It’s common for professionals to have misconceptions about making a career change. Often, they focus on stories about how others became increasingly satisfied with their professional lives after making the switch. While this can serve as a powerful motivator, it only showcases part of the picture.
Approaching your career change with optimism and excitement isn’t a bad thing, particularly since it can keep you motivated. However, you also need to understand the realities of what the undertaking involves. Otherwise, you may soon end up disenchanted with the notion. If that occurs, you might abandon your goal of taking your career in a new direction, simply because you weren’t prepared for what was on the horizon.
If you want to make sure you are ready for the realities of making a career change, increasing the odds you’ll see it through, here’s what you need to know.
Making A Career Change?
Patience is a Necessity
It’s true that every job search takes time. But, if you are trying to change careers, patience is a necessity. Often, it is easier to convince a hiring manager that you are ready to take the next step forward than it is to get them to believe that you have what it takes to conquer a completely new field. As a result, it can take substantially longer to secure an opportunity.
Precisely how long it will take depends on a range of factors. However, it is reasonable to expect it to take six to 12 months in most situations. If the field you are entering is competitive, it could even take longer.
Be Realistic If You Want to Succeed
Unless you are making a career transition into a closely allied field from where you are today, you likely shouldn’t aim at a lateral or higher opportunity. Typically, when you change into a new field, you’ll have to take at least one step down to make it happen. At times, you may have to focus on entry-level roles, even if you are well into your career in your current field.
While some of your skills and experience will likely translate into your new career, not all of it will. Plus, in the eyes of a hiring manager, you are probably a riskier choice than someone who has spent time working in the field. As a result, you need to make sure the jobs you target are realistic options.
Honestly evaluate what you bring to the table. Explore career websites to see what people working in those positions brought to the table and compare yourself to them. Try to look at your qualifications through the eyes of a hiring manager who is meeting with other candidates besides you.
It can be hard to scrutinize your capabilities that way, but it’s a necessity. Otherwise, you might focus on opportunities you likely can’t land, causing your search to take longer or possibly not produce results at all.
Ultimately, keeping a sense of excitement and optimism isn’t a bad idea. Just make sure to meter it with a dose of realism and patience. That way, you’ll understand the path ahead and can increase your odds of success.