Careers & Education

What you need to know before switching careers

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Daydreaming about switching careers? Time to make it happen!
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Before switching careers, be sure to do your homework, make a plan

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most people will have more than 10 different jobs in their lifetime.  For younger workers, that number jumps to over 15. And many of those new jobs involve new careers. 

If you're reading this article, you're probably thinking about switching careers, too. Welcome to the club!  The question is, what do you need to know before you switch careers, so your new path will lead to success?

Look at the need

In today's tight job market, it's important to do your research.  And one of the most important factors in choosing a new career is having a realistic picture of demand.  Many careers with traditionally high demand, like law and nursing, are experiencing layoffs and cutbacks.

Find a niche

Those kind of statistics might not mean the end to your dream of a new career, but they may mean you need to focus your energy on a specialization within the field.  For instance, in nursing, geriatric specialists are finding jobs wide open.  And in law firms, riparian and patent attorneys are in short supply. 

Understand the requirements

Be sure you are clear on educational requirements before trying to switch careers.  Also pay attention to physical ability, experience, and even age restrictions on some jobs (like firefighters.)

Be realistic about your earning potential

Maybe your 15 or 20 years of experience mean you're earning a six-figure salary now.  Are you prepared to take a cut in a new position?
Before switching careers, do your research on entry level salaries as well as median earning potential.  Then look at your financial needs.  Can you meet your expenses on a lower salary?  If not, are there ways you can reasonable reduce expenses to bring income and outgo into line?

Make connections

One of the hardest parts of switching careers is building a new network of colleagues.  But before
you take that first step towards your new career, work on building connections in your new field.

These people will be your source of support and information about job openings, and are key to make a career change a success.

Don't give up

Switching careers can be stressful.  And if you're like most people, there will be moments when you wonder what ever possessed you to make that change.  

But if you do your homework, plan well, and have the right mindset, you'll soon find that your new career is exactly what you needed in your life.  


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