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Is Changing Fields Right for You?

Is Changing Fields Right for You?

"I've got to get out of here -- this job is killing me!" Or, "I've got to get out of here -- this kind of work is killing me." What's the difference? There's a tremendous difference between job searching in a field in which you have experience, and eyeing a completely new career track. 

Wanting to escape a field altogether is not unusual. The bad news is that changing fields is usually about 500 times more difficult than finding a new job in the same field. The good news, though, is that changing fields is exciting, invigorating and possible -- if you strategize and plan your marketing campaign carefully.

But before you leap, be sure you want to switch fields. You'll know that changing fields is right for you if you've taken these 10 action steps characteristic of successful career changers.

  • You've read enough to know that your interests and talents would work in the new field.
  • You've heard comments from people working in that field have convinced you you'd be happy there.
  • You already have most of the skills needed, even if some of the buzzwords and knowledge areas are a little unfamiliar.
  • You've researched the field and relevant organizations on the Web and like what you see.
  • You have contacts in the field who are willing to introduce you to people at various organizations.
  • You've gained an inside look at the career field from magazines and newsletters.
  • Your family is supportive of the move -- or at least not likely to sabotage your efforts.
  • You've told others who know you, your talents and your limitations -- and they approve.
  • You've dug deep enough to know the pros and cons of this field, and you still want to take the plunge.
  • The experiences, satisfactions and lifestyle connected with this new kind of work suit your goals. In other words, you're going toward something rather than running away from your current work.

How Did You Do?

10: You're on your way and bound for success!

Less than 10: Perhaps you're thinking of a career change without doing the necessary self-assessment work. Go back over the list and choose a step to work on. When you've accomplished that one, move on to another.

Changing careers can be great fun. Just be sure to create a good road map based on the steps outlined above.

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