Have you ever caught yourself at work wondering what it would be like to completely change careers or just work somewhere else? It’s not uncommon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American has up to 12 different jobs in their lifetime. 

Working professionals in every industry make career transitions, be it a lateral career move in the same field or a complete pivot from one line of work to another. Whatever your situation may be, one thing is certain: A seamless career transition takes planning and preparation. 

To make the transition as smooth as possible, we’ll cover how to plan for your big career change and what to consider before making the switch to your new job.

5 Steps to Prepare for Your Career Transition

Whether it’s a change in title or a totally new career path, changing careers is a big step. You’re accepting new responsibilities while facing a lot of unknowns. No matter the degree of change you’re about to make, you can prepare with some key steps. Here’s a five-step plan to help you make the switch: 

1. Update your resume and cover letter

If you’re serious about your job search, then you know the importance of an up-to-date resume and a strong cover letter. When updating your resume, it’s important to mention what new skills you’ve developed on the job. Transferable skills are skill sets you can leverage to set yourself apart from other applicants or to qualify you for specific roles that may otherwise require training. 

For best results, sync your Linkedin resume so it matches the one you hand to hiring managers and recruiters online. For more help on updating your resume, check out this resume guide

2. Broadcast your career change to your network

Making a career switch can be daunting, but it’s easier when you have a community to support you. If you have a professional network of colleagues and friends that you trust, discuss your plans with them and ask them to look out for roles that seem like a good fit. You can also change your status on Linkedin to “Open to Job Opportunities” so recruiters outside of your organization can contact you about potential jobs. 

3. Grow your network to source new opportunities

You should also think about how you can expand your professional network. If you’re looking to leap into a new field, talk to professionals in that space. They can give you helpful career advice and point you to new opportunities. One way to expand your network is to contact people over social media. Additionally, attend free webinars and link up with the host afterward. They’re usually open to connecting and chatting about their profession. 

The other obvious route is to attend networking events. This could be free, industry-related meetups in your area (check Meetup for professional groups in your area of interest) or conferences and seminars. Both are great ways to rub shoulders with industry thought leaders and professionals alike. 

4. Conduct your own informational interviews

The term “informational interview” may sound a bit formal and old fashioned. The truth is, you conduct these interviews anytime you ask someone about their job. The trick is to not call it an “informational interview.” If you want to learn more about a career or company, like the day-to-day workload or the work-life balance, then schedule a time to chat with someone working there. It’s that easy. 

5. Get job interviews 

Another safe way to approach your career switch is to start applying for jobs in your new field. As a job seeker, it will give you an idea of what you need to do to secure a job interview. If you don’t get any bites from companies, that means you either need to tweak your resume or develop some new skill sets that relate to the new position and your future career goals. 

Taking these small steps is important. Ideally, you can work on each of these while you still have your current job. That will alleviate pressure so you can focus on updating your resume, expanding your network, and seeking out new and exciting opportunities. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get a job offer along the way.

How to Change Careers and What to Expect With the Big Shift? 

Switching careers is not easy. Even with proper planning, sometimes the only way to make it happen is to take a leap of faith. Some professionals push themselves by quitting their jobs and never looking back. Others prepare for a career change but shy away from the cliff and stay put. 

Making the leap is the first step to a successful transition, but it’s not always smooth sailing. Here are three common situations you may encounter and tips on how to maneuver them:

Scenario 1: You find a new job and you love it

This is the best-case scenario. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your career switch and found a fulfilling job on the other side of that transition. Props to you for making it work and finding a meaningful career.

Scenario 2: You don’t love it and return to your old job

You’ve made that career switch and realize very quickly that the grass only seemed greener on the other side. If this is the case, returning to your old job may (or may not) be an option. But even if your former employer won’t take you back, you can likely find another job pretty quickly in your old field since you possess the skills and know-how already.

Scenario 3: You realize that you’re still looking for something else

If you get that new career or if you’re still in transition, and you realize you’re still not happy, that’s a sign that you haven’t found what you’re really looking for. In this case, you may never find fulfillment working for someone else. So what can you do about it? Maybe it’s time to start your own business. 

Consider Starting Your Own Business 

If you’re tired of dead ends and working for other people, you should consider being your own boss. Working in a field you’re passionate about on your terms is a liberating feeling, and it’s totally possible. 

Never thought much about the entrepreneurial approach? Here are some advantages: 

Yes, you’ll be pretty busy as a business owner, but you also get to choose when and how often you take time off. Realistically, you probably won’t take off much time when your business is starting, but it’s a relief knowing you have ultimate say over your work schedule. 

If your business takes off, you have a better chance of making more money than you did working for someone else. While there is always financial risk involved, you have to think of the reward as well. If you work hard, there’s a greater chance you’ll be successful and profitable. 

When you work for yourself, you make all the calls. You implement your own processes and systems and change the infrastructure as you see fit. You also make the calls on branding and marketing, and if that’s not your strong suit, you can outsource those parts of the job.

Start Your Next Venture With Main Street

If building something great excites you, then you’ll love working with Main Street. We help people like yourself who start their own business from the ground up. We provide you with an established, successful business model to serve as your business’s foundation — and you take it from there.

Here are some other perks we offer:

  • No sign-up fees: There’s no hidden fees or costs when signing up — and that’s a promise.
  • Top-tier training: Our in-house business development professionals have proven track records when it comes to building a business. They’ll help you every step of the way.
  • Financial buy-in: When you join Main Street, we give you the opportunity to purchase company equity at insider rates. 

Think you might be a fit for this opportunity? We believe in setting up our business owners for success from day one. Take our New Owner Program quiz to find out if you qualify.