man at a crossroads

Planning a Career Shift? Here’s What You Should Know

The ongoing global pandemic that started in the first quarter of 2020 has turned the world upside down.

Millions of people lost their jobs. According to an April 2020 Jobs Report, the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown slashed at least 20 million jobs. Although some of these job losses are temporary, others are permanent. Sadly, some of those who lost their jobs permanently had to change their careers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also pushed people to reassess their professional journey. If you are thinking of pursuing a different career, don’t make any immediately decisions until you read our guide.

We’re going to cover what a career shift is, the signs that you should transition to a new career and how to execute a proper career change.

What is a Career Shift?

A career shift simply means changing the type of profession or job you’ve been doing. This typically involves getting a new job that differs from your recent work experience.

A career shift comes in many forms. Some of them are:

Horizontal Career Shift

This involves changing to a new job at a similar level with your current company. An example is an admin assistant wanting to become a software developer after finishing several courses in computer science.

Vertical Career Shift

This shift involves a promotion that drastically changes your role in the organization. An example is a computer programmer wanting to become a shift manager.

Job Redesign

This entails negotiating accountabilities and new responsibilities in your current department or team. An example is a software developer who wants to become a project manager.

Second Career

This career change requires significant commitments. An example is an attorney wanting to work in Tesla as an engineer.

Exploratory Change

You keep your day job while you try out a new career. An example is taking a sabbatical to publish a young adult fiction novel.

Strategic Change

This involves making a calculated step toward a future career goal. An example is a customer service manager who wants to jump to the digital marketing team to improve the organization’s online visibility.

Work-Life Balance

You can make a career shift to have a good work-life balance and mitigate burnout. An example is an IT manager who wants to become a home-based software engineer, so that they can work remotely.

When Should You Make a Career Shift?

A career shift may be the right move if you feel bored or are mentally checked out. Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

If you are reading this, there’s a chance that your current career path may not be right for you. Consider pursuing a career shift and trying something new if you display one or more of these signs:

You’re Mentally Checked Out

If someone from the office asked how you’re doing, do you respond with a cheerful “I’m great” or a monotone “I’m living the dream” with an eye roll? You’ve probably checked out mentally if you responded with the latter statement.

You need to make a career change if the mere thought of staying in your cubicle makes your energy drop.

You’re Staying in Your Current Job for the Money

Everyone has bills to pay — it’s a fact of life. People, however, have limitless ways to make money. This doesn’t have to feel soul-sucking. You’ll have zero chance of being happy or fulfilled in your job if your only intention is to make money.

You’re Bored

You may need to change your career if your work becomes too easy and predictable. If you know all the tasks, job descriptions, processes and routines of everyone in the company, take this as a hint that you need to transition into a new profession.

How Do I Make a Successful Career Shift?

Before making a career shift, think about the parts of your job that you like or dislike. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A career shift can potentially change your life. Given this, you want to make sure that you go through this process carefully.

Here are a few tips to help boost your chances of changing to a career you want:

Check Your Job Satisfaction

Keep an online or notebook journal of your reactions to your work situation and identify recurring themes. What parts of your work do you hate or love? Are you dissatisfied with your colleagues, the company culture or the content of your work? These two questions will help you determine your level of job satisfaction.

Assess Yourself

If you strongly believe that you need a career change, you’ll need to evaluate your interests, personality, skills and values using self-assessment tools, which you can find on the web. Alternatively, you can get in touch with a career transition specialist or a career counselor to get an honest assessment.

Set Up a Job Shadow

Another career advice you should follow is to shadow professionals or specialists in fields of primary interest to observe how they work. Do this for a few days to determine if their job interests you.

Look at Alternative Careers

Brainstorm ideas for career alternatives by discussing your skills and core values with your networking contacts, friends and family members. You can also go online to research viable career options.

When you’re ready to make a career change, write a cover letter reflecting your aspirations. Also, create a powerful resume focused on your new goals.

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