Making the Leap: The Untold Truth About Changing Careers and How to Triumph

Switching careers is no walk in the park. It’s a high-stakes game, where you’re up against seasoned professionals with years of experience and well-established networks. On top of that, recruiters often struggle to look past your last job title, making it hard to convince them that you’re more than just your résumé.

We’ve all heard stories of job-seekers feeling like they’re hitting a brick wall, trying to break into a new industry. Even if you do manage to impress a recruiter, you then have the daunting task of convincing a hesitant employer to choose you over a candidate with a proven track record. The challenges seem to stack up, making the whole endeavour feel overwhelming.

Why go through all the emotional rollercoasters, the agonizingly long job searches, and the countless rejections? Because people do it, every single day. And guess what? They succeed. You could be one of them.

Remember Sharyn, the over-50 job seeker who transitioned from a high-stress executive role to a Legal Assistant position? She made it happen by having a solid plan and an unwavering determination to never give up. These are not just buzzwords; they are foundational elements for anyone looking to make a successful career move.

To excel in this journey, you’ll need to be clear about a few things:

  • Purpose: A mere dislike for your current job isn’t enough. You need to have a clear vision of what you want to do next.
  • Patience: Career transitions don’t happen overnight. Be prepared for the long haul.
  • Fit: Envision yourself in the role. Does it align with your personality and values? If you’re unsure, dig deeper.
  • Qualifications: Do you meet the job requirements? If not, it’s time to hit the books or acquire those necessary certifications.
  • Holistic Skills: Don’t just focus on the primary responsibilities of your desired role. Understand its intricacies and master them.

Traditional job search methods might not cut it for you. Networking, personal branding, and perhaps even hiring a professional resume writer could be your secret weapons. You can read more about this here.

Changing careers can be an emotionally complex experience—frustrating one minute and exhilarating the next. Yet, it can be truly transformative. Your success boils down to a combination of optimism, determination, preparation, and qualifications. It’s certainly not for the fainthearted, but then again, the best things rarely are.

So, what’s your take on career change? Are you ready to make the leap?

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I am a proud member of the Career Collective, a group of career bloggers who unite once a month to discuss a common topic. This month’s topic is “Best Advice for Career Changers”. Please see links to other articles by these talented professionals below and follow the hashtag #CareerCollective on Twitter.

10 Comments

  1. Debra Wheatman

    Great article Gayle. Really points out the importance of having not just “wish bone”, but also “back bone”. Making a career transition is challenging and it is critical that candidates who do so, invest themselves in it completely in order to achieve success.

    Debra Wheatman, Careers Done Write, debra@careersdonewrite.com, http://careersdonewrite.com

    Reply
    • Gayle Howard

      I love that phrase Debra! Not a wish bone, but a back bone! Very relevant to this topic!

      Reply
  2. Martin Buckland

    Clear, concise and telling it like it is! My favourite point regarding the success of a career change; it’s “as much about being pragmatic, optimistic and determined as it is being prepared, realistic and qualified.” How true!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Excellent post, Gayle,

    Love this closing comment, and it is so true!

    Some say it’s not a ride for the fainthearted; others say “I did it!”

    Reply
  4. ed han

    Gayle, excellent steps for helping candidates navigate these tricky waters, and it’s all laid out so clearly!

    Reply
  5. Megan Fitzgerald

    Gayle,

    Fantastic post – so important to go into a change with a sense of what is really ahead, yet start with the knowledge with the right combination of persistance, strategy, tools and optimism it is possible.

    Having a support system is also very critical given the nature of the journey.

    Best,
    Megan

    Reply
  6. Meg Montford

    Good job of holding up the mirror for career change wannabees to reflect on why they want to change. The career change process is not simple. It takes commitment and a lot of hard work. As those of us in the careers profession know, trying to accomplish career change as a solo journey can set one up to fail. Hiring a career coach to help is the best way to improve the odds to succeed!

    Reply
  7. WalterAkana

    Outstanding post, Gayle!

    You’ve hit head on all the reasons that career change shouldn’t succeed at all! Yet, you show very clearly what it takes to succeed!

    I love the key point you make about the challenge: “ …the inevitable mood-crushing rejections and longer-than-normal job searches….” As well, you raise an important truth: “It’s not good enough to simply hate your job, or want change.”

    Courage is definitely a requirement. As you know, I’m a big fan of making one’s own game, and often challenge people to do just that! Still, there is so much to it! Reading your post has been a fresh reminder for me that making your own game requires way more than courage. Just a few qualities that come to mind are focus, perseverance, dedication, inquisitiveness, tolerance, and risk taking. As well, one needs to have a willingness to engage others in the kinds of conversations that can support credibility and raise visibility for new opportunities!

    I think successful career changers are a special breed, yet it also occurs to me that the attributes and competencies that help them will increasingly be needed by others to just maintain career success in a changing world!

    So, your advice has broad and ongoing relevance!

    Reply
  8. John Thorr

    Thank you for the advice. About 7 months ago I was laid off
    from my job and I have been doing little bits of work here and there to get by,
    but I’m starting to get financially unstable and I need to do something to
    improve my situation fast. In my opinion, and based on feedback from
    recruiters, my resume needs to be written by a professional to really bring out
    my skills. So I’ve spent the past few weeks reading about resume services
    and trying to pick the best one. I’ve found a few resume
    service review
    sites, which are helpful, but most of them say the
    same thing and have similar prices and guarantees. Can anyone please recommend
    a resume writing service to me, or maybe somewhere I can search for jobs?
    Thanks in advance. 

    Reply
    • Gayle Howard

      Hi John. If you visit my website at http://www.topmargin.com I think you’ll find what you’re looking for! I don’t just give job search advice, I am actually a Master Resume Writer and happy to help.

      Reply

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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.

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