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Walking away from a job or career that has been defining or financially beneficial is never an easy thing to do. However, there can come a time when it is obvious that staying in a position is no longer sustainable due to industry change, relationships, stress, and a wide variety of other reasons. When this is the case, changing career paths entirely could prove incredibly beneficial. That being said, there is no textbook method to being successful in this endeavor. This should not dissuade someone from stepping out and attempting something new as a current situation may be unsustainable or unhealthy. Changing careers may be wonderfully beneficial for oneself. Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, put it best, “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

Seeing as there is no tried and true manner to make a career change happen, we spoke with ten different business experts to better understand their thoughts on this. 

Define job satisfaction

Daniel Sathyanesan is the CEO and founder of Winden, a company offering banking products and services specifically for entrepreneurs involved in business via the internet. He believes that before doing anything else, one should put into words what it would look like to be content with their career.

“A career change is no small matter and it should involve a fair amount of personal reflection. What is it that you currently dislike about your career? In an ideal world, what would you like to replace that element with? How can your current skills translate elsewhere? As you begin to answer questions along these lines, your current definition of job satisfaction will begin to take shape. This will give you an idea of what direction you want to move in.”

Find support

Hoist is a service which teaches their users how to start, grow and run their own home service business in 30 days. Their marketing manager: HO growth, Michael Williamson, suggests seeking out advice from those close or with experience. 

“Going down the road of career change alone is very unadvisable because of the time, thought, and energy required to make it a reality. Be sure to identify and inform people in your life who not only believe in your decision but also want to support you through it. They will do more for you than you realize at this moment. Also, it may prove useful to find a coach or mentor who has experience changing careers as their ideas and experience will change the way you go about your change.”

Research

Walking blind into a career change is a surefire way to meet failure head on. It is absolutely necessary to thoroughly understand what the newly desired career entails and its requirements. Chronos Agency is a marketing team which aims to grow ecommerce companies. Their CEO, Joshua Chin, advises exploring all available information. 

“Changing careers can be a stressful process and one way to go about relieving some of that stress is to know what you’re getting into. Begin to research what your new path looks like, the responsibilities that will be required of you and the skills you may need to acquire. If you’ve decided to change industries entirely, much more research is involved as you likely won’t know as much about an industry you’ve never worked in.” 

Understand yourself

Brandon Lurie is the Marketing Director for Y Meadows, a company offering AI customer service automation. He considers one of the most crucial pieces of a career move to be a solid grasp on defining characteristics. 

“Before you begin to make the jump in careers it’s best to understand who you are, what you like, why you like it, and what brings you joy. Knowing all of this will help guide you towards a career that will be far more fulfilling than what you were doing previously. There are numerous personality tests online which can help you dig deeper in this area. Without understanding yourself, it’s very possible that you end up in another career that you’ll want out of.”

Check job listings

George Fraguio, the Vice President of Vaster, a custom mortgage solutions company designed to get you to the closing table faster. Fraguio believes that one should take the time to see what positions are being listed as available. 

“Just because you want to change careers into a specific area or position does not necessarily mean that it is viable. It’s possible that you live in an area with fewer jobs available in your chosen industry or that every place is staffed. You may be unaware of the potential salaries available as well. If you find a position opening that interests you, be sure to flush out all the details about it by asking questions and searching online. 

Shadow

One of the most effective ways to understand if a new career is for you or not is to gain direct exposure to it. There are unique ways to go about this. Acre Gold is an online subscription service for buying and saving gold. Their head of operations, Jared Hines, suggests finding opportunities to observe people in a desired industry at their job. 

“The best way to get to know a job you may be interested in is to shadow someone currently working the same or similar position. Doing this will open your eyes to the details of everyday tasks as well as expose you to all the information you were unaware of. The more time you can spend shadowing the better as you’ll gain more understanding of if the position of interest in you is something you can see yourself doing long-term.”

Training

Daniel Tejada is the co-founder of Straight Up Growth, an agency which aims to grow companies through Amazon’s search engine. He advises those looking to change careers to be ahead of the curve by seeking out additional education. 

“In all likelihood, your current skills and experience will not transfer directly into a significant career change. While you plan out your change, take the time to further your knowledge of your new career of choosing by taking a class or even getting a certification. Resume boosting actions go a long way with proving yourself to potential employers especially if you don’t have experience. If you’re serious about the change, you’ll have to go the extra mile to gain every advantage.”

Networking

Balance Homes is a company offering unique options for home equity and mortgages. Their head of sales, Daniel Osman, considers building and utilizing existing relationships and new ones to be an integral part of making a career change successful. 

“In business, regardless of the trade, there is nothing more powerful than the relationship. People who you already know, or those that you could connect with via LinkedIn, could point you in the right direction of job opportunities or even score you an interview. Try to find people who are working in the field you’re interested in and ask as many informational questions as possible. During a time of planning, it would be wise to take the initiative and attempt to expand your network of relationships.”

Seek experience

A career change can sometimes involve starting a professional life from scratch. If this is the case, experience in the industry is necessary before any real progress can be made. Readers.com is an online retailer of glasses. Their chief experience officer, Fred Gerantabee, believes experience may be crucial.

“Any well paying job in an established industry requires experience within said industry. Without it, you’re not likely to even get invited to interview at most companies. If you find yourself in a similar position, consider volunteering at any place that will provide you with hands-on practice. You could also find a part-time job that accomplishes the same thing. Obviously this takes a considerable amount of time but it may be required if you’re hungry for a change.”

Be adaptive

Cody Candee is the founder and CEO of Bounce, a service providing luggage storage to global travelers. He suggests taking a mindset of flexibility when searching for a new role as many professional elements will change. 

“Reinventing yourself professionally is no easy task and you should prepare yourself to be adaptive to every aspect. For example, you probably have a robust resume in your current field but not so much in your new one. Because of this, a lower salary or place of importance within a company will likely take a hit. It’s possible you will have to relocate as well. Expect a significant shift in your day-to-day life.”

Staying in a job that causes discomfort or unhappiness is no way to live. A career change is a viable option for many. Finding a passion and chasing after it will be far more rewarding than staying put. A career does not define a life and people can make change happen if they put their mind to it. Author Jennifer Ritchie Payette summed this up, "Your career is like a garden. It can hold an assortment of life's energy that yields a bounty for you. You do not need to grow just one thing in your garden. You do not need to do just one thing in your career."