The Ultimate Checklist for Anyone Considering a Career Switch
What to consider before making the transition, during your job hunt, and after landing a new role
Most of us have, at one point or another, fantasized about starting over in a whole new career. Maybe you wonder each time you open a spreadsheet if your attention to detail might serve you better in something like event planning. Maybe you spend meetings daydreaming about abandoning office life and opening a bakery. Maybe you’ve always secretly believed you’d make a great doctor.
It’s easy, especially if you’ve ever experienced more than a fleeting frustration with your job, to understand the appeal of starting from scratch in a new industry. What all those fantasies typically fail to acknowledge, though, is that actually following through with a career change is both a challenge (you’ll likely be working your way up from the bottom again) and a gamble (you may not even like it).
This doesn’t mean a career switch is always a bad idea — just that it requires plenty of preparation and diligence. The first step is to decide whether a career change is what you really want and to make sure you’re interested in it for the right reasons. From there, a number of things can help ensure a smooth transition to and guarantee satisfaction in your new career, from whittling down your debt to giving your résumé an overhaul. Here’s everything to you’ll need to know to make your career transition a step-by-step success.
Stage 1: Preparing to make the change
First, sleep on it
This isn’t a decision to make at the spur of the moment. “The most common mistake is to react to an unsatisfactory situation with an impulse instead of a plan,” says Larry Smith, an economics professor at the University of Waterloo. “Sometimes the impulse is away from an existing career or employer; sometimes the impulse is toward a new career.”
Either way, it’s a decision that can often be driven by emotion. But without research and careful forethought to anchor this transition, you run the risk of landing yourself in a similarly dissatisfying new career. “While you are looking for a career you will enjoy better than…