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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.

Top 10 Midlife Career Change Tips

August 16, 2011

Top 10 midlife career change tips”

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru

Sometimes it’s by choice, when the career that seemed so exciting at 25 has lost it’s zing at 50. Other times a midlife career change becomes a necessity when technology changes or companies downsize.

But whatever the reason, looking for a new career as an adult can be a wonderful chance to grow and explore new options. Ready to take the plunge? Here are our top 10 tip for making a midlife career change a success.

10. Beware of snake oil salesmen

Midlife career change snake oil”


Before you commit to that $10,000 program that promises to be the latest and greatest thing to ever hit the Internet (or the stock market or … ), stop and do your research. The lure of instant wealth and a new ready-made career is understandable, especially if your midlife career change was forced upon you. But be careful. Check out complaints online, visit the Better Business Bureau site, ask around.

9. Revisit old dreams

Midlife career change snake oil”

Think about what you wanted to be once upon a time. Always wanted to be a vet? Maybe four more years of college isn’t an option, but becoming a vet tech might work. Be creative.

8. Ask for change of career advice



Odds are you know more than a few people who have made major career changes in their life, so ask for their help. Whether theirs was a midlife career change or something earlier, they may be able to point you in the right direction for success.

7. Do your job prospects homework


Spend some time researching your career options. Find out where there are needs in your areas of interest. Make sure the new career you choose needs entry level employees.

6. Check out the requirements


Maybe you always wanted to be a firefighter. You know you have the physical endurance the job requires, and you’re able to stay calm and collected in an emergency. But some jobs, like firefighter or police officer, have age, height, weight or other requirements that can’t be addressed by study or degrees. Make sure you qualify.

5. Volunteer


A great way to find out if the career you think you want is really right for you is to volunteer. Not only will you get a great feel for what the job entails, you’ll be making contacts in your new field. That could give you an advantage when it comes time to apply for a paying position.

4. Network


Most cities have networking groups for people experiencing midlife career changes. Religious groups, community schools, local business publications and online networking sites are all great places to look for groups. No career change groups in your area? Consider business networking groups instead. Either way, the human contact will make the process easier, and the connections you make may help you find a new career faster.

3. Stay open to detours


Especially in the early stages of a midlife career change, it’s important to keep an open mind. On your way to what seemed like the perfect new field, you might find a detour that leads you to something even better.

2. Be realistic


If you’ve spent 20 years in an office processing accounts receivable, it’s going to be difficult to get on the path to becoming a surgeon. While almost anything is possible, make sure your expectations are realistic. Know what your career change requires, in detail. And then go for it.

1. Be optimistic


A midlife career change can feel daunting, especially if it’s been years since you’ve been in a classroom, or learned a new set of skills. But with patience and persistence, you could discover that this experience becomes one of the best times of your life.

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