How To Approach A Career Change In Your Twenties

Deciding that you need a career change is a difficult decision to make at any stage in your life but it is particularly daunting when your current career is still in its infancy. While most people who opt for a career change do so at a later stage, it’s quite normal for younger people to realize that their chosen career path isn’t the one for them.

Whether you’re a recent college graduate who’s dream job has turned out to be a nightmare or if you’ve been working throughout your twenties as a means for survival, wanting to get out of an unfulfilling career should be viewed as a positive step.

Less than half of the US workforce claim to be satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. A third of workers feel that they’ve reached a dead-end in their career, and 21% have ambitions to change careers. These damning figures show how many people struggle to leave their current positions. Many are pinned down by debt, bills, or other responsibilities, while others may not have the confidence or drive to change their realities.

When it comes to careers, millennials are demonstrating a unique attitude compared to previous generations. Job security and long term prospects are no longer the main priorities. 83% of millennials view work-life balance as the number one preference when considering a job. Younger generations are placing a much higher value on happiness and overall satisfaction when it comes to careers.

Nonetheless, a career change is never easy to navigate. Although it can be a stressful time, it’s important to approach the transition in a calm and organized manner. If you’re considering a career change in your twenties, here are seven tips to make your approach as seamless as possible.

Remember that time is on your side

When you first get the inkling that you want a career change, it’s hard to get rid of the thought that you’ve wasted a period of your life to get to where you are now. This is a valid thought at a surface level but in reality, it is way off the mark.

Firstly, unless you manage to make enough money to retire within the next five to ten years, your career has only just begun. Time is on your side and you still have endless opportunities to pursue a more fulfilling career.

Secondly, one of life’s greatest teachers is experience. If you hadn’t spent the last number of years studying or working in your current field, you would never know that it didn’t suit you. You could have worked in a different role, dreaming about what could’ve been. Take your past experiences and use them as a springboard for your next chapter.

Finally, there is always time for a change. No matter your age or situation, you’re completely validated to want to switch up your surroundings.

Digitize your resume

As a modern worker who’s re-entering the jobs market, it’s vital that you get up to date with industry trends. Gone are the days where you hand-deliver printed resumes to potential employers.

Create your digital resume to share with hiring companies. Utilize career sites such as LinkedIn to promote yourself and to connect with figures in your new industry. LinkedIn can also be a great place to find jobs.

A recent trend for jobseeking workers is to create a personal portfolio website as a visual representation of all previous work. Although this might not be very applicable to your industry, it is an interesting way to set yourself apart from other job candidates.

Prioritize networking

It’s always beneficial to have professional connections and contacts. Not only can they be used as a source of guidance and information, but they might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to job availabilities.

When changing careers, you may be facing an industry in which you have no professional network. Make an effort to network with people in companies or positions that you are interested in.

Webinars, seminars, LinkedIn, and other industry events provide the best networking opportunities.

Consider further study

A major factor in preventing people from taking the leap of a career change is that they feel underqualified or incapable of working in another industry.

Returning to college for further study is perhaps the best way to enable you for a change. If you’re a qualified accountant but are fascinated by the prospect of a career in data analysis, obtaining a Master of Data Science Strategy and Leadership would provide the perfect stepping stone for a phenomenal career change.

Another valuable study resource is self-directed learning. With the abundance of online resources and educational platforms, individuals can access a wealth of information to enhance their knowledge and skills in a new field. This can include online tutorials, e-learning platforms, and industry-specific websites that offer free or low-cost educational materials. For example, if you are interested in transitioning into the field of project management, you can access free or low-cost practice exams for popular certifications such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) or the Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP). Or if you are looking to transition into a career in finance or investment banking, you can check Career Employer’s full-length free Series 7 practice exams to get familiarized with the exam format, content, and level of difficulty, assess your knowledge and readiness for the certification exam.

Further study to pursue a change of career can not only make for a seamless transition, but it can also lead to a far more successful vocation in the long-term.

Consider your finances but don’t panic

Money is another determining factor that prevents many people from a career change. While money is an important consideration, try not to be held back or pinned down because of finances.

Be organized and make a financial plan in advance. Set savings goals and create a timeline leading to the date that you finish your current role. Ensure that you have the necessary funds to facilitate your period of change.

Money can be stressful but in a lot of scenarios, a budget and a change of mindset can help you get on top of your finances.

Optimize your remote set-up

2020 has introduced a lot of people to the possibility of remote work. Although this has been a popular career option for freelancers and other professionals for some time, the vast majority of workers are only experiencing it now.

For many companies, remote work during the COVID pandemic has been successful. Businesses are realizing that they can operate with a remote workforce.

Many roles that become available over the coming years will be remote positions. Make sure you have a dedicated remote workplace set up to allow you to fulfill these roles. Invest in a headset, a webcam, and create an optimized home office.

Get professional advice

If you want a change of career but aren’t sure what you want from a new job, you should consider speaking with a professional career counselor or advisor. They can help you to figure out what roles and career options are best suited to you.

Their expert knowledge and experience could be exactly what you need to put some clarity on your situation.

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