No matter how satisfied you are in your current job, the odds are that sooner or later you’ll be looking to transition to a new career. The most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that wage and salary workers have been with their current employer for a median time of 4.6 years. For younger workers, ages 25 to 34, the median time is 3.0 years. Even for workers in the 55+ age bracket, the median time with their current employer is just 10.4 years.
If a transition to a new career is on your “to-do” list over the next couple years, we offer the following action steps you can take to make that transition a successful one.
Do Your Research
In this rapidly changing world in which technology dominates, not all professions offer the same potential. Some professions (such as newspaper reporter and postal service employees) are in decline, while others (such as IT specialist and market research analyst) offer good prospects for the future. If considering a new profession, look at Bureau of Labor statistics and other sources to assess long-term prospects.
Adapt Your Existing Strengths
Don’t abandon what has worked for you in the past. If your strength has always been writing and communications but you are finding weak prospects with traditional media, look to online media for more plentiful opportunities. If your talent as a retail salesperson can only take you so far, consider parlaying your sales skills into a job as a company sales rep.
Be a Joiner
Professional organizations and trade associations are a great venue for developing an all-important network of contacts in a new field. They are also excellent resources for educating yourself. Read the trade publications. Attend local chapter meetings and/or trade conferences. Ask questions and find out everything you need to know about forging a career in a specific trade or industry.
Broaden Your Skills
The surest path to career advancement is to expand your horizons. Think more broadly so that a potential employer can see within you the possibility for taking on a managerial or leadership role. If your background has been largely financial, consider taking a marketing class. If you’re a marketing guru, bone up on production and logistics. As a well-rounded individual, you will be more likely to be promoted or hired by another company that appreciates the diverse skills you bring to the table.
Pursue Additional Education
Seek out webinars and seminars in the field you wish to pursue. For maximum benefit, consider pursuing an advanced degree to propel you into a new career direction. Often times you can attend night, weekend or online classes while still working. Some companies offer tuition reimbursement benefits, which may or may not be tied to a contractual obligation to stay put for a specified time period. Completing a higher degree can open up new opportunities at your existing company as well as boost your prospects with a full spectrum of potential employers.
Explore options in new industries today to see what’s out there: Start now!