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Step by Step Guide to Change Your Career

According to a Gallup poll – The World’s Broken Workplace, 70% of Americans are unengaged and unhappy with their current working situation. Whether that’s because of their company culture, an overbearing manager, or uninteresting work, the majority of workers today hate their jobs.

Unfortunately, this trend is nothing new. For over 30 years, global productivity has been on a decline, and the correlation to uninteresting employees is too strong to ignore.

If you find yourself in this situation, constantly wishing for a new job that fills you with joy instead of dread, it may be time for a career change. Here is a step by step guide on changing careers to better fulfill your passions.

1. Explore Your Interests

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Before you make any big decisions regarding your current line of work, you should evaluate your true interests thoroughly. Consider why exactly you’re thinking about a career change in the first place.

Are you dissatisfied with your daily tasks or your coworkers? Would another career better align with your goals? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, evaluate the things in your life that do make you happy. Here are a couple of ways you can further explore your interests:

Look at your hobbies outside of work that bring you joy, and consider why you like them.
Take online career quizzes to see what career would be best for you
Find a career counselor

2. Research and Shadow

Now that you have a general idea of your interests and inclinations, it’s time to research. Changing your career without extensive research is a recipe for disaster, so this phase of your process should be one of the most exhaustive.

The jobs that you want may have caveats – Do you need a new certification or credential to be considered by employers? How long will it take to train for the new job? Is the industry ripe for new talent? What companies offer your line of work? These are all extremely important questions to answer before you make the leap.

For the most extensive form of research, try shadowing someone who works in the industry you like. Most professionals are actually happy to have you shadow them or even sit for an informational interview. Find their information online, send them a brief professional email, and perhaps offer to buy them a coffee for their trouble. Seeing the career in action is a great way to see if you’re really a fit for the job or not.

With all this research, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of information you’ve accumulated. One great way to organize your thoughts while getting information about your new job is to use informational coding. Form your topics into subcategories, like work environment, skills needed, industry information, etc. Write a letter, or code, on each pile, and keep them in a singular binder. In the next phase, “Create a Plan” you can use this binder to inform the decisions you make in the future.

3. Create a Plan

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When you’re positive that your new career is the right move for you, you can begin planning the transition from your old work to your new work. First and foremost, you should know your deadline. For a plan to be actionable, it has to have a time-limit. If you want to be out of your job within three months, your plan will be crunched. If you give yourself a year, you’ll have more time in between each task.

Once you have an end-date in mind, you can start the actual action plan. Breakdown the overall goal of “career change” into smaller goals, like skills needed, people needed current job tasks, and job-hunting tasks. For example, you might have “Get Excel Certification” has one goal, which you could then break down into goals like “Practice Excel for an Hour Every Weekend.”

Making these goals is going to give you far more structure than if you simply decided to quit your job and jump into the market. Use the research conducted in the last step to fully encompass your new line of work.

4. Revamp Your Resume

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If you already work, you probably know the importance of a stellar resume. Your current resume likely will not cut it for a new employer. If you’re looking to make a large career change, then you’ll need a resume that matches your new goals and outlook.

In the last phase, “Create a Plan,” you gained new skills and meet goals that are applicable to your resume. The things on your old resume will probably be irrelevant to an employer, especially if they are over 5 years old.

If you’re overwhelmed with starting a resume, or if you don’t know what a great resume looks like, you should consider using a resume builder. These tools take your information and automatically transfer them into attractive, efficient templates that will distance you from your competition.

According to Resume Build, an online resume builder can help you organize and outline your information, giving you a leg-up on unimpressive and overwhelming CVs from other recruits. Finding a great job is dependent on your resume, so make sure you have a great one.

5. Network

Now that you have all of your resources and plans in place, it’s time to start meeting people. One of the most important resources in finding a new job is the connections you make with people. A friend or manager in the company you like is one of the greatest advantages you have in the job-searching process, so networking is one task you cannot overlook.

While the connections you have with professionals in your old line of work can still be useful, the likelihood is that you need to make new connections for a new career.

If you’re overwhelmed by this thought, try to begin small: you can start by rebranding yourself on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. That’s where prospective employers or like-minded individuals will likely find you. Update your job-title, experiences, and certifications, and make sure that your description makes it clear that you’re looking for an exciting new career. LinkedIn has a great guide on branding yourself for the best possible effect.

6. Make the Leap


You have your research, plan, resume, and connections, so it’s time to take the biggest step: changing careers. Try to have your next career accommodations lined up before you quit your current job (without breaking any contracts), so you don’t allow for a period of unemployment. Keep in mind that you will have to leave your current job, and that might take weeks or months, so include that downtime in your plan.

This is the most exciting part of your journey, so be aware of it when you finally step into your new office. Finding your true passion in work and following it is a great way to find more fulfillment in life, and with these steps, you can do it seamlessly.

About Matt Durham