Chart a New Course: How to Change Your Career Path

Change is often a good thing. Change allows us to learn new skills, make new connections, and grow. But over the past two years, everything changed, with the pandemic triggering a roller coaster ride for all ages.

This sudden shift burst the comfort bubble, causing a tremendous amount of uncertainty. As a result, a CNBC report suggests that over 55 percent of Americans are planning to change jobs. This may not be an ideal situation for employers but it’s a watershed moment of opportunity for employees.

We are at a turning point. People around the world are taking the initiative and determining what they want their lives and careers to look like—and then going for it.

Employees are understanding their worth and are looking for high-paying jobs with better benefits. Some are even considering a complete career change. If you’re wondering the same, this may be a good time to make the move. And with some organization and a smart strategy, you too can change your career and leave the past behind you.

Step back and take stock

Knowing yourself is the first step to career and life success. Once you’ve decided to change your career path, begin the journey by reflecting on your current career status. Make a list of things you enjoy doing in your current job, the actions that motivate you, and the areas where you excel. Now, make another list of the things that demotivate you, the areas where you are lacking. These comparative lists will help you evaluate your current job and career status.

Collect your thoughts in a journal. Jot down your reactions to different job situations and how they’ve impacted your performance. Record your successful contributions and the roles you enjoy. Think of this journal as your inventory of personal skills.

This strategy can help you to discover more about yourself—your ideal work environment, motivating factors, and your definition of a fulfilling job. This practice will also help you decide whether you want to explore an adjacent career or start something completely new. Armed with these answers, it will be easier for you to brainstorm new career ideas and chart a new career course.

Journeying toward a new career path can be scary. It’s no small feat to consider completely changing the direction your life is heading. In fact, it may very well be one of the most important decisions you make.

Power tip: Templates in Evernote are a great way to organize your thoughts and reflections, with 50+ examples to save you time and effort. Your saved templates are displayed with preview images and are synced to your account so they’re available on all of your devices.

Build a roadmap

While you might have extensive experience, there are many questions you need to answer. Are your skills transferable? Do you need to invest further in your education? Are you headed in the right direction? Is now the right time? Here, a career coach or a counselor can prove particularly beneficial as they’ll help you work through the roadblocks.

Career counseling allows you to reevaluate your strengths and weaknesses. You reassess your work experience and skills. Most importantly, you gain an objective viewpoint that helps in broadening your perspective. This guidance will help you cut through the noise and clarify your career goals.

Power tip: Looking for an effective method to career planning that can be completed in less than an hour? Conduct a personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats or SWOT analysis. Making comparisons and prioritizing plans of action will assist you in setting goals for improvement and keep you firmly focused on your career objectives.

Upgrade your skills

Upskilling (upgrading current skills) and reskilling (learning a new skill) play important roles in every career trajectory. These tend to become particularly relevant regardless of whether you’re planning to simply change lanes or exit the freeway completely.

A new job, even a promotion, may require some substantial personal investment. A copywriter, for example, may need to upskill themselves and learn link building if they wish to move into digital marketing. Or, a software engineer planning to move into healthcare will be required to reskill themselves completely and go back to school. Your preferred career change will determine whether you need to upskill or reskill.

Power tip: Both upskilling and reskilling require training. Use Evernote’s document scanner app capability to quickly capture information from a whiteboard, screen, or handwritten note, then search later for specific words in the images you’ve saved. You can also record and save discussions and lectures directly to Evernote, eliminating the need to jump back and forth between different apps. It simplifies the process considerably, letting you focus on the info delivered rather than losing sleep over whether or not you’re getting everything down.

Test the waters

Recently, there has been a mind-shift in the education sector. Degrees are losing their appeal. New-age companies prefer real-life experiences rather than these paper testimonials. So, with your current degree or diploma losing its grandeur and not enough to land you that dream job, internships and volunteering should be important considerations. And these are not only restricted to college students.

Harvard expert Linda Spencer is known for advocating the importance of internships and volunteering when considering a career change. She suggests shadowing experts or doing some temp work so you can explore first-hand the practical side of your newly chosen field. In addition to gaining hands-on experience, internships and volunteering also help create meaningful contacts that can come in handy in the long run.

Chart a course and set sail

Life is too short to not take chances, but long enough to make a positive impact. Your career is more than a job and a paycheck: it’s your calling. If you have decided to change your career, then you owe it to yourself to give it your best shot.

A lot of people dread the thought of shifting lanes—it’s a big decision, after all. But don’t let fear make all your decisions for you. Sure, it’s easy to put off changing careers because of a few uncertainties. How will you know if those career goals will pan out? Instead of taking a blind leap of faith and being all at sea, help guarantee your success by getting organized, drafting a viable plan, and taking calculated risks. Successful career-switchers are able to see big picture strategy and chart a way to match their skills with their desired industry.

The only way to get closer to your dreams and live the life you want is to take action. Sometimes, you need to make changes before life can be lived fully. Take a chance—success awaits you!

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