This blog is part of the Career Collective.
I recently conducted a poll on LinkedIn which asked, “If you could change your current career path and reinvent yourself, would you?” 63% of the respondents said yes. We reposted the article on the LinkedIn Group ‘Jobs Openings, Job Leads, and Job Connections’ and there was a huge outpouring of comments. Clearly this issue resonates with people.
What the poll results tell me is that many people would like the opportunity to change careers. The biggest challenge that job seekers face is knowing how to go about doing this. While changing careers sounds nice on paper, doing it isn’t always easy.
If you are currently employed and your company offers tuition reimbursement, try to take advantage of this valuable benefit! I know juggling multiple priorities can be challenging; but this benefit can yield strong dividends for your career.
If you were downsized, right-sized, or sized in some other manner and meet the financial requirements, you may be eligible for a Pell grant, which is the primary grant given to low-income students.
Available federal loans also include the Perkins loan, the Stafford Loan and the Student PLUS loan. Many loans are given to students who do not fall into a low income category. This financial assistance might be just the thing you need in order to meet the educational requirements to help you achieve your career goals.
Do be careful though. You may want to be a forensic science expert (CSI lovers will relate), but do your research in advance to determine if the salary, number of potential jobs, and necessary training make sense for you. Making a career change is a big step; due diligence is critical to ensure that you make a prudent decision. Consider speaking with a career coach and having a personality assessment done to determine which career paths are most suitable for you.
One great reference to explore is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. The UK Employment Bureau also has some excellent information under the umbrella of the Office of National Statistics. Canadian job statistics can be found at canadabusiness.ca. Researching industry trends will allow you to make smart decisions that can provide information on advancement, growth, and the down low about what it is going to take to get your foot in the door.
Once you have invested the time and energy into getting retrained, work with a reputable professional résumé writer who knows how to reposition candidates in career transition. Some of your previous skills can be of value in your new role and bringing that out in a résumé takes some finesse. Changing careers can be a daunting task, but many people have successfully done it; and some have even gone on to become industry experts in their new chosen field.