Many of the “steps” outlined in this post sort of – fell into place and landed me to where I am today. I made this much needed career change, and you can too!
Here are the 5 things that I recommend that you do to ensure a smooth career transition.
Recognize your passions
First, you must evaluate your current career. What do you like? What do you dislike? Make a mental list… or an actual written list! What is missing from your career? What else are you looking for?
Start with these questions. Don’t stop until you have answered each one to the fullest. These answers will guide you to what actually makes you happy, and potentially what career is “right” for you.
It is necessary to start gaining experience right away! I don’t mean quit your job now and start your new career tomorrow – if only that were reality – what I mean is find some way to gain experience similar to your newfound career.
This was by far the hardest part of making the career transition. I had to give up a lot of time with my family and friends in order to achieve this goal. Not only was I attending school full-time, I had the opportunity to participate in a graduate assistantship at the HR office of my University. That didn’t mean I could quit my case management job just yet, but it was a step in the right direction to my new career.
I understand that school is not always an option. Try gaining experience with internships, externships, volunteering… the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to network and connect with local businesses. Ask about participating in opportunities in the area of interest… Networking is a very powerful tool!
Utilize your experience to the fullest
Just because you landed an internship or started volunteering doesn’t mean you are automatically going to gain valuable experience. You get what you put in… this saying applies to this situation perfectly!
During my assistantship, I made sure to ask to help anywhere I could. I saw every task as a new learning opportunity. My mind is wired to constantly think, “How can I add value to my resume?” And I go out and get it! Offering to do something extra shows initiative and opens up a new door to learn.
Revamp your resume and cover letter
Your experience will be a great addition to your resume to help you land that new job in your new career, but 6 months of volunteer experience may not cut it (and who has time to waste when you absolutely HAVE to get out of your current job?)
Rethink your job tasks from your previous job experience. How can you relate them to the career you are seeking?
I was able to showcase my time management, crisis intervention, and my ability to help find resources from my case management job and relate them to how they would help in human resources. I was confident in my ability to make these skills “transferrable.”
Don’t forget to make your cover letter uniform and really elaborate on your experiences and special projects you were a part of. For more answers to your resume and cover letter questions, visit the Resume or Cover Letters page.
Determination, organization, consistency, commitment.
Okay, okay… that’s four more things, but they are all closely related. During your career transition journey, it is important to maintain all four of these.
In my experience, when I was ready to start applying to new opportunities, I made sure to hold on to these four traits. I applied to over 30 positions within a 2 week period, and although I didn’t hear back from most, I was still determined and kept pushing through. Be sure to keep a log of where you apply and the activity from your applications. This organization will help you with your search tremendously! Be consistent and never stop applying. And make sure you stay committed. You worked so hard to get to this point… never give up!