5 Tips to Starting Your New Career Path

Katie Dunn By Katie Dunn ● November 30, 2020
Momentum starting down new career path
New career paths offer fresh starts, oppor­tu­ni­ties to make an impact in the world, bet­ter work-life bal­ance, and more.
Whether you’re return­ing to work or look­ing for a way to build resilien­cy in chal­leng­ing times, a suc­cess­ful strat­e­gy is key to get ahead in your new career path. Here are five proven tips that have helped career changers.

1. Start with a dili­gent sit­u­a­tion­al analysis

Your gut is telling you career change” but you need an orga­nized approach. Ana­lyz­ing the pros and cons of your sit­u­a­tion can alle­vi­ate much of the uncer­tain­ty that har­bors anx­i­ety in prospec­tive career changes. You know your cur­rent sit­u­a­tion isn’t ide­al, but why exact­ly isn’t it working?

In his Career Relaunch Pod­cast, career con­sul­tant Joseph Liu explains that Clar­i­fy­ing exact­ly what dis­sat­is­fies you about your cur­rent sit­u­a­tion helps you under­stand what sort of change to make. Some­times, mak­ing a small tweak to your func­tion, role, indus­try, or loca­tion can be enough to dri­ve up satisfaction.”

If there are mul­ti­ple aspects of your pro­fes­sion that are con­tribut­ing to your dis­sat­is­fac­tion, then you may need a more involved solu­tion than a tweak — e.g. a new career path. Before div­ing head­first and build­ing your wings on the way down, how­ev­er, try con­duct­ing a thought exper­i­ment like fear set­ting” in order to han­dle your life’s dif­fi­cult choic­es and deter­mine whether or not to take action. Fear set­ting, a tech­nique found­ed on sto­icism and famous­ly applied by ser­i­al entre­pre­neur Tim Fer­ris, can be an impor­tant tool for over­com­ing the fear of mak­ing dif­fi­cult choices.

Through what­ev­er method works for you, it is help­ful to have your eyes open about the pros and cons of the next chap­ter of your career.

2. Research and experiment

Reach out to peo­ple and con­duct infor­mal inter­views or cof­fee chats. You can even go as far as shad­ow­ing some­one to gain insights into the profession’s reg­u­lar dai­ly nuances. Hav­ing a much bet­ter idea of whether or not the pro­fes­sion is, in fact, a strong fit for your lifestyle and career goals will alle­vi­ate the daunt­ing uncer­tain­ty of switch­ing to it.

Auro­ra Meneghel­lo, the founder of Repur­pose Your Pur­pose, a pro­gram for knowl­edge trans­fer, coach­ing, and train­ing on career tran­si­tions, rec­om­mends speak­ing with at least ten peo­ple who are in the prospec­tive career you are con­sid­er­ing pur­su­ing. If you do your research and talk to peo­ple, you will make an informed deci­sion, great­ly min­i­miz­ing the risk of choos­ing some­thing that won’t work for you.”
"Does the posi­tion pay less but afford more time with fam­i­ly for improved work-life balance?"

3. Ana­lyze your finances

Finan­cial uncer­tain­ty is at the top of the list of rea­sons why chang­ing careers can be stress­ful. It is prob­a­ble that your new career path could involve begin­ning at an entry-lev­el salary and work­ing your way up. As you make a career switch, you should con­sid­er cre­at­ing a new bud­get and pro­ject­ing what your life would look like if you need to invest time in addi­tion­al edu­ca­tion or skills train­ing in order to achieve your new career goals.

At the same time, under­stand finan­cial trade­offs. Does the posi­tion pay less but afford more time with fam­i­ly for improved work-life bal­ance? Prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, build­ing a finan­cial safe­ty buffer is rec­om­mend­ed, as it pro­vides lee­way and flex­i­bil­i­ty while you find your foot­ing in your new career. Think­ing hard about finances will pro­vide a strong base from which to begin your transition.

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4. Lever­age your expe­ri­ences and skills properly

Plen­ty of your past expe­ri­ences and skills are direct­ly trans­fer­able and valu­able to prospec­tive employ­ers. The key is know­ing how to prop­er­ly reframe them so you can artic­u­late how your expe­ri­ences are applic­a­ble. The demand for trans­fer­able skills like com­mu­ni­ca­tion, lead­er­ship, deci­sion-mak­ing, and inno­va­tion will nev­er go away. Even so, while you may clear­ly see how your expe­ri­ences relate to your new career, poten­tial employ­ers often require more detail.

Pay spe­cif­ic atten­tion to the type of lan­guage used in job descrip­tions in your prospec­tive career. By tai­lor­ing your nar­ra­tives and relat­ing them sim­i­lar­ly to the types of work required of your new job, employ­ers will more eas­i­ly draw the con­nec­tions to your skillset and how it can be applied.
Momentum starting down new career path experiences

5. Build your network

The adage remains true, who you know is more impor­tant than what you know. Re-kin­dling old con­nec­tions and cul­ti­vat­ing new ones is a great way to gen­er­ate the serendip­i­ty” that so often leads to new promis­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. Specif­i­cal­ly, try to get to know rel­e­vant con­tacts in your prospec­tive indus­try — LinkedIn, con­fer­ences, and free train­ing cours­es or meet­up groups are all sol­id chan­nels to start build­ing your network.

Being aware of people’s sched­ules and band­width, as well as approach­ing con­ver­sa­tions with a learner’s atti­tude, will help you over­come bar­ri­ers. The more peo­ple that know you’re look­ing for a new career path, the better.

Key take­aways for build­ing your new career path

Approach­ing a career change doesn’t have to be daunt­ing. The five strate­gies out­lined here can help you get start­ed down the path of a new career today. If you are look­ing for more advice on how to get start­ed with a career change, Momen­tum can help. We are pas­sion­ate about help­ing peo­ple learn new skills and expand their hori­zons through tran­si­tion­ing to a new career. For more tips and infor­ma­tion, sched­ule a con­ver­sa­tion with our Admis­sions team today.

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