How to Change Careers: Your Step-By-Step Guide

Are you thinking about how to change careers? Gallup reports that even though employment engagement is on the rise, only 34% of U.S. workers feel engaged at their jobs. Whether you’ve been at your job for years or just want something new, a career change might be just what you need to revisit your true passions. Here are a few tips to help you snag the dream job you’ve always wanted. two professionals shaking hands discussing how to change careers

Step 1: Get the Education

Whether it’s earning your degree, signing up for a continuing education course or getting a certificate, every job opportunity requires some form of training or expertise. Narrow down the ones necessary for your dream job to get started. Working full-time while going to school can be difficult, but in the end, the education will be worth it.

Step 2: Stay on Top of Your Game

Whether you’re still in college or have been working for years, keeping up with your industry’s latest trends and best practices is essential to professional growth. For example, students earning their business degree might want to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. Fire science and EMS professionals might enroll in an online continuing education course or attend a national conference.

Step 3: Make Connections

Attending training events, workshops or conferences aren’t only good ways to stay up-to-date on best practices, they’re also great ways to meet potential employers. A small connection can go a long way when competing for an open position. Also, don’t forget to follow up with your new connections through LinkedIn.

Step 4: Update Your Resume

Before you even consider applying for a new position, make sure your resume is in tiptop shape. Your resume doesn’t have to include all of your previous experience – especially if it’s not relevant experience – but it should show how you’ve added value to your previous places of work through specific examples, data and facts.

Step 5: Draft Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is not a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, each one should be tailored to the position to which you are applying. The cover letter is your opportunity to show you’ve done your homework and shows how your experience aligns with the employer’s business goals and objectives.  

Step 6: Submit the Job Application

Before you finish your application, you’ll want to make sure you’ve completed all of the employer’s requirements. Does the application require reference letters or a portfolio? Check everything on your list so the application represents you in best possible way.

Step 7: Nail the Interview

Once you’ve gotten the interview, now is your time to shine. The employer has more than likely already seen your resume, so the interview is an opportunity for them to get to know you, and for you to get to know them. Wear the right clothes. Let your personality shine. Ask questions. Dig deep and see what they’re truly looking for in a candidate. Do your research and practice your answers. Lastly, always follow up with a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview.

Additional Help

Want more help landing your dream job? Columbia Southern University’s Career Services Department is here to help you every step of the way, including resume planning, cover letter writing, interview practice and more.