If you’re feeling bored or frustrated with your job, it might be time to head in another career direction. Before you make the leap to search for a new job, however, take steps to prepare for a smooth transition.
Know What You Like and Don’t.
Think carefully about your current job. What do you truly like and dislike about it? Is it the people, the culture of the organization, the work itself? Make notes in a journal about what you enjoy and what you find distasteful. A chart with pros and cons on the same page can make it easier to visualize what, specifically, about your current work you like and don’t. When you look for another career, you’ll have a better idea about what type of work you want to do.
Consider Your Skills and Interests.
You may already know exactly what you’re interested in doing. However, you might also be a little vague about the details, or, on the other hand, not know what field you want to go into at all. Consider meeting with a counselor from the alumni career center at your college, taking online career aptitude tests, and talking to friends and family to get ideas about what you could do. Also, research job openings to see which job titles jump out at you. Stay up to date on the latest in your field to learn more about up-and-coming jobs as well.
Informational Interviews are Your Friends
Locate someone who works in the field that you’re considering entering. You can do this through your networking contacts, LinkedIn, and through your college’s alumni network. Ask questions about what the person likes and doesn’t like about their job, and find out everything else you want to know about the position, the industry, the organization the person works for, etc. You can do this over the phone, online, or in-person.
Shadow Someone On the Job
After an informational interview, or even without doing one, you can do a job shadow where you work alongside someone in the field you want to go into. This will tell you more about the daily tasks and what the work is actually like. The experience you gain from job shadowing is invaluable and can tell you whether you’re cut out for certain types of work.
Volunteer and Learn
Use your talents and skills to volunteer in the field or position that you want to enter. This is a great way to try a career out, and you have the opportunity to build your skills at the same time. So, in addition to learning on the job while volunteering, you should also take advantage of as many professional development courses as you can in your current position, at a local community college, through your professional or trade association, etc. Creating a profile as a volunteer on the JobConnect site could easily connect you with local organizations that are looking for volunteers in the field that you are looking for a permanent position.
Consider a Local Change
You might be tired of your current job, but you don’t necessarily have to leave your organization or industry. Consider cross training to learn more about another job in the same organization, and apply for positions with a different type of work. For example, if you’re tired of working in the office at a school, find out what you have to do to become a paraprofessional to start working more hands-on with the children the school serves.
Making a complete career change is not something to do overnight. It requires significant amounts of research and thought. When you plan carefully, your career change will go more easily than if you did not.