At #G20Chat on July 6th, our community came together to discuss changing your career path.
Here are some things we discussed about knowing when to change your career path, how to create your career change strategy, and some advice for when you’re dissatisfied with your job (for the full recap, click here):
What are some signs you might not be on the right career path?
“If you’re not growing, using your skills, passionate about your work, or excited about your path it’s time to move on.” — @rachaeltulipano
“I’m inclined to say that you don’t feel like your talents and skills are being put to good use.” — @nicolebooz
“You don’t enjoy going into work. The day drags on. You’re in a constant state of unhappiness. You long for something more.” — @NotAMBlog
“When it’s a struggle to get through the day, it’s time for a change.” — @allisonjensen_
“No spark..if you aren’t motivated at work at this stage of your career, you aren’t on right path. Lack of daily motivation. If you’re a “bare-minimum” person right now, you aren’t on the right path.” — @BPucino
“When no one is receptive to new ideas, you’re still at the same level when you started and it becomes a drag.” — @Bz_Hive
“There’s more dread than happiness in your heart.” — @mnioannou
“You don’t even have to dread work or be unhappy to know. Apathy is also a sign.” — @leakhorat
“When you can’t imagine a future doing what you’re doing in your current career.” — @MyCityAmbition
“Constant unhappiness—you dread the weekend because you know Monday comes quickly or you find yourself envying other ppl’s jobs.” — @marinacrouse
When is the best time to consider changing your career path, job or position?
“When you feel like your job is completely changing who you are and not in a good way.” — @Bz_Hive
“Ideally if you can afford to change careers, definitely pursue the shift. But generally when your work feels stale it’s time.” — @rachaeltulipano
“When you start feeling dread for your job, when you feel like you’re not being utilized enough or you’re just entirely unhappy.” — @NotAMBlog
“When the unhappiness lasts longer than just a short period of time.” — @mnioannou
“Realistically, not everyone’s passion is gonna pay bills. Chase the passion if you’ve got talent and a plan.” — @leakhorat
“People have a tendency to remain stuck for fear of change. Making a change even harder. Really, any time is the best time.” — @MyCityAmbition
“The moment you think it might be the right idea. (Not saying be rash, but consider seriously at first hint).” — @VinceSkolny
“It’s time to make a change when you’re not progressing and see no future of change or growth.” — @marinacrouse
“When you’re in the right frame of mind..don’t look to change out of hate for old career..change out of passion for new career.” — @BPucino
On the flip side: When is a bad time to consider changing your career path, job or position?
“Don’t quit bc you can’t stick it out until something better comes. It’s important to leave for the RIGHT fit, not just any job.” — @rachaeltulipano
“I don’t think there is a bad time to consider changing careers. As long as you make the transition at a pace that works for you. Impatience is normal. Even if it’s not your “forever” job learn all you can while you’re there!” — @MiraJoleigh
“Don’t quit solely because of one bad day or one bad week.” — @NotAMBlog
“Don’t leave if you think there is more learning to be done! Also don’t leave to “escape” a person or task.” — @MaryinManhattan
“I think it could be a *bad* time if you haven’t really thought about what you want to do going forward.” — @nicolebooz
“When you’re mad. Knee-jerk reactions are never as good an idea as they seem (or as satisfying as you think it will be!). I thought about leaving my job for close to a year before I made a change, and it was definitely worth the wait.” — @marinacrouse
“Too early, i.e. you haven’t been there that long. Give it a chance, see if it changes, then make your move.” — @allisonjensen_
How can you “test the waters” of a new career BEFORE uprooting your life?
“Take someone out for coffee who’s in the role you’re looking to pursue.” — @MaryinManhattan
“Test a new career out by shadowing, interning part-time, and networking. Interviewing is also a great way to learn if it fits!” — @rachaeltulipano
“Test a new career before you commit by freelancing. You can also learn a lot by interviewing people working in your desired field!” — @MiraJoleigh
“Volunteering, blogging, etc. Possibly taking some classes to see if the aspects really interest you.” — @RLMiller4_92
“Get to know people already in the career. See what they’re up to, what they like and don’t like.” @allisonjensen_
“Talk to others in the industry. See if you can shadow someone in the field. Read applicable interviews & blog posts.” — @NotAMBlog
“Network! Ask people in the areas of interest what their day to day is like. Ask about their career paths and advice.” — @marinacrouse
“Search for ppl who do what you do at the company you want to work for on LinkedIn and connect, and by connect, I mean show a genuine interest in them as a person and what they do at the company.I’m a HUGE fan of Coursera… those verified certifications look great on your LinkedIn profile!” — @BPucino
“There’s a website called @iwantherjob that interviews women in different industries. Very insightful! Follow @MAKERSwomen for inspiring stories of women who have blazed trails in their chosen field!” — @MiraJoleigh
“Attend a trade show, become an intern, and, if possible, side hustle.” — @VinceSkolny
“Connect with people working in the industry on social. Read interviews with them. Read applicable blogs.” — @mnioannou
If you’ve tested the waters and are sure you’re ready to make the switch, what are some ways you can gain relevant experience if you plan to completely change industries?
“Internships, side projects, night courses or grad school, depending on what you’re aiming to do! Network, again! Highlight your experiences and skills and also find away to grow where you need to, by taking a class.” — @marinacrouse
“Are there freelance opportunities? Internships available? Opportunities to shadow? Take advantage. Your skills can be more transferable than you may think. Figure out ways your past experiences can extend.” — @NotAMBlog
“Volunteer and create you own opportunities. Do as much as you can when you can.” — @Bz_Hive
Start by cataloguing every relevant experience and skill that you have. Then figure out which are marketable. How can you leverage them immediately to get started? That leads to next steps.” — @VinceSkolny
“Start by analyzing all of your past jobs for transferable skills–skills you’ve acquired that transcend jobs & industries. Having this skills-based view of your work experience will help you realize you have more relevant experience than you think. Honestly I use a lot of skills I’ve developed in my retail & sales jobs in my career development work.” — @BPucino
“Say you’re transitioning from Lawyer to Counselor (MFT)… You’re already skilled w/consulting people ab sensitive subjects. Download the “Thinking Talents” app to easily see where your skills overlap in your new career.” — @MiraJoleigh
“Adult ed programs are a great way to earn affordable education + experience. Online courses (even YouTube) can teach skills too.” — @rachaeltulipano
What are the steps you can take to prepare yourself (and your finances, if necessary) for changing your career path?
- Minimize your expenses and save at least 6 months of expenses ahead of time. — @MiraJoleigh
- Look at your budget and then look at it again. Figure out what changes you need to make to make the switch work for you. — @marinacrouse
- Cut down on your expenses if you have to relocate. — @RLMiller4_92
- Have something lined up ahead of time. Avoid having gaps on your resume if you can. — @allisonjensen_
- Do extensive research and familiarize yourself with your new career. Be prepared to work hard and take notes. — @rachaeltulipano
- Acquaint yourself with what will be required in your new career. — @RLMiller4_92
How can you use your social media platforms to better brand yourself for a career switch?
- Declare you interests or new field in your bio.
- Participate in Twitter Chats.
- Start posting and tweeting relevant content for your field — it’s one way to build your way to being an industry expert.
- Connect with industry professionals through hashtags. Share your relevant content with them.
- If you’re well-established, reach out bloggers and online platforms to share a guest post on your industry.
- Join LinkedIn groups and share your industry knowledge.
- Live tweet webinars, conferences or other events.
- Engage in discussion — share your thoughts and opinions.
Key Advice From Those Who Have Switched Career Paths:
“Be patient with yourself in the career transition process. You WILL get there. Your level of success is directly correlated with the quality of your network. Make in-person networking a priority too! It’s ok to stand out! Sometimes your past career is exactly what will give you an advantage over other applicants! Take BOLD ACTION in your career transition. Reach out to someone for mentorship. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. You know you’ve found your ideal career when it energizes you. When love it so much you’d almost do it for free.” — @MiraJoleigh
“Keep on top of what sparks your interest, don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t. It’s ok to change and move on.” — @nicolebooz
“Don’t be afraid! Everything is a learning experience, even if you do eventually face failures.” — @NotAMBlog
“Transitions are hard. Be prepared for a challenge. Don’t let fear hold you back. You’ll eventually come out on top. Worth it!” — @MyCityAmbition
“If you’re unhappy with you current career, find the right one. Keep looking until you find it. Chase after it. It will happen.” — @rachaeltulipano
“Ask yourself what you’re interested in & what you like to do. It doesn’t always mean following your passion but interest is ?.” — @marinacrouse
“What you choose to do shouldn’t be hard and you shouldn’t feel drained at the end of the day. You should be happy!” — @Bz_Hive
“Remember it’s okay to change your mind. I changed mine & it was the best decision I ever made.” — @JayCitrus
“It’s really only ever too late when you decide not to. You’re as young as you’ll ever be right now. And… don’t wait. Think rigorously, of course–don’t be rash, but then pull the damn trigger. You’ll regret it.” — @VinceSkolny
“The common thread I see in people I talk to is the fear that they’re putting their chips on the wrong color. In my experience, one must first realize the bet is on THEMSELVES either way. YOU control how this change plays out. When you love it so much you’d almost do it for free”- its a REAL feeling & when you feel it, you’re set.” — @BPucino
- Thinking Talents (free): Use this to identify transferable and overlapping skill sets between job industries.
- Coursera (from $79): Earn certifications in different subjects and add them to your LinkedIn profile to illustrate your expertise.
- Follow MAKERSwomen (free on Twitter): Inspiring stories of female trailblazers.
- Follow iwantherjob (free on Twitter): Interviews with women in different industries.
- LinkedIn & Twitter
- Our e-course: Finding Purpose in Your Career
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this article.