Fear can lock you into a boring cubicle for the rest of your career, but there are ways to get past this paralyzing emotion and jump into something new. Whether you are afraid of the unknown, worried about a sparse resume, or think you don’t have time to manage the switch, here are a few creative ways to circumnavigate career-change roadblocks.
Fear of the Unknown
Get to know your new industry before making a change. Have conversations with people in the industry, read memoirs, and schedule time to shadow people who are doing your dream job. The more informed you are, the less afraid you will be.
Entry Level Posts
You may be tired of the restaurant industry, but you are a well-paid manager, and you worry that a jump into healthcare will put you back at the bottom of the ladder. Fear of giving up your high-powered position in exchange for an entry-level post is another obstacle faced by people who want to switch industries. In most cases, you will take at least a small step backward, but you need to think of that step in terms of two steps forward in exchange for one step back.
Build up your resume before applying in the new industry. Volunteer or take an unpaid internship so that you have something relevant to put on your resume. If possible, create projects at your current job that allow you to practice the skills you will need in your new job. With those projects under your belt, you can write a skills-based resume.
A Long Transition
Think carefully about the time it will take to train for your new job and whether or not you can afford a long transition. If eight years of school are separating you from your dream job, adjust your goals and find creative ways to get into that industry through another role. For example, if you long to become a veterinarian, consider a career as a veterinary technician instead. You can always continue to pursue your long-term dream job once you’re in your new industry. Flexible online education programs, such as those offered by schools like Penn Foster, allow you to study on the side, while still working at your current job.
Where Do I Go from Here?
If you dislike your job but have no idea what you want to do, take some time to get to know yourself. The Birkman Method, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and DISC are all great career assessment tools. Birkman is arguably the most comprehensive—to match you with a career, it analyzes your passions, your work style, your organizational abilities, your behavior, and how you want to be treated. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator matches you to a career based on your personality type while DISC matches you based on the emotional parts of your personality.
Rather than assessing the results on your own, consider booking an appointment with a counselor who can guide you through the results. The National Career Development Association can help you connect with master career counselors and development professionals in your area.