Nearly everyone will experience a career change at one time or another during their lives. Whether they are changes that are a result of your internal desires or the marketplace mayhem, you will be way ahead of your fellow workers if you start to plan now. Don’t take for granted since you’ve been in the company for a long time that you will not have to go through changes in market forces. Many of those who assumed do not have jobs now or work dead-end jobs they took to feed their families. Even if you are deliriously happy with your current job, you may still see a career change in your future.
Most people have two or three career changes during their lifetime. If you know ahead of time that the career you started in may not be forever, it is a good idea to be proactive about your career changes. If you are prepared for the eventual possibility of a layoff, an unexpected illness, a corporate takeover, a company bankruptcy, or any other number of potential problems of your present career, you can make the transition easier for yourself.
Always have items like your five-year plan, updated resumes, cover letters, business cards, your network and an emergency fund ready in the event of a career change. By doing the research ahead of time on potential career choices that include your skills, you have the option during a career change to find employment in your field or try your hand in another field using the same skills or those that you acquired while you were in your job.
You should have several copies of your resume. One should be in Word format and have all the format the majority of resumes contain. One should also be electronic and be used for online submissions. It’s also a good idea to have a functional resume instead of a traditional one, if you have a lot of years of experience that may make you seem out-dated instead of fresh. This way you can group your skills by job experience rather than dates, making you seem younger at least on paper.
Together, with your professional network and other things you do to be ready for a career change, you will find that having an emergency fund is one of the wisest decisions you can make. You will need to pay your bills while you change from one job to another. You will need to cover transportation costs to interviews and continue to present a professional image, while having no income in many cases.
You will also need to build a professional network. Start to put together a network of professional contacts outside the company as well as on the inside. You never know where your next job opportunity will come from, but it will most likely be from an individual who knows someone who needs to fill a position. Knowing the right people will create opportunities when they are necessary. Remember, being prepared ahead of time helps you not only advance in your career but also helps reduce the stresses involved in career change.