May 21, 2011

Changing Professions

checkThe workforce has seen its share of upheaval in recent years. Recession and the need for companies to be leaner have both put a large number of experienced people back in the job market. It is a buyer’s market as they say and those buyer’s are fussy. The new economy has made it necessary to contemplate changing careers for people who really liked where they were. Still, you are not alone. There are job fairs, networking meetings and national job reference services that can help.

If you have been rooted in a particular profession or industry for a decade or more, a dramatic change in your job is usually scarier than moving or sometimes even than getting married or having a baby! It involves a radical shift in our thinking, financial status, and work relationships. If you are looking to make a shift in profession, the first thing to remember is to decide to be unafraid and take on the challenge headfirst.

If you are changing careers, the first decision you might make is about seeking a career advisor. These are professionals that can meet with you, go over your experience and see how it may have prepared you for a different position that you may have been considering. Changing careers is a daunting task, but the help an advisor can give is enormous. They can give you aptitude testing and analyze the skills you have that you may not have been using in your former career. They will certainly go over your work history and be sure to discuss other careers with similar duties. They can also make suggestions on what kind of training you may need to get you ready for a new career.

You must be sure about your new career and its future. You don’t want to be focused on an area and even start training only to learn later that those jobs are dwindling. Many positions are being phased out or outsourced. If you have been in customer service you know that these positions have been declining. The good news is you have experience with people and computer skills which should serve you well.

The information on your resume is going to be the most important tool in changing careers. It has to list your accomplishments in a clear concise manner. Detailed explanations about your position’s responsibilities are better saved for interviews. The best resume is the one tailored for the job being applied for. Look over the job description and focus on the similarities of that position with your experience. The resume should be accompanied by a cover letter highlighting these similarities.

Changing careers requires a lot of legwork. Well, that’s a bit of an old expression. How much legwork does surfing the net entail? The information available on websites is invaluable to the career changer. The companies you have targeted to start a new career with will most likely have a web page that can give you some general information. They also may list current openings and you could possibly apply by computer and email your resume. They may have a career ladder on the website. This delineates the job duties, salary and skills necessary for all positions. It can be a big help in modifying your resume to gain you a job at that company.

If changing jobs or even type of work means you need to go for new training, there may be some form of student aid available. There are many programs and resources out there so again, when changing careers, remember that you are not alone. Your success is going to be driven in a large part by your positive attitude, so be sure to consider your happiness and energy each day and make sure that you are approaching this important life change in a positive manner.

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Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.