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Time for a Career Change?

Career Exploration The Hiring Process The Local Job Market Job Training Success on the Job

Question: I’ve just been laid off, again, from a dying company in a dying industry. I think it’s time for a career change. How do I go about it? Answer: That’s a big question, but a really good one. Many people have done it before you. In fact, changing careers is becoming the new normal. Only a generation or two ago, people took a job right after graduation and usually stayed with the company, if not the same job, till retirement. Now we routinely change jobs, and sometimes careers, as many as ten times over forty years. First, ask yourself if this is the right time. You said you’ve already been laid off. If you’re desperate for a new job, you might be better off taking whatever job you can get for the moment (emphasizing “for the moment.”) That will buy you some time to prepare for your career change. Depending on how drastic a change you decide to make, it may take a while. Let’s assume, for now, that you want to make a major change. Will you need to go back to school? If so, do you just need a short-term training, or do you need a whole new degree?  If you have to work full time and go to school in your off hours, this might take a while. Don’t give up; you can do it if you want it enough. But you’ll want to be realistic about the sacrifices you’ll have to make.  Do you know anyone who does what you think you want to do? Do you know anyone in the industry or the company you want to enter? Some 75% of job seekers find their new job by networking (talking with other people.) If you don’t already have those contacts, you’ll need time to form those valuable relationships. Beyond that, you’ll need to take a hard, honest look at yourself. Do you have the skills that employers in your new field want? Will you be able to convince an employer to take a chance on you, rather than hire someone who’s done this kind of work for years? How? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone? Do you enjoy change? Do you mind taking several steps backwards, to start again at entry level? Have you been restless, professionally, for a while? If you’re ready to pursue a different career (or even if you decide to stay in the field you’re in), Frederick County Workforce Services is here for you. You can talk with our Career Specialists to get a reality check, and with our Business Services Representatives to see what the business picture is in the local area. None of this is meant to discourage you. But you need a realistic picture if you want to make the transition to a new career successfully. You can do it!