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Making a Career Change

Career Exploration Job Search Inspiration

Question:

I’m tired of the work I’ve been doing for the last 10 years. Time is slipping away, and I want to do something that’s meaningful to me. Unfortunately, that’s in an entirely different field. How can I transition to something new?

Answer:

It will be a challenge, but it can be done.

Start by identifying the job you want, in the field you want. The more specific you can be with this, the better. Do your research: read up on the field online, talk to people who do what you think you want to do, or work where you think you want to work. Find out what you can expect to be paid in that position: can you work with that? Be sure you know what it’s really like to do that job on a day-to-day basis. You don’t want to find yourself sick of that job in a few years.

The next step is to identify your transferable skills. You’ve been in the workforce long enough to have developed quite a collection. Be generous with this: don’t limit yourself to job-specific skills. Your people skills (also called power skills) may seem a little vague to you, but they are very important to employers.

Check out this website: www.myskillsmyfuture.org. You can put a job title into the search engine, and the site will bring you back a list of other careers that use the same skills. It will identify the differences and similarities between the title you put in and other jobs. It will probably suggest jobs to you that you would never have thought of on your own.

Your research may suggest some skills you need to add to your inventory, in order to qualify for the job you want. You can talk with one of our staff about how to get them.

When you’re ready, think about how you want to tell your success stories. What do you have in your background that will appeal to a hiring manager in the company you want to join? This will be useful, not only for the interview, but for the cover letter and resume as well.

Frederick County Workforce Services has some resources that can help. For choosing that new career, attend the Career Decision Making workshop. It will help you narrow the field from all the things you could do down to that one (or a few) that you really want to do.

If you want to think about transferable skills and identify some of your own, go to Instant Confidence! Sell Your Strengths. You have many transferable skills that you’ve probably never thought of in that light.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Life is too short to do a job you dread doing. The change won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.