Switching careers can be a daunting task! No matter how many agonizing weeks and months you spend over the decision or how committed you are to the change, it can still be a nerve-wracking proposition. Doubts about compatibility in the new field and questions about job satisfaction and salaries are normal under the circumstances. But as long as you’ve based your decision on sound considerations, a career shift can mean greener pastures and the beginning of new opportunities.
According to data collected by Pew Research, nearly 50 million workers in the U.S (30% of the total workforce) switched their jobs in 2022. Of these, 60% saw an immediate increase in their monthly earnings compared to the same month last year.
These statistics suggest that the job market is currently teeming with prospects of engineering a successful career shift.
It would be smart to shortlist multiple career options in related fields before you go about gaining the right skills, certifications, and work experience needed to apply for those roles. The process of gaining a new set of skills and applying for a new job is bound to be challenging, but there are many ways to go about it. This article will guide you through some of the finer points behind making a career shift and ways to approach the entire process.
Is it possible to change careers in 2023?
While changing careers isn’t always easy, it is doable with the right set of motivations. The challenges associated with the process can be subjective - harder for some and easier for others. Some of the challenges depend on the industry you’re planning to switch to, how relevant it is to your current work, and whether you have any prior experience with the industry. For instance, if you’re a tech writer, you most probably have an accredited degree in technology and are likely to be familiar with disciplines like artificial intelligence and machine learning. This would make switching to a core tech job easier for you.
You might face some roadblocks while breaking into a new industry if you’re not familiar with the skills necessary for it. But even these roadblocks can be overcome with persistent effort.
Signs that you should change careers in 2023
The first thing to understand is that it is completely normal to no longer feel satisfied with a particular profession after a time. Job growth doesn’t always happen in keeping with expectations in terms of pay raises and career advancement. This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and a general lack of motivation to work. A promising global job market means that you don’t have to put up with these feelings for too long before deciding to make a change.
In a trend now known as “The Great Reshuffle”, close to 53% of all American workers changed jobs in 2021. As for the age demographics, 61% of workers aged 18 to 29 made a switch in 2021, whereas 45% of workers above 30 made the same decision. Statistics suggest that people of all ages and in every market sector are switching jobs in droves. So, how do you know if it’s time for you to do the same? Here are a few signs.
You feel disinterested and bored at work
Feeling persistently demotivated at your current job can be a telltale sign that it is time to make a switch. Disinterest in your current position can often start with the awareness that your skills would be better applied at a job that excites and challenges you. This can happen even to those who are good at a particular job and used to love doing it.
You constantly feel burnt out
Burnout is a problem that many workers face. While feeling exhausted and depleted amid a hectic work life is routine every once in a while, consistent feelings of stress and burnout might be a sign that you need to do something about it. Burnout can often be the result of your job not being engaging or thrilling enough anymore. That is especially true if you continue to feel tired and burdened at work irrespective of the actual workload.
You’re starting to dread going to work
If you listen carefully, Monday mornings can tell you everything about how you really feel about your current job. If you continue to feel increasingly despondent and anxious as your weekends come to an end, it might be because your job is no longer fulfilling the way it used to be. Make sure you don’t confuse this with the normal inertia and lethargy many people feel as they resume work every Monday. Working at the right job should be motivating enough to make you feel excited about going to work.
There is no room for growth left
This is arguably the most important sign on our list. Your job should offer incremental opportunities for personal and professional growth. Any job, no matter how well-paying, will start to feel burdensome if it doesn’t allow you to evolve and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. A new McKinsey report suggests that as many as 40% of workers worldwide have changed jobs within the last year because of a dire lack of growth opportunities.
11 Tips To Make a Career Change Easier
Here are a few tips that can help you successfully navigate a career change.
This is how the legend goes! When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was deciding to quit his coveted investment banking job and start a digital bookstore (which would later become Amazon), his then-boss had a simple question, “Why?”. Bezos considers this a great motivator that helped him get over his fears and finally start Amazon. Answering the ‘why’ helped Bezos realize that he would regret not taking the chance much more than he would be taking it and failing.
Being clear about why you want to make a career change can help you put all misgivings to rest and start making a concrete plan. It also helps you tailor the rest of the changeover process to your set goals.
Find the concrete position you want to fill in
Once you’re sure of your decision to leave your current job, it is time to choose a new direction for yourself. You can start by listing out general areas of interest and then work towards narrowing down options. Keep in mind that positions that are somewhat related to your current job and educational background will be easier to get into. Your choice should depend on which fields genuinely interest you and where you can use your personal and professional skills to the best of your abilities.
Reverse engineer competencies you need to acquire to get hired
Now that you’re clear about which position you’d like to apply for, you can start making a list of all the relevant skills and certifications you’re going to need. Figuring out the specific qualifications of a job title allows you to prepare better for the interview. It also helps you understand the competitive professional demands of your new field better. Job posting platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed are great places to start looking for relevant job postings and the kind of skills and qualifications recruiters are interested in. You can also use the corporate review site Glassdoor to post job-related questions and have them answered by former or current employees of a particular company or industry.
Fill the competence gap by learning online
Employers have come to value online degrees and certifications increasingly more over the past few years. Enrolling in courses online allows you to gain all the relevant skills and certifications required for a career change without quitting your current job. Online courses offered by institutions like Turing College allow you to complete the curriculum at your own pace with active collaboration with peers, instructors, and mentors.
Decide if you want to make a lateral move or move to a new company
Changing careers doesn’t always have to mean quitting the company you’re currently working with. You can try applying for positions within other verticals of your company. For example, if you’re a data entry professional with a passion for web development, you can try doing HTML and CSS certifications and applying for a role in your company’s IT department.
Companies show an avid interest in hiring internally for positions because of one key reason - they already know the employee well. Whenever a new position opens up in a different department within your company, chances are you will be given some preference over external applicants. To apply for a lateral move within your company, you should talk to the human resources manager concerned and tell them about your intention. These managers are ideally positioned to make your transition quick and comfortable.
If you’re moving to a new company:
- Prepare for the job search: The first step of executing your career switch involves looking for and shortlisting jobs that you’re interested in. It is always wise to develop a hierarchy within these available options. For instance, you can organize them by roles that you’re deeply interested in and others that are fall-back or secondary options.
- Leverage your network: Cold emails and online applications might not always get you the job you want. The most competitive jobs see hundreds of applications and you might not always be able to stand out among them on the back of a simple email application. You can improve your chances of getting a meeting by leveraging your professional and personal networks to find connections to employees within the company. Companies naturally trust employee referrals more, which increases your chances of being able to secure an interview. Referred applications are up to four times more likely to get selected for jobs than the others.
- Be consistent with your job applications: Applying for a new job as part of a career switch can sometimes be tedious. You might not always be able to get interviews and job offers right from the get-go. What’s crucial is being consistent with your applications and putting in the time and effort to keep applying for at least a few positions each week. Employment website Indeed advises candidates to apply for 10-15 jobs each week to be able to line up a few prospective interviews.
- Once you get a good deal, negotiate your salary terms: Negotiation is a key skill when it comes to finalizing the terms of your new job, especially your compensation and benefits. You should have an expected salary in mind and a credible explanation of why you deserve it. The key to negotiating well is constantly trying to mitigate problems that arise from either side of the deal (you or the employer). While you must avoid underselling yourself, it is as important to show some flexibility and genuine interest in a job offer being made to you.
Aside from knowing all the important tips and tricks for a successful job application process, it is important to steer clear of any discouraging myths or misconceptions about changing careers. These misconceptions can negatively impact people and turn them around from making decisions that could eventually prove life-changing.
Myths about a career change
Here are two of the most prevalent myths about changing careers and why you shouldn’t pay heed to them.
You can’t change careers after a certain point
This is perhaps the most common misconception that discourages people from changing careers after a certain point in their professional life. A 2022 survey conducted by Novoresume found that nearly 80% of workers over the age of 40 consider a change in careers but only 5% go through with it. However, the survey also found that 82% were able to successfully change careers after the age of 45. Contrary to popular belief, your age can prove a great asset while shifting careers. Older employees usually have more professional work experience, which makes them extremely valuable for companies.
Changing careers means starting over from scratch
While you might have to settle for a slightly lower salary or job title when you switch careers, you don’t always have to start over from the bottom of the corporate ladder. Employees who can satisfactorily demonstrate relevant skills through projects and qualifications are also considered strongly for higher positions. While relevant work experience does matter, possessing actual skills and the certifications to back them up also go a long way in getting you a well-paying job.
Examples of a career change
Let’s understand the process of changing careers better with the help of two illustrative examples.
- John Doe is a long-time business and tech writer who has been covering the latest developments and trends in the field for over 12 years. He feels that he has reached his full potential as a writer and would now like to switch to big data analysis, a subject he developed an affinity for while researching cutting-edge business technologies. He knows enough about the field to understand what a job as a data analyst would entail and would like to give it a go. While conducting in-depth research, John Doe finds that he lacks basic knowledge of coding languages required to make models. He decides to enroll in Turing College’s online course. Soon, he gains all the relevant skills required to make the career switch and starts applying for jobs.
Learn better with Turing College
Both the examples mentioned above illustrate the pivotal role online courses play in helping employees make a substantial career change. At Turing College, our specially curated distance learning courses can help you make similar, bold leaps without quitting your current jobs.
Our comprehensive tech courses are curated by industry professionals from leading tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Unity. You can finish all of them at your own pace while gaining real-time experience through one-on-one code reviews.