3 Tips for Making an Unplanned Career Change

Job hunting is tough. One thing that can make it even more challenging is having to hunt for a new job in a completely different industry than the one you’ve already mastered. If you used to work in an industry that has now been deemed “non-essential,” please don’t be discouraged if you find yourself among the sizable number of people who are now scrambling to find jobs in “essential” industries. This could actually turn out to be a fantastic opportunity for you to learn, grow and find an even better job than the one you left behind. We invite you to consider the following 3 tips for navigating an unexpected, unplanned career change.

3 Tips for Making an Unplanned Career Change

1. Revise Your Goals for the Future

Perhaps you’ve come to realize that your former goals are now unattainable. There is no shame in admitting this and pivoting to travel in a new direction. Figure out where you want to go next because you’ll never get there unless you map out an itinerary.

2. Bridge the Gaps Between What You’ve Been Doing and What You Want to Do Next

Are there any hurdles that will hinder you from achieving your goals for the future? If so, identify what they are, and then give some thought to how you can overcome them.

Three of the most common hurdles that career changers encounter include lack of expertise, lack of confidence and lack of suitable career opportunities in the immediate area. All three of these hurdles can be overcome, but it may take a significant investment of resources to do so.

You can overcome lack of expertise and lack of confidence by seeking out relevant training and education for the job you want to get. For example, if your new goal is to become a top executive at a global corporation, you’d probably find it helpful to pursue an advanced degree such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Management. The experience you would gain from either of these degrees would instill both the confidence and the expertise necessary for skillfully managing others. Here is a great MBA admission guide so you can take that first tep and get started.

Happily, one positive consequence resulting from the COVID-19 crisis is that geographic boundaries are less of a hurdle than they used to be. Now that more employees are working from home, you’re likely to find that remote jobs are more easily accessible to you. But if that doesn’t work out, you could remove the hurdle of geographic boundaries by simply moving to a location where work is more readily available.

3. Communicate With Your Network

There are bunches of people who know you, trust you and understand that you do great work. Your next job offer will probably materialize with help from one or more of these people within your network of contacts – perhaps a friend from university, a former colleague, a family member, or a friend of a friend.

It would therefore be a strategic mistake for you to focus all your time on responding to job postings from companies where you don’t know anyone. Instead, call or contact people you know and ask if they’re aware of any opportunities that would be a match with your professional goals.

Changing careers can be daunting, particularly if the career change wasn’t one you were expecting to make. Implementation of the above suggestions can help you to initiate the smoothest possible transition into your new career. It will most likely not be an easy task to find a new job considering the current conditions, but don’t worry; there are still huge numbers of opportunities out there. With persistence, and hopefully some help from your network, you’re sure to find a fantastic new job that suits you.

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Amy Solovay

Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a management background. She enjoys using her expertise to help businesses find solutions for the everyday challenges they face. Amy frequently writes about management related topics including staffing, recruiting, training, employee engagement and the future of work.

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  1. Luke Sebastian says

    Great read! i just wanted to add, Career change or transitioning to a new role can be a long process, especially in this tough job market. Thus, prepare yourself to be in the job hunt for several months. As what career experts claimed, it will take you at least eight months to find a new job these days, even when you’re not making major changes in your career. And that’s only the average. The greater the gap between your most recent experience and job goals, the more challenging your career change will be. You may need to compromise on the role and wage in your next job to get you on the right track towards your targeted role.


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