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Monday, February 2, 2009

Making a big career change isn't easy, especially if you've got kids to support, a mortgage to pay, and a car to worry about. But if you've got the motivation, you can do it. Here's how.

Tackle the golden question: If you had all the money in the world, what would you be doing with yourself? Don't hold back. This is brainstorming time. Make a list of all the things you'd rather be doing with your time. Your first few answers will probably be something like: Take a tropical vacation, spend more time with the kids, etc. But push your thinking beyond that.
Evaluate your skills and talents. Ask yourself: What am I good at? What do I most enjoy doing? Write down every skill you're capable of. Don't be shy.
Identify transferable skills. After deciding what career best suits you, and have listed all know skills and talents, identify what skills will best transfer over into your new line of work. The longer the list the easier the transition. If you have only a few or no transferable skills, do not be discouraged. Pursue your passion to find happiness.
Think of jobs that allow you to do what you really want to do, at least in some form, and apply your skills and talents every day. Be creative and open-minded.
Conduct informational interviews. Informational interviews are a gem twofold: you get straight talk about your considered profession from actual professionals, and you achieve face time with individuals that possibly have the power to hire you later down the line.-- 17:05, 11 January 2009 (GMT)
6. Consider your financial situation. How much does it cost, on a monthly and annual basis, to support your current standard of living? Are you willing to lower your standard so that you can take a job that pays less?
Make a list of everything you want in your new job, and one of everything you don't.
Browse job descriptions in your desired field. Visit a site like Salary.com to find out how much you can expect to earn in your new career. (However, do realize that Salary.com is NOT the source businesses use to set salaries- they use services that survey other businesses. Salary.com just shows a possible average of salaries and is a decent general place to start for career info.) Also refer to the Occupational Outlook Handbookto see how competitive the job market may be.
Check local schools for courses and programs that may give you an edge. Start taking night classes while you're still at your current job. Establish rapport with your teacher - he or she will prove to be a valuable reference when you're applying for a new job.
Volunteer for organizations related to your desired career. For example, if you want to work in architecture, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for disadvantaged families. You get experience, and they get a helping hand!
Network. Talk to people in your desired field. Explain your situation. Ask them for advice. Give them your contact information. If what they say is true - "It's not what you know, it's who you know" - then cover all your bases in this department.
Save enough money to support yourself for 3-6 months, or however long you think it'll take to find a job in your new career that will support you adequately.
Write a new resume. Make sure you include your objectives (based on step 1), education (step 6) and relevant experience (step 7). See also How to Write a Resume.
Start your job search and good luck!

Most people's deepest vocational passions fall within three categories: teaching, healing, and creating. If your focus in your career is on doing one of these three things, you're far more likely to draw satisfaction from your job.
Having a spouse with a steady job makes switching careers a lot easier, but is by no means necessary. You should, however, seek the moral support of friends and family.
Consider donating your time for free if your new chosen profession enables this, to help you gain some experience and meet people in the field.
Consider shifting roles within your workplace to give you a more rewarding experience.

Consider your present career and the amount of time you need to retire. It may be better to stick with the job you have, retire a bit early, then take up something more rewarding. Bailing out early when you have a good retirement plan may compromise some of your other goals.


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