It’s hard to conceptualize a change in your life as big as the move to a new career. While there are many people who do this every year, it’s hard to see exactly how it will affect your life. Before you make the leap to a new career, take some time to consider the five questions below. They will give you a great deal of valuable information as to what kind of decision you should make.
What do You Want?
The first question you should ask yourself is what you want out of your career change. Are you looking to change fields, or just settings? Do you have skills that you wish you were using? Do you have a burning passion for something new? All of these questions need to be asked before you ask anything else, if only to help guide your search.
There’s definitely quite a bit to figure out from a personal perspective and it’s okay to take time to do that. If you are not sure about what you want, any of your career decisions might end up being mistakes. This is one time when you have to look deep within yourself and figure out what the future you want should look like.
What Does the Salary Look Like?
While your personal fulfillment really is a big deal, it’s also important that you know what your finances are going to look like when you move to a new field. It’s important to have a bottom line, one that you can’t go under if you want to move to a new job. While it’s difficult to defer a dream for money, it might be a necessity.
Go over your budget and figure out what you have to make to live comfortably. If you’re not sure what the field you want to pursue pays, check out some basic data, you can determine if it’s worth pursuing something that might seem like a pipe dream. Remember to factor in benefits and perks in this equation, especially if you already have them at your current job.
What Does Your Resume Look Like?
Do you have the ability to transition into the career you really want? While you might have the passion for a specific project, you may not have the education or the work experience to get hired in a new field. As such, it’s a good idea to look at your resume from a dispassionate position and determine whether you would really consider yourself a good hire.
This is not, however, to say that you can’t change careers if your resume needs work. A quick glance should tell you what you need to improve. If you don’t have experience in the field, you might want to consider doing contract work while you remain in your current field. If you need education, it might be time to go back to school. Your resume should focus as a checklist for whether or not you will be able to pursue a career in a specific field.
What Do You Prioritize?
You’ll need to go through a list of personal priorities to consider exactly what you need in your new career. Are you willing to take less money in order to get more time off? Are you willing to deal with longer commutes in order to get three day weekends? There are always trade-offs involved with working at a new job and you’ll need to consider what you’re willing to give up to make the big move. Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect job – just a job that’s perfect for you. If you’re not willing to figure out what you’re willing to give up to have a new career, you may not be ready to move at all.
What Does the Future Look Like?
Finally, take some time to consider what the future of your new career would look like. Is the industry one that looks healthy, or is it one with a questionable future? Do you think you have the time or ability to advance, or are you looking at the job you will have forever? There’s no telling exactly what you’ll get when you move, but you can do some basic work to predict the future.
Make sure you are moving to something that can give you a future. You don’t need to believe you’ll be a CEO in the next five years, but you should know whether you will have the opportunity to secure the future you want. Moving to a new career should be something that’s done to provide you with new opportunities, not to stifle your potential.
Moving to a new career will require that you ask yourself many questions. They all, however, boil down to this – will the move to something new give you a better quality of life? For some, that’s a question that can only be answered in terms of personal fulfillment. For others, it comes down to dollars and cents. Wherever you stand, make sure that your career move will improve your life. After all, this change will set you on an entirely new path.