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Three Tips for Making a Successful Career Change

By Randy Wooden, Director, Professional Center by Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina

Are you ready for a career change? If so, keep these tips in mind.

#1 Know what is driving your desire to change

Maybe you are ready for greater opportunity or career advancement. Perhaps you want to work in another industry or location. Other reasons for a career change might include burnout from your old position, a shrinking industry, job function in less demand, low compensation, lack of a work/life balance, too much stress, frustration with management, or other reasons.

Changing industries or job functions will not solve everything. Though you may encounter similar or different challenges after transitioning, clarify what you would like to see changed.

#2 Do your homework

One resource to consider is www.onetonline.org, a site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. It provides a glimpse into many different job functions, the necessary education and other requirements.

Speak with people who work at jobs you think might be interesting. Learn how and why they got into that line of work, the stability or future of their industry, a day in the life on the job and the pros and cons of their work.

Ask whether you could shadow someone doing the job so you can see first hand what the job is like.

Changing careers often means a step back in compensation, at least initially. Be sure you will still be able to meet your financial obligations as you navigate through your change.

#3 Network and customize your resume

Many people find jobs by knowing someone at the company or having a friend who is willing to put in a good word on your behalf. Your resume should emphasize relevant transferable skills, experiences and accomplishments. Consider a skills or functional format rather than a standard chronological format.

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