Essential Support for
Changing Careers

Changing careers gives you the chance to reinvent yourself. That opportunity doesn't happen often so grab it, be adventurous and make the most of this life you're living. Careful planning and informed decisions make change easier and you'll find all you need on this page.

If you believe that your skills and knowledge can be better utilized, or you're just stressed out at work, a career change may be the proactive step you need to achieve the life you dream about.

Changing careers requires planning and support, but true change starts with a dream that something else is possible. On this page you'll find all the support you need to move your dream towards reality. We'll cover:

  • Planning for career changes
  • Choosing the right career
  • Creating work life balance
  • Career testing
  • Writing a career change resume
  • Writing a cover letter
  • Successful job interviews
  • Negotiating your salary

What's your motivation?

The good news is that changing careers is possible. I know because I've done it, and I've helped others to do it too.

Most importantly you must know why you want a career change and what is motivating you to do this. Improving work life balance, reducing stress, making better use of your skills and knowledge or the opportunity to take control of your own income are popular reasons.

Make a decision about this first. Understanding your motivation to change keeps you clearly focused on the goal and inspires you during difficult times.

Changing Careers? Start Today!

You may need to study further or gain additional experience before you're able to successfully change careers. Don't let this discourage you. If you're patient and plan carefully you can begin the process today.

What Color is Your Parachute? is an excellent book if you find yourself out of work or changing careers. It's revised every year and provides up to date information about strategies for finding work, including writing cover letters, your resumé, and interviewing tips.

Once you're certain about your motivation for changing careers you must make decisions about which new career to follow - and when to take action.

The second part is easy. Start now. Each small step is one closer to your goal.

Knowing which career is right for you may not be as clear. Let's begin with choosing a career.

Choosing a career

If you're not sure which direction to follow then you'll want to give some thought to choosing a career. Start by

  • identifying possibilities,
  • getting more information about careers,
  • and end up with a shortlist of possible careers that interest you.

If you know what you want to do then this is the time to research that option and find out what you should do to get started. For example, if you want to leave the office and earn a living online you'll need to research the best way to start an online business.

Once you have a shortlist of careers you can focus on finding the right career. What is the right career? Easy! It's where there is a great match between yourself and the requirements of the career.

Define your skills

When you plan on changing careers it's really important to define your skills and abilities. Only then will you know which careers to target.

If someone asks about your work skills would you be able to answer them? If not, you should define your skills so that you can target the right career.

A Personal Assessment

True career happiness comes from taking the time to build self-knowledge. Changing careers and finding the right career starts with defining your personality, skills, values and abilities.

Use this great 4-part assessment created to help you learn more about yourself. The four parts of your Personal Assessment are:

Start with the Basic Life Skills assessment and I'll guide you through the other assessments.

It's worth taking the time to complete each part because you can use your self-knowledge to help you choose a career, write your resume, complete job applications and prepare for job interviews.

Work-Life Balance

Of course, for some of us the reason to change careers is that we're looking for a degree of work-life balance that we've not had before.

Achieving work-life balance helps to manage stress levels and involves planning and choosing priorities.

Career Testing

Career testing is essential if you need to make decisions about changing careers.

There are typically two types of career tests available:

  • Personality based career testing recommends careers for you based on your personality type.
  • Interest based career tests recommend careers that are best suited to your interest profile. Both are really valuable.

There are excellent online career tests that will give you valuable information to make decisions as you change careers.

Alternatively you can meet with a qualified career counselor who can give you tailored feedback and individual advice about your strengths.

In order to change careers you need to take all the information you gather and make a final decision for yourself about the change you feel best suits your needs.

OK, so you've researched a number of careers, you've matched your skills and personality to these, and have a clear idea of what you would like to do. What's next?

Well, unless you're starting your own online business you will need to apply for jobs in your area of interest. And for that you'll need a resumé.

If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you.

Your Resumé

Your resumé, or Curriculum Vitae (CV), is one of the most important tools you have for marketing yourself and changing careers.

Click here for Resumé Templates that will get you the interview

Don't forget that the reason you send a resumé is to get invited to an interview, not to get a job.

It is a challenge to write a resumé that will convince a potential employer they need you, especially when you plan to change careers. But don't stop now!

Focus on what you stand to GAIN and on your motivation to make the change.

Learn more about writing a resumé that is best for you.

Use the self-knowledge work you completed earlier to generate the skills and experience that you want to emphasize in your resumé.

Keep your new career in mind. Remember to structure your skills and experience for the new career and not according to the needs of your current or previous job.

Is your resumé complete? Would you hire yourself in an instant? Yes, of course you would!

But how do you get your new employer to pay attention to your resumé? Hire a singing, dancing delivery person? ;-)

I'm not sure that will work! But an excellent cover letter will do the same thing and create interest in your resumé.

Write A Cover Letter

Your cover letter creates interest in your resumé; your resumé gets you the interview; and your interview gets you the job. That's the way it works.

Always include a cover letter with your application. It's job is to generate massive interest in your resumé. Then your resume does its work and gets you an interview.

Your cover letter is seen first and it needs to make a good impression.

Use a simple but powerful four paragraph structure to convince the reader to turn to your resume.

Don't use the same letter for all your applications. Target your letter to the specific job and get attention by showing that you understand what they need. You can be assertive and direct attention to the unique strengths you will add to the business.

Follow these professional tips for attention-grabbing cover letters that will put you on the shortlist for interviews.

If you plan on changing careers your letter should emphasize what you can do for your employer and give examples of your relevant skills and experience.

Sending job applications by email

These days most job applications are sent using email. Make sure your cover letter and resumé are received and read in the way you intended.

The Job Interview

When your cover letter and resumé do their job you will be contacted and asked to an interview. This is the time to be prepared.

Anticipating and preparing for the interview will help you feel more at ease, especially when changing careers.

What can you do to prepare for the interview? Here are some tips:

Prepare for questions you'll be asked.

  • Research the company and the job you are applying for.
  • Think of questions you will ask in the interview.
  • Make sure you know where to go and how you are going to get to the interview. Don't plan to be be on time. Arrive early!
  • Dress neatly and professionally.

Negotiating Your Salary

Do you talk about salary in the job interview? No way. Not unless the interviewer asks about it.

When you are offered the job you are in a much stronger position to negotiate your salary.

If the interviewer raises the subject you need to be prepared and know how to deal with this to your advantage. Salary negotiation is a skill and there are a number of ideas that will help you to do this effectively.

You might be prepared to accept a lower salary if you're changing careers but there's really no reason why you should have to do this.

Don't forget to pick up a current copy of What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles to help with your planning for changing careers.

It gets excellent reviews and covers all the topics on this page including interviews and negotiating your salary.

› Changing Careers

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