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Top 10 Steps to Change Your Career

August 16, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru


Are you ready to change your career? Whether you’re looking for a whole new field, or just a new way to use your existing skills, our top 10 steps will help smooth the way to your new career choice.

10. Decide how big a change you want to make


For some people, a career change means choosing a different path within their current industry. For others, it’s a complete switch in direction, skills, and focus. Decide which way you want to go.

9. Write down your experience


This is more than just a resume. It’s a complete listing of every job you’ve ever had, paid or volunteer. This is just for you, so don’t worry about style or spelling. Just list every job you’ve ever had, then add all the things you did in each. Take your time and try to get as much detail as possible.

8. Make a top 10 list of your skills


Use the list of jobs and tasks to identify the 10 things you do (did) best throughout your career history. Don’t forget to include skills you used in unpaid or voluntary positions.

7. Research the jobs you would like to do


If you want to change your career, it’s important to know whether your skills are a good match for the job you want. Spend some time reading about each career you are considering for your change. Check off how each of your top 10 skills matches with the job requirements.

6. Fill in the gaps


If there are gaps between your best skills, and the requirements of the new career you want, identify what training, education or experience you need to fill in those holes. Look for schools, volunteer opportunities, internships or other ways you could close the gap.

5. Talk to people in the field


Take your list of top 10 skills, and your ideas about what is needed to change careers to people who are working in your chosen field. Ask them to review your lists, and offer suggestions or corrections.

4. Make a plan


Once you have a good idea about what’s involved in making a change in your career, make a plan. Include classes you may need to take and on-the-job learning or volunteer opportunities you’ve found. Also include any licenses or certifications you’ll need.

3. Make a timetable


While there are probably some instances where you can change your career overnight, most major changes require time. Make a plan for your training, job hunting, testing and any other steps you need to take to start your new career.

2. Plan for income


If your career change involves a lengthy course or study or an internship, make sure you’ve planned for money you’ll need while you’re learning. You may want to stay with your current job and learn part time, find a new part time job, or apply for grants to carry you through.

1. Look ahead


When you’re working to change your career, it’s easy to get discouraged, especially if you’re tired from working and attending classes. Keep your eye on your goals, and remember that the hardest part will soon be over. You have a brand new career ahead of you, and that’s a great reason to keep going forward.

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