10 hints for successfully changing careers

Tired of your job?  Ready for something new?  Check out some of these ideas for ways to successfully change careers.

image1. Unemployment. Check out the rules and requirements for qualifying for unemployment. Before you quit or get fired, you’ll want to be educated about your options for unemployment. The extra money from Unemployment might be enough to get you through a few months while you’re changing careers.

2. Good Resume. Even if you think you have a good resume, get some help.  Your local college and other professionals are good resources for help with writing an effective resume.  Some places offer this service, but shop around.  You don’t want to pay for something you can get for free or do yourself (with some helpful suggestions or advice from people you already know).image

3. Counseling. If you’re not exactly sure what you want to do, invest in some career counseling.  Your local college probably offers this service at a decent price (maybe even free!).  Consider it an investment in yourself.  An effective career counselor will take an integrative approach – including personality tests, career inventories, career educations, and other services.  Ask for what your career counseling will involve when you’re calling around.

4. Who You Know.  Don’t just depend on craigslist and the newspaper want ads.  Most positions, especially the really good ones, never even hit the public.  They’re usually filled by someone who knows someone who would be perfect for the job.  What does that mean?  Time to start talking to everyone you know.  You never know who your friends or old acquaintances know.  The worst that will happen?  You’ll touch base with someone who might be able to help you down the road.

5. A Good Cover Letter.  Don’t go thinking that your awesome resume will do the talking for you.  You need to write a personal cover letter to each job you’re interested in.  Your cover letter gives you the opportunity to show who you are, personal information that makes you more than just an applicant, and it’s an opportunity to show you’ve done your research on them.  Although you might start with a general cover letter, you MUST personalize it for each place you apply.

6. Different Resume.  You’ll need to change your resume a bit depending on where you apply.  Don’t just keep one and send it to everyone.  Different positions require different talents and skills.  You’ll want to give special attention to the skills the job requires.  image

7. Plan for it.  If you’re tired of your job, and you know you’re going to want to change careers soon, start saving for it.  Set a goal amount to be saved – enough money to get you through a set amount of time.  This will give you something to rely on while you’re looking.  Of course, it’s always best to find a new career or job while you still have one.  The backup money may help you out, though, especially if you choose a career that takes some time to build up (insurance agent, realtor, etc).

8. More School.  Be prepared to go back to school or get more training.  It doesn’t matter how old you are.  It’s never too late to go back to school, especially if it means following your dreams.

image9. Volunteer.  If you think you might be interested in the human service field, start volunteering in some capacity in the field you’re interested in.  That will give you some insight from others already in the field, you’ll get to make some contacts, and you’ll get a taste of the work while giving back to your community.

10. Listen.  To yourself.  Be honest with yourself regarding what you want out of a career.  Is making a lot of money the most important thing?  Is giving back to the community a priority?  Understanding your own values regarding what you want out of a career will help lead you in the right direction.

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