Whether you’ve been with the same employer for years or have found yourself in a professional rut, making a career change can lead you on an uncertain path. That’s why you want to do your due diligence before making your decision. Although a higher compensation or a more flexible schedule might be what you want in a new job, before you go down the route of making a complete career change, be sure that you’re being honest with your long-term goals.
If you’ve considered making a career change, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success:
- Have you worked with your current employer to improve your situation?
If you’ve worked with an employer for an extended period of time, it can be easy to blame them for not meeting your needs. Before you do this, however, ask yourself if you’ve taken the necessary steps to let them know you want more out of your current role. If you can’t pinpoint specific examples of ideas you’ve proposed to improve your situation, you might be considering a career change too soon. Before taking any next steps, be sure that you can identify everything you’ve done on your own behalf to fix your situation.
- Have you considered the time and financial investment of changing careers?
When we run into professional roadblocks, quitting our jobs sometimes seems like the easiest way to spur change. However, it’s first important to consider the amount of time, money, and effort that goes into accomplishing that goal. For example, if you will need additional education, you must first determine if you have a solid financial plan to endure the early stages of the career change. Along similar lines, consider the amount of time it will take to outline a clear job search plan while updating your cover letters, resumes, and additional documents. As a result, looking at these types of questions thoroughly will help to define if a career change is feasible now.
- Do you have a long-term career in your industry?
Professionals tend to take on roles as a temporary solution to a long-term plan, but get caught up in the daily routine of working for a particular employer. If this is you, ask yourself if your current employer or manager is the reason you are considering a career change. In the years to come, will you gain the skills you need to remain competitive or build the leadership skills crucial to take the next step into a management role? If the answer is ‘yes,’ maybe a simple job change is more appropriate than a complete career change if your work is no longer fulfilling or challenging.
- Are you making a career change for the right reasons?
Depending on your current situation, it’s important to identify what’s driving you to make a career change. What exactly are you seeking to gain in your new career? Whether you are looking for a higher salary, a title change, or more responsibility, make sure it will make you happier in the end. Outlining a checklist of what you seek to gain from a career change can lead to an easier transition than quitting your job and hoping for the best. In the end, take your time before rushing into a decision that you might regret down the line.
- Is it you?
While it can be easy to point out everything going wrong around you, often times one of the hardest things to acknowledge is that you might be the problem as to why you haven’t found professional success yet. For example, if you have a history of inconsistent job hopping, or being let go for a variety of reasons, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate certain aspects of your overall professionalism. For example, some things you could fine tune include your interpersonal and communication skills, your ability to take constructive feedback, or your willingness to take responsibility for your own actions.