Are you ready for a new career path? Well, then, it’s time to get serious and take the next step. You know where you want to go, but how can you get there? Here are five steps from AIU’s Career Services Department that can help you get on the road to your new career.
WATCH VIDEO: 5 Steps to Your New Career
1. Get the industry-relevant knowledge you need.
Maybe you’re a chef who dreams of working as an accountant or a business associate who wants to try a career in management. No matter how great or small the career change, your education should offer exactly what you need to get there. If you’re working, look for a school with schedules that fit your life. Consider attending an online university. Online schools offer the most flexibility for busy professionals. To get the knowledge you need to get ahead, find a degree program that offers in-depth specializations in your area of interest. Look for classes taught by industry specialists, professors who can bring their real-world experience into the classroom.
2. Build your experience.
To get started building your experience, you need to gain relevant skills that can drive your career forward. Try one or more of these opportunities:
Volunteering: Donate your time after-hours for a cause you really believe in. It’s a great way to get experience, build your network and apply your skills toward something you care about.
Job shadowing: Another way to get hands-on experience and really see what it’s like in your new, chosen field is by job shadowing. Find a professional in your field and ask him or her if you can spend an afternoon observing, or check with your company to see if they offer job shadowing programs.
Internships: Whether volunteer or paid, internships are a sure-fire way to get entry-level experience. Try to avoid those that relegate your duties to fetching coffee and picking up dry-cleaning. If you’re pursuing a degree, be sure to check with your university to see if it offers an internship program or an internship course that will earn you class credit.
3. Target your resume.
Avoid simply updating an old resume and calling it a day. If you are going to change careers, change your resume! Research what employers are looking for in your new profession, and make those areas the focus of your new CV. Delete bullet points that are no longer relevant, and highlight what makes your unique blend of experience compelling. Add a short summary that tells prospective employers what you’ve got to offer.
4. Take initiative.
In your current role, seek out projects that will develop your skills going forward—even if they are outside of your department. You’ll gain experience, meet new people, and you also might gain visibility from those above you. When your boss needs a volunteer for a new project, be the first to step forward. As you move into your new career, think of your past experience as an asset that can help you stand apart from the crowd.
5. Make connections.
If you’ve been working for a while, it’s likely that you already have a strong network. To grow your network further, don’t just get in touch; stay in touch. Use social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin to see if anyone in your circle shares your new profession. Your friends, family, neighbors or acquaintances may work for the company you are interested in. Likewise, join a professional organization or a charity related to your new field. Most importantly, get involved. Go to networking meetings, fundraisers, seminars and conferences. If you went back to school to get your degree, join the local chapter of your alumni association and stay in touch with college contacts. You never know when an opportunity may come your way.