The desire to switch job fields is not an uncommon occurrence, even when you have invested several years (or decades) in a single type of profession. Maybe you have worked as an accountant for 20 years but volunteering as a tutor has made you realize you want to pursue teaching – or vice versa. Or you have worked in a fast-paced private sector job and now want to make the switch to more mission-driven non-profit work. The drive to find work that is personally fulfilling is something that many people strive towards but can become even more of a priority after facing a life-changing experience–like a cancer diagnosis. While the leap to a new work path can feel scary, it’s completely possible if you approach it strategically.
A recent article in Comstock’s Magazine highlights the importance of making a plan when taking steps in a new professional direction. Here are some of the actions you can take:
Gain clarity on what you want to do. Maybe you have a clear idea about what your next job could be, but many people need to do a little self-exploration to figure that out. Seeking advice from a career coach, taking a skills assessment and/or personality test and reviewing the details of job descriptions that speak to your interests are just some actionable items you can check off your list. If you need some additional insight into your specific situation, submit a post to our Ask a Career Coach board.
Working on building your skillset. When you have more clarity on your job goal, you’ll want to spend some time expanding your skillset and qualifications to make you the most desirable candidate possible. After you’ve done some research on that field/role, consider looking into online courses and/or certifications that will not only increase your knowledge but that you can also showcase on your resume and LinkedIn profile! There are a lot of free and low-cost offerings on udemy.com, courera.org and edx.org.
Devote time to crafting a solid resume and cover letter. Your resume and cover letter are what a hiring manager sees first, so it’s essential to put time and effort into making them as strong as possible. It’s a mistake to think that submitting a cover letter isn’t necessary, especially since it’s your chance to offer reasons why hiring you is a great decision. To get personalized advice from a career coach on how to make your resume stronger, check out our free Resume Review Service and register for our Resume 101 webinar on April 7th. We also have several articles on developing these two key materials.
To learn more about making a professional transition, register for our upcoming Balancing Work & Cancer webinars focused on job searching, especially our Career Change webinar on August 4th.