How to Prepare for a Career Change: A Complete Guide

by | Sep 17, 2019 | Education Feature

In everyone’s career, there will be a time where you feel like you’ve hit a wall. Sometimes this wall just means you need to move on from your current company and find a new job within your industry somewhere else. This occurs when you are on the right career path and enjoy what you do.

The second type of wall happens when you burn out. You don’t like your job, the work you do, and above all else, the industry. If none of the promotions available to you seem interesting, then you are in the wrong career, and it is time for a change.

Signs it is Time to Change Your Career

  • You Feel Burnt Out
  • You Don’t Feel Like You Are Making a Difference
  • You Don’t Feel Challenged
  • You Have No Interest in Career Progression
  • You Want to be Something Else

How to Decide on the Right Career Change

If you know what you want to do instead already, then jump right into the career change. If you aren’t sure, then it is best to keep your current job for the time being and then explore your other interests in the following scenarios:


Volunteering is a great, low-commitment way to get a taste of an industry without investing a lot of time. You can volunteer in many different sectors, though not all of them. You would be able to volunteer at a hospital, for example, but not necessarily into an accounting firm.

Tip: Volunteering is also an excellent output for those looking to bring more meaning into their lives and meet new like-minded people, making it a great choice if you need a change of pace.


Interning is very competitive, but if you can secure a place in the industry that you are interested in working in, it will not only act as a great introduction but also give you experience that can help you make the transition easier.

Socialize and Network

Don’t feel like you cannot attend talks, workshops, and other events in different industries. So long as it is available to all, and not a private event, make use of the opportunity. Get a feel for the industry and talk with those that are there to get a sense of the work opportunities available to better inform you of what is available.

How to Change Careers

Changing careers is not easy, but if you are burnt out at your current job, then you should not put it off. Instead you need to know your options and become aware of what you need to do so that you can start your new career as soon as possible.

Option One: Work Sideways Into the Right Department

You don’t necessarily need to cut all ties with your previous career. Instead, see if you can shadow different departments and learn what they do. You might be able to apply for a job this way by moving horizontally within your own company, and then again by working your way up. This is the easiest and least difficult option, but it is admittedly not available for everyone.

Option Two: Gain the Necessary Qualifications

Some careers don’t just prefer you to have specific qualifications; they require it by law. A career in nursing, for example, needs you to at the very least acquire a CNA certification, but if you wish to make a real career that is paid well in this industry, then you have many more steps to go until you are a registered nurse (RN).

How to Specialize In Your New Career

Specializing is a great way to focus your career, increase your income, and make your skills invaluable to your industry. Specializing is so vital for achieving your dream and enforcing your value that it is recommended for everyone. The more of a niche your work falls into, the less competition you have for job roles.

Specialize Your Qualifications

As stated before, specific industries will need specific qualifications. If you want to direct your nursing career, you can do it with online nurse practitioner programs in Texas that allow you to qualify for a Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner. This option is only available for those who have already achieved the role of Registered Nurse and needs a BSN in order to apply at least. In other words, it is a way to specialize your career as a nurse further and to focus more directly on the areas of medicine you are most interested in.

Other industries can also benefit from specialized qualifications. If there is a new program on the market, for example, then you might be able to learn how to use and earn a registered certificate. Obtaining these certificates will be most useful when you are looking for a new job, rather than working your way inside a single company.

Learning languages, learning new skills, or even being certified that you have attended or completed a workshop or conference can all do wonders for your career.

Strategies to Adopt on Your Way to the Top

It is important to remember that qualifications and skills are not going to take you all the way to the top. Networking, self-discipline, and your own health will play crucial roles, so remember to adopt these strategies:

Stay on Top of The Latest Innovations

Times change, systems change, everything changes. It is not enough to get a certificate or a specialization and then be done with it. You need to stay on top of all the changes in your industry and update your skills as required. This might mean subscribing to a journal in nursing and attending regular conferences, for example, or it might mean earning new certificates so that you can use new devices or tools.

Assume that what you know is going to become outdated. Always be on the lookout of how you can stay on top of new innovations and what you can do to become certified or prove your knowledge for your employers.

Network at All Times (And Pay Attention)

Networking is best done casually as you move up the corporate ladder. In order to do this successfully, however, you are going to need to pay attention and stay in contact. If you have a strictly work friend at your old job, then invite them to a conference or workshop in your industry. If you are able to cultivate relationships, make a note of important dates, send cards, and try to meet up regularly. This strategy is great for your social life and for your career.

Innovate Your Workplace

If you have a problem with your workplace, then work to change it. You have a voice and, generally speaking, everyone in your workplace will also want to enjoy a better working environment. This could be done by organizing groups – perhaps a reading club or a running club – to be enjoyed after work. You can also work towards providing your break room with better coffee or more comfortable furniture.

Doing this benefits your work-life directly, but it also shows leadership skills that will take you far later in life.

Be Focused in Your Efforts

If you want to get into a specialized area of medicine, then it is best to start with that focus. You will be better able to position yourself into the right department so that you have both the degrees, certifications, and experience necessary to enjoy your dream job with the least hassle. In some cases, you might need to have practical experience to further your qualifications. This is the case when working your way up in medicine or trying to get an MBA.

Care for Your Health and Wellbeing

Work hard, play hard is a recipe for burnout. You need to take things slowly but steadily in order to successfully reach your targets without sacrificing your health or your relationships. You will need to make compromises, but by working on eating healthy, exercising regularly, and trying to combine time with friends and family in with these tasks, you can better juggle all areas of your health and wellbeing. When you feel well and have natural energy, you will be best able to provide your best self at work and at home.

Take Your Time to Ensure Widespread Fulfilment

The reason why you need to care for your health and wellbeing is that we only have a short period of time on this Earth. You don’t want to spend all of it working hard to strive for a job role. You need to take time to sit back and enjoy what you have accomplished. You need to cultivate friendships that make it all worthwhile along the way.

There is no rush for your career, and racing towards anything in life is an excellent way to miss the best parts of it as you go on by. By taking your time to give effort and attention to your friends, hobbies, health, and your out-of-work dreams, you will be able to lead a very fulfilling life.

Only when you enjoy widespread fulfillment can you reduce the risk of burnout. Focusing too much on one task does increase stress and, in turn, anxiety.

Provide a Consistent Standard of Work

The last benefit of taking your time is that it allows you to provide a consistent level of work. Consistency is key to success. Periods of highs and lows will give your career path a rocky road to travel on, whereas consistency will ensure you move steadily up towards your dream.

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